If you’ve put a lot of time, energy, and research into building your own collection of original art and you’ve been fortunate enough to score some high-value pieces, then you may want to insure your art collection. Theft, vandalism, fires or even a burst pipe can ruin your art collection in the blink of an eye. While it’s not fun to think about worst-case scenarios, making sure that you’re prepared in the event of a catastrophe can save you a lot of heartache.
Your standard homeowners or renters insurance policy provides some coverage for artwork and collectibles, but policy limits are usually pretty low. If your collection is worth more than a few thousand dollars, then you should consider looking into special policies that provide better protection.
3 Tips for Protecting Your Art Collection
The first step to making sure that you’re covered financially if disaster strikes and your art collection takes a hit is to make sure that you have all the documents that came with your artwork purchases. This documentation, also called provenance, includes proof of ownership, the bill of sale, photographs of the piece and a replacement estimate. While this documentation isn’t necessarily enough to completely manage risk, it goes a long way in providing your insurance company with the information they need.
Insurance companies can provide adequate coverage for your collection, but only if you’re upfront about what you have, what your collection is worth and its exposure to risks. If you skimp on the details, you run the risk of having a claim denied.
Check Out Your Current Insurance Policy
Once again, your homeowners or renters insurance probably includes coverage for valuables such as fine jewelry, musical instruments and works of art. However, this coverage usually works the same as coverage for any other possession and is subject to your policy’s deductible and limits. Typical coverage limits include $2,500 for a single piece and $5,000 for a collection.
In a lot of cases, this coverage is plenty. However, if you’ve scored a few high-dollar pieces over the years, you can quickly max out your coverage. As with any type of insurance, a one-size-fits-all policy doesn’t exist. For some, adding a special rider to their homeowners or renters insurance to cover fine art is the best option. For others, purchasing a policy through a fine art insurance company is the better way to go.
Have Your Collection Appraised Regularly
Whether you’re a serious art collector or a casual one, it’s important to ensure that your policy is tailored specifically for your collection. Insurance companies look at several indexes to determine what your artwork is worth depending on its medium, time period and artist. When choosing a policy, it’s important to consider the art pieces that make up your unique collection.
You should also have your artwork appraised regularly. Most experts suggest that art is appraised every three to five years, depending on the type of collection. When you schedule an appraisal, be sure to specify that it’s for insurance purposes to make sure that you get the most up-to-date market value of your pieces.
Your art collection is irreplaceable, and while it may not be possible to completely avoid risks, if you insure your art collection it can help you make sure that your investment is protected.