The Importance of Art Insurance

Artwork Archive | July 15, 2014

You protect the important things in your life: your home, your car, your health.

What about your art?

Just like with other investments, you should have a backup plan against loss or damage. And even with precautions, loss or damage to your collection is possible!

Whether you're a seasoned art enthusiast or have recently started navigating the waters of collecting, it's important to understand the value of art insurance and protect yourself by properly covering your valuable collection.

The motivation to take out an art insurance policy extends beyond theft. In fact, 47 percent of art loss is attributed to damage during transit according to The New York Times. Here are 5 reasons to insure your art collection:

Understand the Retail Value of Your Collection

If you lost everything tomorrow, do you know what your collection is worth? Unlike other insurable property like houses and cars, collections of art and jewelry are built with emotion and care. Because of this, sometimes art isn't given the same financial thoroughness that's applied to other assets, according to Forbes Magazine.

To understand the true value of your collection, it's important to take out a policy through a reputable insurance provider. These insurance companies will send art appraisers to determine the replacement value – not the purchase value – of your collection to ensure that you have adequate coverage.

When you take out your policy, step one is cataloging your collection. We'd be remiss if we didn't mention that as an Artwork Archive member, you can not only catalog your collection, you can also mark purchase price and track investment growth. Plus, your data is backed up nightly and the information will never be lost!

Arm Yourself Against Gallery Mistakes

Savvy art collectors know that displaying your pieces in galleries is a great way to increase the value of a piece, but it's important to take proper cautionary steps before handing over your work. Not only can work be damaged in transit, it's possible for a piece to be improperly stored, stolen and even sold without an owner's consent. Historically, contracts at galleries can be unspecific. Because of these “handshake agreements,” collectors don't always understand the legal risks, according to The New York Times.

With a proper insurance policy, you'll protect yourself from potential fraud and property damage.

Protect Your Pieces from Perils in Your Home

Art over the fireplace? Heat and humidity are quick ways to devalue art. And if a piece hasn't been moved in years? Chances are the wires holding it up are ready to snap. Even if your art never leaves the safety of your home, fire, flood and other accidents can occur. Even fastidious collectors cannot easily protect their pieces from unexpected home accidents. With the right insurance policy, you can protect yourself from a laundry list of home perils and safely display and enjoy your apprized collection.

Art Trafficking is a Real and Present Danger

Art trafficking ranks third, behind drug and arms trafficking among worldwide criminal enterprises. While the numbers behind this claim are difficult to measure for various reasons, world experts in theft, including Interpol, commonly quote this statistic.

And according to Interpol, one way to tackle this crime is to prepare inventories of public and private collections using standards – like art insurance – which will make it possible to easily circulate information in the event of theft. Be prepared for the possibility of theft from your home, a gallery, storage facility or museum with proper insurance.

Recoup the Value of Damaged or Lost Art

Ultimately, the benefit of art insurance is to recoup the value of your lost or damaged art in its entirety. If your personal collection, including jewelry, watches and other collectibles, is valued greater than the low four figures, chances are your homeowners' insurance will not properly recoup damages. While we understand that many pieces of art are not replaceable, and insurance will not recoup any emotional loss, ultimately, art is an investment, which deserves protection.

Looking for more tips on safeguarding your artwork? Check out our blog post on "5 Insurance Tips for Artists."

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