How to Protect High Value Antiques and Art
Published: 2 August 2011
By Julian Stone 1 Comment
Updated: 22 March 2013
You can build higher walls, install better alarm systems and even place your art and antiques in shock-proof glass cases – but your last line of defence will always be your insurance.
No matter how much care and trouble you take to hang your paintings or display your sculptures, it won’t protect your art collection from a determined thief – or keep it safe from flood or fire.
That’s where high net worth art collection and antique insurance comes in, by at least making sure your valuables are insured for their full worth.
But getting the right insurance can mean the difference between being compensated for your loss and receiving too little or nothing when disaster strikes.
If you have created or inherited a valuable art collection, you certainly shouldn’t rely on ordinary home insurance.
Many home insurance policies don’t provide cover for items like antique furniture and art collections – and basic policies also set a so-called ‘single article limit’ that limits the amount of compensation you can receive for an individual item.
So, to get the insurance you need for your most valuable items, the only safe option is to choose specialist high net worth art and antiques insurance.
We show you what to look for – and how to make sure your most precious possessions are covered.
1. Get specialist cover
When you choose specialist insurance for art collections and antiques, you’ll be able to tailor your insurance to individual items such as paintings, pictures and etchings, tapestries, furniture, ceramics, coin collections and jewellery.
Another benefit of specialist cover is that insurers will not only pay for the restoration of the item in the event of damage, but also the depreciation in its value, up to the current market value or a set limit.
Many high net worth contents insurance policies of this kind provide a lower limit (for example, £15,000), designed to save you time by not having to declare or separately value items worth less than this amount.
2. Get an accurate valuation of your art collection and antiques
An independent, professional valuation of your art collection and antiques is essential if you want to buy the right insurance.
Being able to identify and provide individual valuations for high value items means that you’ll be compensated for their market value if they are stolen or damaged.
It’s also important to get items valued on a regular basis, as market fluctuations can mean you end up either underinsured or paying out to insure items for more than their true worth. For example, gold prices have trebled since 2004 and are still rising – and will have affected any gold jewellery or antiques you own.
3. Use a specialist insurance broker
Taking out a high net worth insurance policy on art and antiques can be a complicated process – so you need to use a specialist insurance broker to find the right cover.
A specialist insurance broker will not only make sure your art collection and antiques are covered, but can also save you money on your premiums.
For example, a standard policy might treat any antique as a high-risk item, but a broker will know that a large piece of furniture, while an antique, is actually a low-risk item when it comes to potential theft – saving you money on your premiums.
A specialist broker will also know that thieves don’t usually nab an entire art collection – they usually go after just one piece.
They can then help you insure against ‘incidents’ of theft – where your insurance covers you for a set amount against theft of an artwork, as opposed to insuring each piece of art individually.
Brokers can also more easily recognise different kinds of security systems and procedures you have in place where your art is kept, resulting in further savings on your premium.
4. Consider single item insurance for high value items
If you have an item that is of particular importance or significance, or one that is simply exposed to a greater variety of circumstances, like regular display or travel, you should consider single item insurance.
This is usually not feasible for every item of value, both because of cost and paperwork, but it provide a single item with its own policy, resulting in the ultimate protection. Your insurance broker will be able to advise you further.
Protecting works of art and rare antiques allows you to enjoy them and also preserves them for future generations.
So look after them well – choose high net worth insurance to give them the protection they deserve.
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