By Sharon Chrust, President of the Board of the Appraisers Association of America
WHY DO ART COLLECTORS HAVE INSURANCE?
Personal Property Insurance is to ensure that we will be able to restore or replace the things we love and cherish. Art calls to us- it moves us- it engages us – and makes us look and think about things from different perspectives. When that treasured painting or sculpture is lost or damaged, it means more to us than just an empty space in our household furnishings – it can be an emotional loss as well.
CONSIDER THIS RECENT SCENARIO:
A large, contemporary sculpture by a living artist made of bronze in an edition of 5, is being moved from the owner’s Miami apartment to their secondary home. In transit, it falls off the dolley and winds up with a small dent at the bottom of the scultpure.
Since the artist is still living, he must be contacted to confirm whether he will allow conservation to the work. When contacted, the artist states that an essential part of the work is the pristine condition of the bronze and therefore it cannot be conserved. The foundry that produced the sculpture is no longer in existance, which means that the work cannot be reproduced. The work is considered a total loss.
The owner had this work as a scheduled item on his fine art insurance policy, but the scheduled value of the sculpture was from an Appraisal Report that was a number of years old, and the value of the work had significantly gone up.
The owner is now looking to replace the sculpture, either by waiting for another example from the edition to come to market or to purchase a different edition by the artist. Due to the outdated appraisal report, this unfortunately was both an emotional and financial loss for the collector.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE AN INSURANCE APPRAISAL OF PERSONAL PROPERTY?
Although the collector’s appraisal was outdated, if the owner in the above scenario hadn’t had a prior Appraisal Report, it would have made getting compensated for the damage more difficult. The owner would have had to show some confirmation that they owned the work, and what the condition of the work was prior to the damage, as well as obtaining an appraisal at that point for the value of the work - before and after the damage. Having an updated appraisal of your artwork is key to ensure that your collection is properly insured and should be a key component to your financial planning.
From someone that has seen many examples of damage - from, as noted above, transporting works, burst pipes, floods, to everyday accidents - I can’t express my point of view more strongly or with more veracity. Being proactive in protecting your fine and decorative art by maintaining updated appraisal reports and updating your fine art insurance policy limits accordingly, will alleviate both the emotional and financial stress if a loss does occur.
WHY HAVING A FINE ARTS BROKER IS IMPORTANT
Your art collection is unique and working with a fine arts broker provides you with the reassurance that you are working with someone who shares your passion for your treasures. For more information on how to insure your fine art collection, contact a representative from Huntington T. Block at HTBinfo@huntingtontblock.com
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This article is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide individualized advice. All descriptions, summaries or highlights of coverage are for general informational purposes only and do not amend, alter or modify the actual terms or conditions of any insurance policy. Coverage is governed only by the terms and conditions of the relevant policy. Huntington T. Block Insurance Agency, Inc. is a licensed insurance producer in all states; Texas License #17489; operating in CA under license # 0825502.