The value of art continues to rise and blockbuster works continue to set record prices both by auction and private sale. As a consequence, clients are frequently looking to buy additional insurance limits. That is the view of Rebecca Gee, client manager, specie & fine art for Aon Risk Solutions.
She says that before taking out art insurance, it’s important to understand how much your art is worth by obtaining a valuation by a reputable valuer or appraiser. Without this information, it is difficult to obtain an insurance quote, and you risk insuring your items for less than market value.
“Insurers are likely to look for protections in place, both in terms of security and from natural disasters,” she added. “A lot of insurers will not consider taking risks unless basic precautions are taken, such as fire and burglar alarms, for example. On top of these measures, an art owner should ask themselves what specific risks they face, and make sure they look to take precautions before approaching insurers.”
Outlining the risks that come with owning art, she said that much like other precious items in a house or building, art runs the risk of being destroyed by a fire, flood, or other natural disasters. As an investment product, art is also not immune to market fluctuation, so does not always guarantee a positive return when sold. Depreciation following partial damage even after restoration is also a concern.
Additionally, and depending of the value of the art, it runs the risk of being stolen. “Intruder alarm systems should be installed at the relevant points throughout a building, with all entry points secured,” she said. “Consultation with a specialist art security surveyor is always recommended. In terms of the art itself, it should be appropriately secured. It’s important that any employed staff have their backgrounds properly checked, as this is an area that often leaves clients exposed.”
When taking out art insurance, Gee recommends shopping around. Whether this is through a broker who can approach different insurers for the best terms, or by oneself, it is a good idea to get an idea of different prices charged.
“It’s also worth looking into claims reviews to make sure the insurer will support you should problems occur,” she said.