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How to insure a work of art?
Artstyle 18 Nov 2022

How to insure a work of art?

art insurance
Jacques Villeglé, Yes, 2014, available on Artsper

Have you just bought a painting by a great master yet you don’t know how to insure it? Or you want to finally acquire that sculpture you’ve been dreaming about, but you want to ensure its safety? Artsper offers you the opportunity to learn all about art insurance through a few key steps to protect your property!

Estimate the value of your artwork

One of the first things to do when investing in a work of art is to appraise it. There are two methods of valuing a piece of art: the declared value and the agreed value. The first is a value that you can give to your insurer, without having to prove anything. It is part of the larger insurance policy. But if your artwork is quite expensive, it is strongly recommended to opt for the agreed value. In this case, you can call upon a specialized auctioneer. This expert will be able to authenticate your work and estimate its insurance value.

Once this is done, you will obtain an official authentication and appraisal document, which will serve as proof if necessary. This paper is a sort of detailed identity card of the work. It contains its author, its date of creation, its nature, its dimensions, and of course, its owner! Since the art market is quite fluctuating, it is also advisable to update the authentication frequently. For an old work of art, have it revalued every ten years. For a contemporary work of art, it is preferable to re-appraise it every two years.

Estimate the value of your artwork,©Seventyfour
Estimate the value of your artwork ©Seventyfour

Art insurance through home insurance

There are several ways to insure a work of art. The most common and quickest way is to protect your art objects through your home insurance. This is a way to insure both your furniture and your paintings or sculptures. In this case, you will have to indicate the estimated value of each work in the inventory of your home insurance policy. This type of insurance covers a large number of losses, such as fire, water damage or natural disasters. It also protects against glass breakage, theft and vandalism. The compensation is variable and can range from restoration to full reimbursement of the appraised value. This is why it is wise to prefer the approved value: the indemnified amount is based on your certificate of authentication.

On the financial side, it seems very difficult to give a fixed insurance price of art insurance. It varies according to the works of art you own, their rarity and the maximum coverage. To know more about it, you will have to ask for a personalized estimate.

art insurance
Andrea Breinbauer, The Haunted House, 2016, available on Artsper

Companies specializing in art insurance

However, keep in mind that if your artwork is very expensive, comprehensive home insurance may not be enough. With over €4,000 of total assets, it is advisable to choose a specific art insurance. This one is called the art object insurance and has the big advantage of not being very expensive. It generally corresponds to about 0.5% of the insured’s wealth. However, this type of insurance also entails additional costs, based on the value of the work sometimes requiring an adequate security system. In this case, you can call upon companies specialized in art insurance. If you wish, a broker can also act as an intermediary between you and the insurer.

Jaume Plensa, The people are their own liberators, 2022
Jaume Plensa, The people are their own liberators, 2022, available on Artsper

Works of art, a safe investment?

What makes a work of art special is its uniqueness. And just as our tastes are governed by a set of socio-cultural factors, art is also a place of speculation. Some artists are so highly valued that they represent a very low risk investment. And you, how do you perceive the art market? Are you as critical as Banksy or as passionate as Rodin?