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Should I insure my artwork? Valuable tips to protect your art collection

Buying original artwork is a hobby, as well as an investment. Art collectors dedicate a lot of their time, energy, and money to find unique and valuable pieces to add to their collection, and the last thing they want is to have their prized possessions exposed to threats. 

While it’s not the most artistic thing to think about, if you love collecting art, you also need to take into consideration worst-case scenarios. Unfortunately, we can’t control everything, and catastrophes may happen when you least expect it. You can buy a new car, you can replace your furniture, but a unique painting is just that – unique and irreplaceable. 

Risks involved with collecting art include theft, robbery, and other forms of damage that you need to be protected against. It is estimated that the global premium value of insured art sits somewhere between $500 million and $1 billion. If these numbers are correct, it means there is an incredible amount of uninsured art pieces out there. 

This happens because there are plenty of people that hold large art collections, including paintings, antiques, jewelry pieces, or other collectibles, without having a firm grasp of what their collection is actually worth. That’s because many art collectors buy these pieces out of pure love and passion, without considering applying the same financial rigors they would with other assets such as their homes, cars, or businesses. 

If you have invested more than a few thousand dollars in artworks and collectibles, then it’s time to think about protecting it against unexpected events. Sure, you can lock it in a guarded safe, but even that won’t ensure your pieces are completely shielded. The best way to put your mind at ease is by insuring your collection with a trusted insurance company. 

Below are some tips we have put together to help you better protect your art collection. 

Don’t rely on your homeowner’s insurance for protection

Some people believe their homeowner’s insurance is enough to protect the art pieces in their house. While it is true that homeowner’s insurance does provide some coverage for valuable objects, there are strong coverage limitations. Some insurers allow you to buy special coverage for some pieces of art, but this only applies to the current value of the piece, which can increase in the future. 

The art market is becoming more sophisticated as the years pass, which means art collectors need to be smart with their insurance and not rely solely on what their homeowner’s insurance provides. 

Put simply, you need to understand that each type of insurance has its purpose. Just as you wouldn’t expect your life insurance to cover your car as well, you should not expect homeowners insurance to cover your expensive pieces of art. Take the time to do your due diligence and compare various insurance policies to find the one that works best. For example, the experts at provide a comparison tool for various types of car insurance. You can find similar services for art insurance as well, so prepare to start looking.  

Understand the risks associated with having an art collection

Art is considered a material asset, as it is a tangible piece. This leaves it exposed to unintentional physical risks, such as accidents and breakage, as well as overtime risks such as wear and tear. While some of these risks can be mitigated with proper care, there are plenty of other dangers collectors don’t have control over. 

Take, for example, the situation involving Le Rêve, a famous painting by Picasso. An art collector wanted to make a private deal to sell the piece, but it got damaged while the man was showing it to his friends. While the deal was initially canceled, as the painting had a 2-inch tear as a result of the accident, having it insured helped with the restoration of the piece, which was eventually sold some years later. Without insurance, it is difficult to believe Picasso’s piece would have ever been restored to its initial value. 

Take the time to assess your needs

Providing your broker with the proper documentation helps them determine the type of insurance that works best for you, but you also need to be aware of your needs. If your art collection only contains a few pieces, you can maybe get away with a good homeowner package policy that covers the pieces inside your home. However, if these pieces get moved, they may not be covered by the policy anymore. 

If your collection is larger or contains extremely expensive pieces, you must look for specialty art insurance. Plus, there is a chance that your collection will grow in the future, and you don’t want to refrain from purchasing a piece just because you fear your insurance won’t cover it. Things are a bit different than with, say, car insurance. While you can look for the cheapest cars to insure and base your purchase decision on it, you can’t exactly do the same with an art piece. Or, you can, but it would be kind of restrictive, don’t you think?

Keep proper documentation of your art pieces

The first thing you need to do before starting to look for insurance is evaluating your pieces to figure out which of these objects need insurance and for how much. This is why it is very important to have proper documentation for all of your pieces. 

When you visit a broker to discuss your insurance options, they will need to determine the value of the pieces and understand their worth. Ideally, you should provide a series of information for all of the pieces that need to be insured. This includes a description of each piece, the date of purchase, invoice of sale prices, as well as any following appraisal prices. 

Providing all of this documentation shows you understand what managing an art collection means, and the broker won’t feel they can convince you to accept less coverage than you deserve.

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