Art Insurance – Insuring your paintings

Art Insurance – Insuring your paintings

Art Insurance

Of course no blog or article that discusses valuable and beautiful paintings can ignore Insurance. This article below really got me thinking about insurance of my prized possessions and the best way to go about it.

“The Scream” and “Madonna,” two major paintings by famous Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, were stolen several years ago from the Munch Museum in Norway by armed robbers in broad daylight. In 1990, approximately $300 million worth of art was stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, including a Rembrandt and a Vermeer. The significance of these art thefts is notable, but what’s really shocking is that in neither case was the art insured against theft (although it was insured for fire and water damage, for restoration costs that would be incurred to repair the paintings if they were damaged). According to a BBC news story at the time of the Munch theft, John Oyaas, managing director of the Munch Museum said of the two stolen paintings, “They are not replaceable so you can’t buy ‘The Scream’ on the street and put a copy up there. The focus is on other issues than insuring them. To a certain extent this is common practice because these items aren’t replaceable.”

click here to continue reading the article – written by Alan Bamberger

Of course the above article really talks about art galleries and the costs and difficulties of insuring priceless and irreplaceable paintings. However (albeit on a smaller scale) I am sure you have paintings that whilst may not have cost millions of pounds, will be irreplaceable in the event they are stolen or damaged in a fire. Even if the cost is only in the £1,000’s you can ill afford to lose that much money, not to mention the sentimental value. talks about this type of cover in more detail here

Art Insurance

So what are the options for insuring paintings?

Home Insurance

The vast majority of us will assume that our home insurance will automatically cover our valuables, which include antiques, fine art etc. This is not always the case, because Home Insurance Policies have valuables and fine art and antique limits, which they are not prepared to exceed. You could find in a standard home insurance policy that the limit could be as low as £5,000. If you have several valuable paintings, you could need four or five times that amount.

Even specialist “High net Worth” Home insurance policies have valuables limits, although these can be increased to accommodate most valuable collections.

The other problem with a home insurance is how much you end up getting paid in the event of a total loss, or for the cost of restoration. You might have an idea of how much you think the painting is worth, but the Insurance Loss adjust might argue differently and you could spend a lot of time and stress arguing over a settlement.

Specialist Art Insurance

There are companies who specialise in insurance for fine art, furniture, glass, musical instruments and precious metals.

They will have available specialist valuers who can provide a full valuation of the items you wish to insure. Some policies even offer a complete home appraisal service at the inception of the policy.

Agreed Value

Once you have a valuation of your collection it also means that the item is covered for a pre-agreed value and there is no ambiguity in the event that the item is stolen or damaged (or no arguing with a loss adjuster!)

Most specialist policies will cover the item for any loss in value (depreciation) in the event of an insured claim following restoration, something a standard household insurance will not do.

Finally most specialist insurance policies will appreciate that you might exhibit or lend your painting to a gallery or exhibition – it is usually possible to extend the policy cover under these circumstances.

If you have a large and valuable collection it is certainly worth obtaining quotes from a specialist art insurance company, just for peace of mind! For more information go to

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