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Archiving Your AV System and Software
By Jerry Del Colliano
February 2006

It was my first college spring break, years before the “Girls Gone Wild” series of videos became popular, where my buddies and I packed up for what was going to be a four-day Mexican cruise designed for nothing other than gambling, booze, women (if they would talk to us) and general debauchery. What I didn’t understand at the time was I was about to become the victim of a gutless crime. Back in my dorm room at University of Southern California, under lock and key as well as armed security guard, was my lifetime collection of Compact Discs – over 400 in total. The collection was comprehensive in terms of the best audiophile music (I still listened to that stuff back then), as well as a lot of the best classic rock records, including a lot of rare Jimi Hendrix recordings that I have never been able to replace to this day. One of the nights we were away, some dickless wonder broke into my room and swiped all four of my Case Logic containers and was off with no trace, unlike today’s college campuses where, if your music collection gets swiped, you can simply re-rip your hard drive from your dorm buddy and be back in business. These were different times back in the early 1990s, when college students used buying music on CD (literally every night, seven days a week) as an excuse to go out and paint the town red.

With the theft of my music collection, I got lucky, because I still had all of the jewel cases at my mother’s home in Philadelphia. Upon pleading with her to write all of the album titles down and take pictures, I was able to file an insurance claim that got me retail replacement prices for my music collection, which came to over $7,000. That money ironically was what helped finance my first summer away from home and working at the legendary Christopher Hansen Ltd. High-end salon in Beverly Hills, where I got my career going selling Mark Levinson, Wilson and Transparent systems to Hollywood types. It was about as much fun as any 19-year-old audiophile college kid could hope for in one summer and beyond.

Today, I realize I was lucky to have gotten my money back from the theft and take actions now to make sure each and every element of my theater systems and software collection are archived in the event of an unexpected loss. You might be surprised to see what replacement costs would be for your system or your collection and how easy it is to take a few steps to protect your assets.

Step One: Call Your Insurance Company
Ask your insurance agent if your home theater gear is covered in your home owners or renter’s policy. If it is not, ask if they will offer you a special rider for your system. If they will not, start shopping for a new insurance company right away. If you are an AVRev.com or ModernHomeTheater.com reader, you are almost guaranteed to have enough AV gear that it will need to be covered. If you feel the rider is too expensive (as they can be), get bids from three or four other companies. Insurance prices can be all over the map.

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