Fine Art Insurance

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Mention the words fine art and some people might immediately leap to the conclusion that you are talking about super-valuable works from the likes of Van Gogh, auctioned at millions of pounds.

In truth, though, many a home in the UK may house a single piece, or even a modest collection, of fine art – be it a painting, a sculpture or some other artefact. It does not need to be priceless but is nevertheless valuable enough to be insured for the appropriate sum.

Valuation

Fine art is perhaps not the easiest to value. There is the sum you paid for it, but this might be quite unrelated to its true market value, which is also likely to change quite markedly over the years. Therefore, you might choose to seek a valuation for insurance purposes from a professional.

Safely armed with a reliable valuation, what do you do next? You might be tempted to include your work of art of collection of works under the broad umbrella of your home contents policy. There are three principal drawbacks in going down this route

The first you might discover straight away, when your existing home contents insurer declines your proposal to include your art works in the inventory of items covered. A typically reason for making such an exclusion might be because of the high value of the art you own.

Secondly, the problem with many home insurance inventories is just how long ago the items were re-evaluated – if ever. At times inertia might set in and you simply renew the policy each year, without updating the total sum insured. Even if your insurer agreed to extend cover to some or all of your fine art, you might be in for a costly surprise if you make a claim and find that you have been seriously under-insured.

That leads to the third drawback. Any claim on your home insurance is likely to involve an excess – so you find yourself bearing at least part of the cost of any loss or damage – and, perhaps even more painfully, you may stand to lose any no claims discount you have earned. Over a number of years, this might represent a substantial sum when you come to renew your policy.

Separate insurance

Instead of tacking your works of fine art onto your standard home contents cover, you might start afresh and arrange insurance specifically and exclusively for such treasures.

Specialist insurers are likely to offer cover whether you have a single work of art or have built up a whole collection.

Valuing your works is likely to be more straight forward, since these are the only items involved. Remembering to keep your valuations up to date may be similarly easy and help you to ensure that the total sum insured remains adequate

If the worst happens and you need to make a claim on your fine art insurance, you may do so with the confidence of preserving any no claims discount on your home contents policy. Some specialist providers of insurance for fine art even offer to settle any claims entirely free of any excess charge.

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