People are often surprised to learn that I’m quite the collector of art. Specifically, I love anime- and fantasy-style artwork. We spent last weekend at an anime convention complete with a live art auction, so naturally I came home with an excellent assortment of new pieces for my collection.
While you won’t be finding any six-figure paintings in my collection, it’s worth enough that I carry extra insurance to cover it. And even though the average piece ran me around $20, there are enough of them that their total combined value is something worth insuring.
You too may have a few pieces of art in your home. Maybe a few prints, a couple pieces of fine pottery, or that big landscape painting you bought at a yard sale for next to nothing. Even if you own just a single piece of art with some sort of value, you’ll want to make sure it’s adequately covered in the event of a loss.
Some Q&A About Art Insurance
Q: Do I need art insurance?
A: Maybe. For smaller, casual collections, your homeowners policy may cover the entire thing in the event of damage, destruction, or theft. Some policies will place a limit on coverage, so you’ll want to obtain a rider on your main policy to cover the extra value of your collection.
Q: How much insurance do I need for my collection?
A: It depends. You’ll need to determine the value of your collection, probably by having it professionally appraised. You may also choose not to insure the entire collection; instead, you could simply cover the more valuable pieces.
Q: How much will art insurance cost?
A: Not much, relatively speaking. You can get $100 of art insurance coverage for about a dime a year. And if this seems like too much money to you, you probably shouldn’t be purchasing expensive art in the first place.
Q: What else do I need to insure my collection?
A: Several items, starting with that professional appraisal from earlier. Some other things you’ll need:
- An inventory list. You may need a list of specific pieces you wish to insure if you are not insuring your entire collection.
- Proof of provenance. When you acquire a piece of valuable art, you should be given some sort of certification of its origin. It may be included as part of the original invoice, which you should also keep.
- Photographs of the artwork. Not only do you need to prove you owned the work, but you must also show the condition it was in before it was damaged or stolen. Sure you spent $1,000 on that fancy portrait, but if you’ve been using it as a TV tray for the last ten years, it’s not worth $1,000 anymore.
Q: I definitely don’t have any art valuable enough to insure.
A: Are you sure about that? Any flea market find or attic artwork could be worth more than you think. Wouldn’t you hate to find out that your beautiful painting that got damaged in a storm was worth $25,000, but your standard homeowners insurance will only cover $1,000 for art? Even a casual collection should be appraised and insured if it turns out to be more valuable than you originally thought.
For more information on insuring artwork, check out “The Fine Art of Insuring Fine Art, Valuables, and Collectibles.” And once you’re ready to get a professional appraisal, consider looking into one of the many
art appraisals organizations.