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How do I protect artwork from the point of purchase to home delivery?

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Proper insurance, updated appraisals and thorough risk management are the bedrock of a solid art/asset protection plan. We have seen a large increase in the numbers of our clients investing in fine art—both for the aesthetic and the investment value.

Unfortunately, however, whether art lovers are just starting their collections or have been collecting for some time, many remain unaware of the exposures to loss that they face and the appropriate insurance protection theyneed to mitigate those exposures.


One of the most common mistakes collectors make is to assume they can rely on a homeowners policy to cover the value of artwork. In fact, all such policies have limitations concerning fine art and other valuables.

Instead, the best way to insure artwork is through a valuable articles (also called collections) insurance policy. Owners have the ability to arrange for no deductible and insure their artwork for an agreed amount, determined by a recent appraisal or bill of sale.

A valuable articles policy will provide worldwide coverage, so your art is protected if it is away from your home(s), and you are also typically covered when purchasing art and antiques abroad. This specialized policy also provides immediate coverage for new acquisitions and for items in transit or on loan for exhibition. Insuring artwork correctly will ease the claims process, saving time and money, should there be a partial loss or total destruction.


There are many common causes of loss for artwork, including burglary, fire, flood, theft and natural disasters. However, one of the most frequent causes of loss occurs due to the transit of art. Accidental breakage, problems with customs and mysterious disappearances can all occur while purchased artwork is being transported to a client.

So, how do you ensure that your artwork is protected in transit? Keith Domescik, President of Artcore Fine Art Services and logistic specialist advises, “Artwork is a living entity, with a lifespan that will react to its environment and handling. You have to listen to what the work requires for handling and storage. They are often not the same plan of action.

Insuring artwork correctly will ease the claims process, saving time and money, should there be a partial loss or total destruction.

“You need to look at the object and learn about the potential issues that may arise from simple handling. The person transporting the work is someone you have to trust, and determining a plan is the best way to develop that relationship. The time invested in talking with the logistics provider can clue you in on what the plan truly is and if they are capable,” Domescik continues. “People are reluctant to disclose the value, artist or relevant details; they need to be transparent. Transparency on both ends is the key to an incident-free transaction.”

Another mistake people make is to immediately store something they just purchased. Domescik suggests having the art handler do a condition report first and send images of the artwork before it is packed or goes into storage. Also, art owners should try to use the same provider for shipping, packing and handling. That way, if something goes wrong, the owners have just one vendor to investigate. Domescik adds that collectors do not always see the damage to their artwork, but if the artwork wasn’t transported correctly from the start, he warns that cracks or handling abrasions may appear weeks, months or even years later.

Collecting art can become a passion and rewarding on several levels. Protecting that passion (not to mention that investment) can be arranged by your professional insurance advisor. Our advice is to contact your advisor fora complete art review today.

This article was originally published in the June/July 2016 issue of Worth.

Private Collections Insurance

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