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Insuring Fine Art

From The New York Times

March 8, 2011, 2:38 pm

Insuring Fine Art

 

Figuring out the right way to insure art is an important step after buying it.

As demand for art starts to rebound, the Insurance Information Institute recently put out some helpful insurance tips for those who have recently bought a valuable piece of art or have a whole collection.

We’ve combined those tips with helpful advice from other posts to create this guide for insuring art.
 

Find out what your existing insurance covers: Before or soon after you buy a piece of art, “find out if you are covered under your existing policy or if you need supplemental insurance,” Jeanne Salvatore, spokeswoman for the institute, an educational organization financed by the insurance industry, said in a statement. Standard homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies generally have dollar limits for how much coverage they provide for valuables like works of art and jewelry. Thus, “in most cases, you will need to purchase a fine art floater,” Ms. Salvatore said.

What kind of additional coverage to get: When it comes to the additional coverage, you can either opt to insure the items individually with their own floaters to your homeowner’s or renter’s policy or buy broader blanket coverage for the art category. As I discussed in a Bucks post last year, “The Best Way to Insure Your Valuables,” more expensive individual coverage comes with a number of advantages, including better proof of what you have and more coverage if an item is lost. Insurance experts I spoke with recommended opting for the individual coverage.

Which insurance company to work with: Anyone with an art collection may want to consider getting a policy from a company that specializes in insuring art. Why? According to the Insurance Information Institute, those companies not only give advice on how best to insure the art, they’ll also have tips on how to best to protect the art from  theft or the elements. The institute recommended getting the names of such companies from a local independent agent.

Make sure to get the art regularly appraised and keep the right records: According to the institute, you should “regularly get the items appraised to substantiate their financial value.” Having an up-to-date appraisal can help ensure that you get right value for the item if something were to happen to it. The appraisal can also let you know when you can reduce the amount of insurance coverage to save costs. As covered in the Bucks post, “The Right (and Wrong) Way to Cut Home Insurance Costs,” you may want to drop the floater or insure the items for less if their market value drops.

As for which records to keep in a home inventory, the institute recommended keeping “a copy of the bill of sale, appraisal, provenance (history of past ownership) and photographs.”

What are your strategies and tips for insuring fine art?


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