Insuring Fine Arts and Collections: What Do You Need to Know

Insuring Fine Arts and Collections: What Do You Need to Know

When it comes to fine art, collections, and other types of historic insurance, it's important to consider the unique aspects of your assets. Insuring fine art is different from insuring other types of valuable items. Here are some things to consider.

The Multiple Types of Insurance Policy

When we speak of fine art and collections, there are two major types of insurance: title and property. Title insurance protects you in the event that a work of art in your collection turns out to be a forgery or has inaccurate documentation and provenance. Property insurance protects you against incidents such as theft, vandalism, and fire.

If you have a substantial fine art collection, both types of insurance will be necessary: to secure the property and ensure that the property is what it says that it is.

Don't Rely Upon Your Existing Insurance Policy

A commercial property insurance policy alone is often not enough to protect fine art and collections. Firstly, most commercial insurance policies have a cap on how much they will cover a single item. Commercial property policies may also not be used to valuing fine art and collections and may be hesitant to pay out on the resultant claims. Instead, you should consider the adoption of a policy specifically for fine art and collections.

Work with a Company That Specializes in Fine Art

An insurance company that specializes in fine art will work with you to make sure that your art has the appraisals, documentation, and provenance that is necessary to ensure it, while also determining your appropriate amount of coverage. When claims are initiated, a company that specializes in fine art will be able to deal with the claims more appropriately and expediently.

Have Your Appraisals Frequently Updated

Some companies recommend that you appraise your fine art every year. Other companies recommend every three to five years. Regardless, it's important that these appraisals be periodically updated, and that your insurance policy be changed to match. You may want to appraise larger ticket items more frequently than less expensive items.

Collect All Your Documents on Provenance and Appraisals

If you ever do need to initiate a claim against your insurance policy, you will need to have all the documents in hand. Make sure that relevant information regarding the item's provenance and appraisals is available, as well as information about any transfers or shipping of the item. Keep a copy of documents off-site, so that a disaster (such as a fire or flood) doesn't damage both the item and its documentation.

Fine arts and collections have to be appropriately insured: not only are they often very expensive, but they are also often fragile. Yet insuring this type of asset is a highly specialized field. It's better to work with the experts if you want to protect your valuable possessions.