“The Scream” and “Madonna,” two major paintings by famous Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, were stolen several years ago from the Munch Museum in Norway by armed robbers in broad daylight. But what’s really shocking is that neither of the pieces of art were insured against theft (although they were insured for fire and water damage, and for restoration costs that would be incurred to repair the paintings if they were damaged).
Maybe you collect art because you’re an appreciator of the finer things in life, see art as a form of alternative investment, or perhaps you’re a lifelong artist who enjoys the art of others. Whatever your reasons, having an art collection is a most rewarding experience. Throughout history, various eras have given rise to infinite artistic visions. No matter what an individuals’ aesthetic may be, it’s possible to find artworks that express their unique personal tastes and preferences. Regardless of the type of art that you own or your reasons for collecting it, whether for enjoyment or investment, your collection likely holds significant value.
Home and Renter Insurance.
You would hate for anything to happen to your collection, such as theft or a natural disaster. If a piece of your art were stolen or damaged, you’d lose both a personal and financial investment since art holds monetary as well as sentimental worth. In addition to keeping your art in a safe place, you can also look to your homeowners or renters insurance policy for additional protection.
Home insurance doesn’t just include coverage for the structure of your residence; it also comes with protection for your personal belongings. While insurance can’t replace a beloved painting, it can definitely protect your financial investment. The same goes for renters insurance policies.
Included in a standard home or renter’s policy is “personal property coverage” which is the type of protection that can be applied to your collection. Most homeowners and renters have sufficient personal property coverage to protect their basic furnishings, fire, and other natural disaster coverage however, if you collect art, YOU MAY NOT HAVE ENOUGH COVERAGE to fully insure your collection. This is because a standard policy usually only insures up to certain dollar amount for art that is lost or damaged in a covered peril (an incident covered by your policy).
If you are not sure of the dollar amount that your current policy covers your art for or under what specific incidents that coverage applies, read it carefully, or better yet, call your insurer and ask. Since many art collections exceed these stated coverage amounts, you have to explore options for fully protecting everything that you own. To obtain the necessary additional coverage, you can either schedule an endorsement onto your existing policy or purchase a separate personal articles floater.
Personal Articles Floater.
Many collectors prefer to purchase a personal articles floater which is an entirely separate policy acquired specifically to protect their collections. It is not associated in any way with the existing home or renters insurance policy. The insurance carriers that sell these types of policies typically specialize in insuring collectibles, so they have a lot of experience working with collectors. Also, when you purchase a personal articles floater you typically have higher coverage limits for a greater number of perils (incidents that could result in loss or damage to the art). This type of coverage may cost a bit more, buts is often preferred by more serious collectors.
Either way, you’ll need an appraisal of your collection to determine its exact value. You may be asked to provide bills of sale (or a copies of them) for certain works of art, the history of ownership of certain works, and even photographs of the individual works in the collection. One other thing worth keeping in mind: The types of coverage discussed here apply to private collectors. Galleries, dealers or collectors who regularly buy art with the intent to sell it for a profit need business coverage. Artists also need business coverage.
Whatever your circumstances, don’t leave your coverage up to chance. While you might be loath to part with the money necessary to cover it right now, the additional investment will pay off in the long run. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that your artwork is protected.
Written by Carrie Van Brunt-Wiley