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Published June 11, 2019

Best Practices for Purchasing and Protecting Your Fine Art

Fine Art and Insuring your belongings

By Leslie Appel Maher and Natasha Mecklenburg —

It’s complex, but simple.  You collect, we insure.

Everyone has a collection – from fine art to used wine corks and Tupperware without matching lids.  If you have fine art, we have some important advice.

We recently hosted an event focused on fine arts & collections with Chubb Insurance. Here are some of the highlights:

Investing in art is on the rise.  In fact, global sales in the art market reached $67.4 billion in 2018 – a 6% increase over 2017. We are seeing new buying trends in the market when it comes to art. Many more people are buying online. When buying online, there are many things that should be considered.

  1. Be sure to get a full condition report of the item prior to purchase.
  2. Be aware of the provenance of the piece you are purchasing.
  3. Only use a reputable company that specializes in transporting valuable pieces. Be sure to add the piece to your insurance policy before the item ships.

Once you have purchased a new piece, it’s important that you properly protect your fine art investment. Things that you should keep in mind include location of the piece, how it’s displayed, and steps to take to reduce chances of damage and accidental breakage.

  1. Avoid placing the piece in high traffic areas and keep materials that can face out of direct sunlight.
  2. Avoid placing art underneath a bathroom, HVAC vent or sprinkler head.
  3. Do not store artwork in your basement due to high risk of water damage.
  4. Hire a professional installer to hang your works of art and always be sure to use hardware that’s appropriate for the size and weight of the piece.  

Being certain you have adequate coverage to protect your special possessions is important. Insurance plays a big part in the safekeep of your art and collections as well as giving you peace of mind. Below are some key points to look for when insuring your valuables:

  1. Be sure to consult a team of insurance professionals with training, industry experience and knowledge of diverse collections.
  2. There is usually limited coverage for valuable articles on a standard homeowner’s policy, be aware of what coverage you have. Consider scheduling your valuable articles on a separate policy to add coverage like breakage and mysterious disappearance.
  3. The value of jewelry and fine art can fluctuate greatly over the years, having accurate appraisals based on market values will allow you to obtain adequate insurance coverage. If you do not have recent appraisals, some policies will only pay up to 150% of the amount itemized on your policy to account for inflation.
  4. Art collectors, dealers and gallerists face significant financial loss if major works are damaged, stolen or lost.  Be sure to have global coverage, coverage at a permanent location, in transit or while being loaned to others.

Generally, if you can collect it, we can insure it (the list of what we provide coverage for is a lot longer than what we don’t).  Just reach out and ask the Gregory & Appel Private Client Team for advice.