It can sound so senseless when art theft makes the news. Beautiful works of art done by famous artists that bring joy to audiences disappearing into oblivion? Unthinkable. Most of the time, thieves steal art for ransom or resale, which can be a very profitable enterprise. Most of the time, fine art pieces are lightweight and easy to move, making this a relatively low-risk undertaking for some thieves. Art loss isn't just something that plagues museums - private estates can be targeted as well, especially since they don't usually have the security measures that galleries do.
Fine art collectors sometimes know the value of their collections, but more often they don’t. What's more, the value of a collection can increase with time. Whether your collection was passed down to you or you personally sought out each piece, your fine art has value and should be protected.
The Demand for Fine Art
- Sotheby’s auction house sold $195.7 million of artwork at a May 2012 auction
- Art and cultural property crime in the U.S. results in a loss of $6 billion each year
- The FBI dedicates a team of nearly 20 agents and attorneys to solving and prosecuting art crimes
- Tens of thousands works of art are stolen internationally each year
The Reason Fine Art Insurance Is Important
Although it’s unpleasant to imagine worst case scenarios, considering what might happen is often a necessary part of evaluating your insurance needs. The good news is that fine art insurance coverage can help protect your artwork collection. Many fine art owners like you rely on insurance for artwork to cover theft or unexpected damage to their collections.
In addition to theft, fine art home insurance policies may cover fire, accidental breakage and loss from severe weather. Be sure to read your policy carefully, as you may need separate a separate flood policy to be protected in the event of flooding. Fine art policies can also include transportation coverage. This can be especially beneficial because a significant 5 to 10 percent of art collection claims are a result of damage or loss to the pieces during transit.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Fine Art?
If you’re assuming that your homeowners insurance will cover your fine art, you may be disappointed. Most standard homeowners policies have a cap, per insurance category, on the amount of personal property coverage provided. Typically, this restricted amount is not nearly enough to cover a fine art collection or set of collectibles.
The coverage in your homeowners policy will likely not be adequate if you have high-value artwork. In addition, general homeowners insurance policies may have more exclusions, further limiting when and how a potential claim is paid out.
Additional fine art insurance is often a better option for many fine art collectors or owners. You can opt to insure items individually on floater policies or purchase broader valuable item insurance. Have your art regularly appraised and keep an updated inventory of items; both of these steps can help you determine which insurance coverage might be best for you.
Finding the Right Fine Art Insurance
Appraising your artwork is an important first step toward protecting your collection. The next step is to meet with a knowledgeable agent who knows how to find the right coverage and insurance company to protect your investments. Your collection is unique, so your insurance coverage should be tailor-made for you.
If you buy fine art home insurance directly from an insurer, you’ll be sold only the products that company offers. If you work with an independent agent, you will be able to compare several quotes and coverage options from top fine art insurance companies.