Some General Guidelines for Insuring an Art Collection

(Consult an insurance agent before making changes to your policy)


Consider a rider on your homeowner's policy if your collection is worth more than about $2,000 or if you wish to insure the objects against losses not covered by the homeowner's policy (for example, glass breakage or earthquake damage may not be covered, etc.).

As the collection increases in value, or as the market value of the works you have acquired changes, consider a professional appraisal. Many insurance companies require appraisals for collections or individual artworks over a certain value.

The collection should be insured for fair market value

There are various types of policies: agreed value, market value, or blanket coverage. Ask your insurance agent to explain the differences.

Even if you don't have an appraisal, you should compile a list of the items you need to insure, preferably with photos, and keep a copy off site, not where the art is located. Such a list should include the name of the artist, title of the artwork, size, condition, and date made plus any information supplied by the gallery on its invoice, such as original purchase price and date purchased. All this information will help the appraiser prepare an appraisal, and some of it may also be required by the IRS should you decide to donate or sell the artwork.

We have specific requirements for documentation for Insurance claims:

If a work is damaged or stolen, we can in general NOT assist with an appraisal/claim unless all of the following are available:

A certified appraisal of value that was made prior to the damage/loss.

A copy of the insurance policy under which the artwork was covered, that specifically lists that artwork as having been insured and describes its condition, or a statement from the insurance company that the artwork was insured at the time of damage/loss plus some credible proof of condition prior to damage/loss. This might, for example, include a signed statement by the shipping company.

A photograph of the artwork taken prior to the damage/loss.

An invoice from the gallery/dealer/artist indicating how the artwork was acquired, or some other credible proof of provenance.

A photograph of the damaged object, or a copy of the police report if the object was stolen.

In most cases, for damaged objects, we will also need to see the damaged artwork or the remains of the artwork.