5 Insurance Tips for Artists

Artwork Archive | July 15, 2014 (Updated September 20, 2022)

As a professional artist, you’ve put your time, money, blood, sweat, and tears into your work. Is it protected? If you aren’t sure, then the answer is probably no (or not enough.) Fortunately, that’s easy to fix! Two words: art insurance.

Rather than put your livelihood up to chance, buy the right art insurance policy for peace of mind. That way, if disaster strikes, you’re ready and can spend your time doing what matters: creating more art.

Whether you’re new to art insurance or just want to add a few new pieces to an existing policy, here are five tips for navigating art insurance waters:

1. Photograph Everything

Every time you create a new piece of art, the first thing you should do is take a photo of it. Every time you sign a contract, or sell a piece and receive commission, or buy art supplies take a photo. These photos are going to be a record of your collection, your expenses, and possibly your loss. Those photos are going to be proof of the art’s existence if anything should happen.

2. Choose the Right Insurance Company

Not all insurance providers are created equal when it comes to art. Do your research and choose a company that has experience in insurance art, collectibles, jewelry, antiques and other “fine art” items. If something should happen, they’ll be more experienced at addressing art claims than your average insurance company. They know how to value art and how the art business works. Trust us – it will just make your life easier.

Illywacker Tea Can by Liz Crain

3. Buy as Much as You Can Afford

There are a lot of exciting benefits to being a professional artist – you have creative freedom and get to live your passion. Sometimes, though, finances can be tight. If you’re trying to cut corners, don’t skimp on your insurance – buy as much as you can comfortably afford, even if it doesn’t cover your entire collection. If flood, fire or hurricane were to happen and you lost it all, you’ll still receive some compensation (which is better than nothing at all.)  

4. Read the Fine Print

It isn’t exactly exciting, but your insurance policy is a must read! Take the time to read your policy with a fine-toothed comb, including the fine print. A good exercise to do before reading your policy is to brainstorm Doomsday scenarios: what are all of the bad things that could happen to your art? For example, do you live near the coast where a hurricane is possible? What about flood damage? And what happens if something is ruined in transit? Once you’ve made your list, make sure you’re covered for everything. If you’re unsure about certain language, don’t hesitate to ask your insurance agency for some insurance jargon translation.

Artist Cynthia Feustel's Artwork Archive Public Page

5. Keep an Inventory of Your Work

Remember those photos you’re taking of your art? Organize your photos on Artwork Archive. In the case of an issue, whether the piece was ruined or stolen, you can easily pull up your profile and show your collection in its entirety. In the profile, include any additional information that speaks directly to the value of the piece, including cost of creation and sale price.

Keep your artwork safe and secure. Sign up for your 14-day free trial of Artwork Archive here.

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