Insuring Art Pieces in Various Locations

“How should we insure art pieces displayed in several residences and loaned to museums?” By Bruce Gendelman, JD, Chairman, and Joseph Gendelman, President and CEO

Many of our clients live among several homes located across the country or internationally. Artwork, not just suitcases, often travels with them, from home to home. To ensure these masterworks are properly insured, we work with and recommend insurance companies that are comfortable with this type of lifestyle. Clients want to know that their insurance is going to cover their artistic pieces worldwide, should they take them to a secondary home on a spur-of-the-moment decision, or purchase something during a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

So, if you are in this position and concerned with managing your risk, we recommend that you:

  • Insure your artwork for the current appraised insurance inventory amount. Work with independent art appraisers who make a practice of reviewing your collection on a regular basis to keep up with current trends. (Also, know your vulnerabilities and emergency plans.)
  • Maintain an inventory of your artwork-including any photographs, appraisals, sales receipts or other documentation that the insurance company could use in the event of a loss.
  • Become an “art insurance” scholar: Learn why you should insure your art, the difference among types of policies (for example: “scheduling” your art- work vs. a blanket policy) and what will best suit your particular collection and personal needs.

Collectors who loan pieces to museums are another focus in our work, and we strive to ensure that there are no questions during this time period. If the museum is providing coverage, be clear on when it begins and ends. If it is not, will your policy insure the pieces? At mini- mum, before the pieces even leave your home, our recommendation is that you have a conservator inspect the artwork to make certain it is stable enough for travel and for exhibition; take photographs and document the pieces extensively.

Then, once you are comfortable with the condition of the pieces, the museum staff will need to convey to you the transit company they plan to use and how the art will be transported and packed. Know ahead of time the security arrangements once your pieces are on site at the museum. For example, will there be a security guard in the gallery at all times during public hours? For the return trip of the art, we recommend appointing a collections manager/registrar (or other comparable resource) to manage the tasks of condition reporting, de-installation and packing/loading of the pieces.

Impartial Expert Advice
Bruce Gendelman Insurance Services is a boutique agency focused on the insurance
needs of the art and collections world. Our personal approach
is distinctive and backed by a thorough knowledge of the art
and antiques market. Additionally, our carrier partners utilize their staffed historians and collection management teams, while providing valuable advice on conservation and curatorial services, collection management, vulnerability assessments, disaster planning, restoration, security and changing market values. Our strong relationships with curators, restorers, art consultants, framers, tax advisors, estate planners, packers and shippers place us in an ideal position to assist our clients in the special aspects of care that their individual art or gallery collections require. Whether those collections include fine furniture, outdoor sculptures, avant-garde drip paintings-we are your best source for impartial expert advice.

Article originally appeared in Worth magazine.