Fine Art

Insuring Fine Art

Insuring fine art is like another kind of insurance. You will need specific documentation to prove the worth of your artworks.

Probably, you will never find yourself with a Monet or a Picasso adorning the space over your fireplace. But if you're an art lover, you will have a valuable painting on your hands at some point in your life. If you do find yourself in this situation, it's probably time to start thinking about insurance.

When most people think about insuring the objects in their home, valuable jewelry or other gold and gemstone items come to mind, but these are not the only kinds of items that are worth insuring. Even things that might be of less obvious value to a thief can and should be insured. Like a vast comic book collection, a family heirloom, or even a priceless painting that you've been holding onto.

For some people, their home owner's or rental insurance may cover the cost of their artwork in case theft or disaster occurs. For others, if the art is much too valuable, this coverage may be insufficient. In this case, it may be necessary to buy a separate policy for this piece of extremely valuable art. Even if the work might be covered under your regular homeowner's insurance, it may be prudent to have it covered under two policies so that you have more choice in how you will handle the loss if any should occur.

Of course, first, before you do anything else, it's a good idea to get your art appraised. Having a good evaluation by a professional art appraiser of what the work is actually worth will help to fully protect you against damage or theft. The appraiser will also examine the work to make sure that it's not a counterfit copy of an original work.

There are a few ways that one can make this assessment. There are usually clues on the work itself.

  • For example, the appraiser might check:
  • The work's signature.
  • The apparent style and technique of the work.
  • The way the canvas is mounted.

If it is a “limited edition” piece, he might check to see if there is a unique number on the work that indicates which print it was. It might also be possible to trace the transaction history of the work to authenticate where it came from.

Since a work of art, like any other asset, can fluctuate in value over time, it may be prudent to have it appraised every few years. This will prevent you from being under-insured just in case anything happens to your property.

Be sure to keep documentation of the appraisal filed away safety.

  • As well as:
  • Any receipts you have from when you bought it.
  • Any certificate of authenticity.
  • Any proof at all its history.

These are all necessary steps before you first start shopping for art insurance. Make sure to perform your due diligence and gather as much information as you can on the work (or works) that you are looking to insure. Otherwise you may find that your coverage isn't enough.

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