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Do I Need a Fine Art Insurance Policy?

What is Art?

In an insurance context, “art” has a bit more of a defined meaning. Generally, “art” can mean anything that’s held for some sort of aesthetic quality separate and apart from the physical object(s) used to create it. Traditional visual art offers an easy example: the value derived from a famous Monet goes well beyond the intrinsic value of the canvas and paint used to produce it. The same may be true for rare coins, where the rarity or condition of the collection may make it work many times the stated monetary value.

Thus, the definition of “art” for purposes of fine art insurance coverage is diverse and varied, ranging from traditional visual arts such as paintings, photographs, sculptures, and the like, to textiles, musical instruments, clocks, antiques, rare books, manuscripts, arms and armor, historic artifacts, certain furniture, and virtually anything that has value beyond its underlying functional purpose.

The broad nature of “art” is another reason why fine art insurance policies are written on a case-by-case basis, rather than offered as “one size fits all” solutions.

How insurance for fine arts works?

Suppose you have high-value artwork in your possession (either because you’re selling it, displaying it, or just bought it), how do you go about making sure it’s protected? There is a common misconception that artwork is covered by standard homeowner’s or renter’s policies or in a business environment by commercial property insurance, but the reality is that most common insurance forms either specifically exclude artwork, or limit the coverage to such an extent that it might as well not be covered. That means if your fine art is lost to a house fire, you might be out of luck.

Fortunately, many insurance carriers offer fine art insurance coverage, with policies designed specifically around the unique circumstances of art. Unlike typical consumer policies and even most basic business policies, fine art insurance policies are not based upon standard forms. Instead, the coverage is crafted specifically to the unique circumstances of each situation: the type of art, the location, in which it is stored or displayed (a private home, hotel lobby, corporate conference room) and the nature of the insured party (private collector, a museum or gallery, a corporation).

One of the reasons fine art insurance is unique is that art owners typically want to keep the works at issue, even if it becomes damaged, rather than replace it with something of similar value, which is the case in most insurance contexts. In a typical auto policy, for example, the owner of a totaled car is generally less interested in getting the vehicle back in working order as opposed to being paid for the value of the vehicle, so the insured can go buy another one. In the context of art, most collectors who suffer a loss aren’t looking to look to replace one piece with another of similar value, but rather they want to restore the original piece as closely as possible to its condition before the loss. Fine art insurance policies are built on a different framework than insurance policies like homeowner’s, renter’s, business owner’s insurance policy.

To request a quote, you can get in touch with us or go online:

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