- Protection for owned artwork is often recommended, whether you have a single piece of treasured art or an entire collection.
- Art insurance is your defense against unforeseen circumstances.
- There’s a misconception that Homeowners Insurance protects your art collection. It doesn’t.
Perhaps the least exciting aspect of owning unique pieces of artwork is having to insure them. We know, we know. You’re browsing through a bombardment of insurance options, clueless, to the point where you eventually despair. “What could possibly happen to a piece of properly hung artwork in my quiet living room?”, you ask yourself, frustrated.
While you’re fluent in Modigliani, you might dread the topic of art insurance. Truth is, no high-value artwork in your possession is exempt from possible misfortune (hello bright lights and leaky air conditioning), especially if someone decides to claim it’s theirs or that it was stolen, years after your purchase. And when artwork gets damaged, you don’t want to say hello to the seven-figure mark if you aren’t insured, and you don’t want to end up without the art or the money you shelled out to proudly own it.
So, read through if you wish to mitigate the effects of any possible damage to your treasured artwork by acquiring adequate insurance.
Some interesting facts and stories
- The largest single loss to the art market came after New York’s Hurricane Sandy which hit the east coast in October 2012, resulting in over $500 million in damaged art at the home of artist Peter Max. A loss which has also affected the value of his remaining artwork.
- Contemporary art collector and businessman Ramin Slasali lost many of his artworks and sculptures valued at over DH1bn in his residences at the Dubai Address Downtown during a blaze in 2016.
What is an art insurance policy and why do you need it?
Take a typical car insurance policy, where owners are generally less interested in wanting their vehicle back in working order as opposed to being paid for the value of the car so that they can go and buy another one. When it comes to art, things don’t work in a traditional insurance context. Most collectors or those who have artwork in their possession never look to replace one piece with another when they suffer a loss. Instead, they want to restore their original treasured piece as closely as possible to the condition before the loss.
As such, art insurance policies are designed with a different mindset.
Suitable for private collectors, corporate collectors, art galleries, art exhibitions and museums, a fine arts policy covers stolen, damaged, or destroyed art with the exclusions of unexplained losses, war, terrorism, and sabotage. It should also include both replacement and restoration. Although every policy is different, as a general rule, art policies cover the artwork whether they’re on display in your home, during storage, or during their transit from one location to another.
Fine art insurance policies generally cover collectibles, paintings, sculptures, and installations for one year, and in many cases short period covers for exhibitions are available. Premium rates are usually based on the proposal form you complete.
Art is not a static asset. It can increase in value or depreciate due to several varying conditions. This is one of the most convincing reasons to get art insurance to cover the fluctuations in value.
According to Gulf News, factoring art damage and heft into your current home insurance generally costs around AED 20 annually per AED 10,000 of coverage, although it could be less if you have a decent security system. However, if the total contents value is more than approximately AED 50,000, you may be asked to provide an itemized, descriptive list of values.
A few tips
- If art has been stolen, make sure to register the theft immediately.
- Make sure that you have insurance on the piece after purchase but during transit. Many losses happen before the artwork reaches your home.
- Alert your insurer of an accident right away for quick claim settlement
- Above all, it is crucial that you understand your insurance policy
When it comes time to filling a claim, you need the required documentation for obtaining that art insurance:
- Proof of ownership
- An appraisal
- Receipt of your purchase
- Photographs of the work
- A record of ownership if the piece has passed through several owners
If you have cherished artwork in your possession, it’s time to keep it safe. Do not hesitate to go for a fine art insurance. When studying your policy options, always ensure that your chosen policy covers a variety of situations that could affect your art.