Art Insurance: Some Vital Tips to Protect Your Art
13th September 2013 Viola Raikhel-Bolot
Some tips to be sure your art collection is properly protected in case of theft, damage or any other unforeseen incident
Currently in the midst of the holiday season, and with art theft on the rise, there’s never a better time to check if your art works are insured adequately. If you think you have it covered, here are some tips to be sure your art collection is properly protected in case of theft, damage or any other unforeseen incident which could put it at risk.
First things first, it is very important to take out an insurance policy that is specifically designed for covering fine art because in most cases owning artworks involves a host of complexities that standard home, office, property or contents insurance policies may not cover.
One of the major advantages of specialized insurers is that they are able to accommodate circumstances that are unique to art collections, but not to others. For example, where a collection is still growing and pieces are still being bought, whether regularly or unexpectedly, it is possible to get insurance that will cover your newest acquisitions before they have been specified to the insurer. It covers them from the moment they are in the policy owner’s name, whether that be an individual or a company, meaning that they are insured even in their most vulnerable moments following acquisition when they are being handled and transported. In such cases insurers will offer coverage up to a certain amount for their client’s collection including items that are not yet listed, though of course it is advisable to keep your insurer up to date about your new purchases.
The Value of a Piece of Artwork
Another key element of any insurance policy but particularly so in terms of artworks, is that of the valuation process. The value of an artwork can depend on so many details that it is essential that someone with independent industry expertise is able to value the pieces in question. A non-specialist insurer would not have the required expertise to carry out this process accurately and you are likely to be left with inadequate cover.
Another important point to remember about valuations is that, especially when dealing with fine art, they must be carried out at least once a year. Market fluctuations can play a significant role in an artwork’s value, and unless these are specified and updated in a policy, it will be difficult to claim their real value should anything happen. For those with non-specialist art cover, it is worth repeating that this process must be carried out by an art professional who is up to date with the current market and has experience in valuations.
Risk to Artworks
The risks to artworks are as numerous as they are varied. One of the major threats they face is environmental issues, which include fires, water damage, light, heat and humidity damage. Whether displaying or storing your artworks, these factors must be considered very carefully. Some insurance policies will not offer any coverage to artworks damaged over time by factors such as light and heat.
Here, again, the advice of a specialized art insurer or art professional can help to minimise these risks becoming a reality. Another major risk to artwork is damage caused through handling or transportation. If artworks are being lent to museums or moved for restoration for example, it is vital to check that they are insured when not in their usual place. Often works are covered when in specific circumstances, which most commonly would include a series of security measures such as security cameras or alarms. These details must not be forgotten when for reasons such as those listed above, the circumstances change. Yet another detail to think about when insuring artwork is the artwork’s provenance. Art theft has been happening for decades, even centuries, so it is worth considering taking out a defective title cover, which would reimburse the cost paid for an artwork if it transpires to having been a stolen work of art.
Moreover, as is often the case with fine art, each piece is unique, and with the help of an art advisor the correct insurance policy can be determined for every artwork and collection. Market professionals can not only help in getting you the best insurance coverage, they can help to minimize the risks in the first place, ensuring collectors and their collections are best prepared and protected in the event of any incident.
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