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Insurance for Fine Artwork

There's no need to be concerned that you won't be able to get insurance on your favorite work of art. In fact, if you already have a homeowner or renter's policy, the process is fairly simple. A standard home, renters, or condo insurance policy should automatically include some coverage for artwork. However, the limit isn't very high, so it may be necessary to add coverage if your needs exceed what has already been provided.

For example, if your policy comes with a $5,000 limit for artwork and you have $2,000 worth of art, you wouldn't need to schedule the items on your policy. Alternatively, if you find that your existing policy has a coverage limit that is lower than the value of your artwork, you will want to add an endorsement. There are just a few steps to do this.

First, you'll need an appraisal on all pieces to be itemized on your policy. If you have had any of the items appraised within the last year or two, the most recent appraisal should be sufficient for insurance purposes. However, any items that haven't been appraised in over two years or drastically improved in value since their last appraisal should be re-appraised before being itemized on your policy.

Next, while not necessarily required, it's a good idea to take one or more pictures of each item. Provide copies of these photos to your agent to keep in your file. This will help a claim adjuster more readily identify what was damaged or stolen in the event of a future claim. For prints or reproductions, it could also help you to locate a replacement piece in the future if necessary.

Finally, you will need to provide your agent with copies of the appraisal, a description of each item to be scheduled on your policy, and photographs if available. Once the items have been added to your policy, you will be required to sign a copy of the endorsement. Be aware that you may not have the option of insuring the artwork for an amount that is different from the appraisal. Talk to your agent if the purchase price was different from the appraised value. While you may be able to insure the piece for less than it's current value, you will not be able to insure it for an amount higher than this.

You should also be prepared to see an increase on your annual premium when you schedule the artwork on your policy. Since the basic artwork coverage is included in your initial premium, additional coverage will result in added premium. Furthermore, be aware that your scheduled artwork will be subject to the coverage limitations of your policy. Since most homeowner's and renter's policies do not cover flood or earthquake damage, your artwork will not be insured against these types of loss. However, if you own a flood or earthquake policy, it may be necessary to list your art collection on these policies, as well.

Before making any changes to your policy, it's always a good idea to talk to your agent, especially when adding or reducing coverage. He or she will walk you through all of the steps and answer any questions you may have. Since you may already have enough coverage on your policy to replace your artwork, have a conversation with your agent before you take steps to have the pieces scheduled on your policy. One short discussion could save you a lot of time and hassle.