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Art Insurance

Who needs Art Insurance?

The terms art, antiques and collectables fit a broad range of items and these days art has become a recognised investment asset and worth protecting.

Many South Africans own collections and works of art worth millions. There is a difference between Art Insurance and normal insurance as it is necessary for a broker to have an informed understanding of the arts, and the art market in order, to provide appropriate value.

If you are an artist or own other peoples art or are in possession of other peoples artworks, it is recommended to have an Art Insurance policy for protection against financial losses. This type of specialised coverage will afford protection against situations such as theft, fire and damage in transit. An artist will understand the value of his/her piece of art and this includes financial as well as emotion value. Gallery owners, art enthusiasts and art collectors should consider some form Art Insurance to protect other people’s artworks.

The value of art collections can escalate fairly rapidly, therefore it is necessary to re-evaluate these artworks at least once a year to ensure the art insurance cover remains adequate. It is also worth acquiring the help of a professional appraiser to determine how much insurance is best suited to your needs. In some instances people may only wish to take out cover for the most valuable pieces and not an entire collection.

It is important to keep well documented records of receipts of sale and any other information to substantiate the value of the art work/s. You could even take photographs or a video clipping of the collection. Always keep a list of inventory items of all the artworks even if you are only insuring some of them.

What can I insure within an art insurance policy?

An art insurance policy can cover a broad spectrum of items such as: books, clocks, gold and silver, antique items including jewellery and furniture, photography, pottery, sculptures toys… and these are just a few! The cost of coverage can fluctuate dramatically depending on the worth of the items and if there are additional risk factors involved or where the work will be housed or displayed. In some instances it may be more beneficial to insure artworks for the home as well as for exhibition purposes. Some of the most typical risks include fire especially damage due to smoke, accidental damage and disputes related to ownership.

Art frequently requires transportation and many claims arise as a result of damage and theft during transit. There will be situations that works of art will need to be in transit to destinations for framing, display purposes at an exhibition or for restoration purposes.

Additional information about Art insurance…

  • Damage due to fire, more-soever, the smoke from the fire is a huge risk.
  • Water damage is also a huge risk factor.
  • Typical art insurance coverage uses an ‘agreed value basis’.
  • Art works covered under a general household or commercial policy will be subject to ‘the average clause’.
  • A specialist art insurer can assess your risk status and offer suggestions on how to lower them if possible.
  • An art gallery without art insurance also places their business operations at risk.
  • Consider coverage to protect against losses abroad and locally.

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