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What Are the Different Types of Fine Art Insurance?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2016
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Fine art insurance includes coverage for a broad array of fine art items in settings like museum collections, exhibitions, private homes, and dealers' facilities. The right type of insurance is important, as issues like loss, theft, and damage may not be covered if a policy is not appropriate to the situation. Insurance companies and brokers that specialize in fine art can provide information on the types of policies available and the best option for a given situation.

As a specialty item, fine art is typically not covered under general insurance policies for homes and structures. It needs to be separately insured through a process that includes carefully documenting the art, assessing the conditions where the art is kept, and writing an appropriate policy. Fine art insurers may demand certain security measures as part of the terms of a policy, and can also provide tips and information on protecting art to reduce the risks of a problem.

Types of fine art insurance include products divided by the nature of the piece, as well as the setting where it is kept. Insurance for paintings, sculptures, antiques, and other objects is usually separate because of the differing needs of these types of insurance policies. Likewise, the setting plays an important role, as the risks to a traveling exhibition are different than those for a single piece of art displayed in a private home.

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The type of coverage is also a distinguishing feature between different policies. Art owners can purchase fine art insurance to cover vandalism, loss, theft, and damages from natural disasters. Fine art insurance can also cover issues like looting claims; a museum, for example, may want to maintain insurance on the pieces in its collection in the event a private party or government challenges the provenance of a work of art. The insurance can pay for an investigation and legal defense, and may pay out a settlement or arrange for repatriation in the event that the art truly appears to be questionable.

Insurance is also available for parties who will be responsible for art, even if they do not own it. This includes art dealers, organizations holding art exhibitions, educational institutions that borrow art for display and research, and so forth. While the owner may also carry coverage, the coverage does not necessarily extend to loans unless the policy specifically says so.

Owners and handlers of fine art may want to consider consulting an insurance agent or broker to discuss their insurance needs. Art can be complex to insure, and it is critical that as many circumstances as possible be covered by a fine art insurance policy. Policy loopholes could be devastating in the event of an incident.

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