Home Insurance > Contents Insurance > Artwork Insurance

You’d be hard-pressed to find something as divisive as art. For whatever reason, art can inspire and irritate in equal measure. However, whether you like it or loathe it, arts significance cannot be downplayed.

From Francis Bacon to Jean-Michel Basquiat, an artist’s work will outlive the creator, and it can continue to astonish generations to come. But, despite this undeniable influence, art, artists, and fans of art continue to be ridiculed and are the punchline of many jokes.

Whether it’s looking at Piet Mondrian’s work and saying ‘I could do that on Microsoft Paint’, to claiming that Jackson Pollock’s work is nothing more than just a ‘load of splatter that my two-year-old could do,’ plenty of people do not see the value of art.

 

The value of art today

That said, art does have fans, and there’s a lot of them. One trip to the Louvre in Paris is a testament to this. Not only is the museum itself a work of art, but you may end up queuing for hours to see the world’s most famous painting: the Mona Lisa. Across the globe, there are museums and spaces devoted to art. Right here, on the muddy shores of the UK, The Tate Modern in London became the country’s most-visited tourist attraction in 2018, with nearly 5.9 million people visiting the art gallery last year.

With so many people being obsessed and infatuated by art, it’s become a highly lucrative business. Pieces of art can go for millions of pounds at auctions, with Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi painting being sold for $450,312,500 in 2017. Understandably, then, collectors of art and those who own valuable pieces want their belongings to be protected.

So, if you’re one of the lucky few to own a valuable piece of art, or if you’re thinking of getting into the art collector business, here’s everything you need to know about artwork insurance.

What is Artwork Insurance?

With the growing popularity of art collection, artwork insurance was created to ensure that your high-value artworks are protected from hazards that may damage or destroy them. While you can add pieces of art onto your regular home insurance policy, many providers will not offer an adequate amount of cover should something happen to them, so it’s recommended that you take out specific artwork insurance with a specialised provider.

 

How does it differ to standard Contents Insurance?

The main advantage of going with an art Insurance specialist is that they will take your claim very seriously. With a common homeowner’s insurance policy, your art collection is nothing more than a part of your valuables, while an artwork specialist will know your collection and know its worth. Artwork insurance specialists understand how the claims situation is handled, how appraisals work, and they understand the value of an art piece.

Artworks are expensive and they are fragile, making them high-risk items that are susceptible to both damage and theft. A specialised artwork insurance provider will cover your pieces from many areas of risk, such as damage from fires and floods, as well as theft. If artwork is accidentally damaged at any point during the policy, artwork insurance companies will compensate for any loss of value, no matter how small or large the damage is.

How does Artwork Insurance work? (A step-by-step guide)

If you are thinking about getting artwork insurance to protect your collection, there are a few things you need to do to get started.

Get an appraisal

Firstly, you need to get your collection appraised by a professional. Having your collection appraised by a professional is the first step in protecting it. The appraiser will note any signatures or additions on the art and will recommend the value of the piece.

Gather documents

After your appraisal, it’s time to get all your documents together to prove that you own the artwork and how much it is currently worth. You’ll need to show proof of ownership, bill of sale, provenance, a replacement estimate, photographs of the artwork and have a receipt of the most recent appraisal. Without these documents, you will not be able to get your artwork insured, so be prepared and make sure that you’re organised before you go to the insurance provider.

Once you’ve got all your documents together, it’s time to pick your provider and the cover required.

Pick a provider

You can personalise your policy depending on the extent of cover that you require. Some collectors prefer to keep their collection in-house, while others loan their collection to museums or external organisations in exchange for money.

Artwork insurance providers should offer cover for both in or out of the home. While the out of home option will be more expensive, there are a lot more potential-hazards for it to cover. Loaning your artwork to museums and other organisations exposes it to a busy environment, flashing cameras and the potential for people to prod and touch it without authority. Not only that, but a lot of artwork gets damaged in transit, so check that your policy covers your artwork when it is in transit.

 

Why are regular collection appraisals important?

As mentioned, getting your artwork appraised by a professional is an important part of the insurance process, and these appraisals need to be updated every couple of years.

The frequency of your appraisals will depend on the age and quality of your piece, but you can ask your insurance provider how often they would recommend that they should be carried out.

The appraisal will provide you with an updated value of the artwork, which will need to be given to your insurance provider to update your policy and your cover.

An artwork’s price can change over time, so an updated appraisal will mean that you get paid the correct amount should something unfortunate happen to your piece. For example, if the artwork was worth £2,000 five years ago, it may be worth £4,000 now. By presenting your insurance provider with your new appraisal, you will ensure that you receive the full £4,000 valuation if the artwork is damaged or destroyed.

Not only is an appraisal useful for insurance purposes, but it’s also useful for planning your estate, understanding the overall value of your collection, filling out your tax returns and selling your artwork.

It’s worth noting that the majority of art insurance providers ask that you specify any particularly high-value items and have them insured separately in order to ensure that they are adequately covered. The threshold for this tends to be around £5,000. For items under this threshold, you do not need to provide a valuation. However, regular valuations are always recommended to make sure that you receive the correct payment in the event of a claim.

Artwork Insurance and special circumstances

Death of an artist

An artist’s work may live forever, but the creators don’t. Artists are human and do eventually pass away, which often leads to their artwork increasing in value. In the event of an artist’s death, some policies allow the cover to be increased by up to 100% without charge. This change in cover usually runs for the six months immediately after the death or until a new valuation is provided.

Fakes and Imposters

Given the money that can be made on art, it has become an industry that is riddled with fakes and imposters. In the event of an ownership dispute regarding a piece of art, such as finding out it is a fake, your provider will cover you for the amount you paid for the artwork. But, while you will get our money back, the law does state that any fake works must be destroyed, so you will have to hand over the piece to the authorities.

Partial Damage

Despite doing your best to protect your artwork, damage does happen. While it’s highly unlikely that your artwork will go up in the flames, a small bit of damage can happen in any given situation. No matter how small the damage may be, it can lead to an artwork losing a lot of its value. In the event of partial damage, you will receive payment for the restoration work and a monetary sum to cover the loss of value caused by the damage.

 

Art may be a divisive subject, but it’s a highly valuable asset that needs to be insured and looked after. If you are a collector, or you own a piece of high-value artwork, it’s worth getting your pieces insured by a specialist company that will appreciate the value of your art and understands the protection that it requires.

 Before you get your insurance policy, make sure that a specialist has appraised your artwork and do your research into the level of cover provided and whether it’s right for you. You want to make sure that your prized possessions are protected adequately, so do not rush into decisions and take your time.

And whatever you do, do not try and insure your bedroom as Tracey Emin’s infamous ‘My Bed’ because it’s not. You just need to tidy it.

 


Insuring your garage with buzzvault

We recognised that insurance doesn’t always work as it should, which is why we built buzzvault: hyper-personalised home and contents insurance based on a digital inventory of what you own and its value. So what does this mean for you, the customer?

  1. Our insurance is based on an up-to-date record of what you own and its value, so you always have the right level of cover in place.
  2. You can add new items to your policy as and when you acquire them, so your cover stays up to date.
  3. If an item is listed in your buzzvault, then it’s covered. End of story. Simply open our app and claim back at the touch of a button.

If you want to learn more about what we offer, then head over to https://gobuzzvault.com. Or jump straight in and get a super-rapid personalised quote now.