The top risks art collectors might face surprisingly doesn’t include theft. In fact, its art that’s on the move that poses the biggest risk. A large proportion of art claims are derived from transit losses. Private collectors enjoy lending, particularly as exhibitions in major institutions can increase value, that’s all very well until something goes wrong.
The movement of art is massive, now art is transported coast to coast, internationally or just to your winter home or local Gallery. When handling artwork, packing for transportation is a top concern for insurance carriers.
Many policies list as a condition, professional packing, meaning it must be packed as someone in the industry would pack it, safe, secure and protective from breaking if possible.
If you use a transportation service, either a fine art mover, a local mover, or common carrier, you must verify if they have or offer Insurance, what are their limits, conditions and the cost of the coverage. Insurance carriers differ and may have restrictions or limitations while your valuables are on the road, on a ship, or in air transit. The most common, efficient and safe way of moving art over long distances, domestically or internationally is by air transport, but it is very common to move the work yourself, so make sure your policy covers self-conveyance.
Some art transporting choices such as those offered by, United Parcel Service (UPS), DHL, Federal Express (FedEx), and other private art handling companies or commercial air freight carriers have limitations on coverages, territory, and deductibles. Keep in mind that while these are services used for fragile and non-fragile fine art, things happen within their control and outside of their control. Looking to your own insurance policy for protection is the right way to limit your financial losses and the quickest way to have the claim settled.
Artists, art dealers, and institutions use these Art transport services regularly, but Insurance, in particular, is the gray area in which most misunderstandings occur. Pay close attention to the bill of lading and understanding the fine print. The standard form limits the exposure of a claim on the art to weight, not value.
Our policies are written either as a schedule or market value less a percentage. Either way, your art will be protected while in transport. Caution, it’s important when securing transit art insurance to add extra days of transport for the unknown delays. Also note the declared value placed in customs forms or the bill of Lading is usually not used when settling a claim but look for wording which would specify to the contrary.
According to FedEx, “shipments (packages or freight) containing all or part of the following items are limited to a maximum declared value of $500: Artwork, including any work created or developed by the application of skill, taste or creative talent for sale, display or collection.
This includes, but is not limited to, items (and their parts) such as paintings, drawings, vases, tapestries, limited-edition prints, fine art, statuary, sculpture, collectors’ items, customized or personalized musical instruments, Film, photographic images, including photographic negatives, photographic chromes and photographic slides.
Any commodity that by its inherent nature is particularly susceptible to damage, or the market value of which is particularly variable or difficult to ascertain.”
According to UPS, articles of “unusual value” are prohibited from being offered for shipment. This definition explicitly includes “works of art.” As the November New York-based auctions ended and Art Basel Miami Beach began, for collectors buying and selling art no doubt demanded lots of their attention, they also should be thinking about keeping their art safe and properly insured as it moves between locations.
With the expansion of the global art market, risks increase. To discover a larger number of buyers, auction houses and art dealers often display art at multiple locations, including a growing number of art fairs around the world like Art Basel. The high volume of art exchanging hands increases the risk of improper handling and accidental damage and therefore increases the number of fine art insurance claims.
You should know where your art will be stored while in the possession of art dealers or auction houses. This is critical. For example, many consigned works were stored in art gallery basements in Chelsea during Hurricane Sandy, leaving many damaged. Art galleries may also store artwork at an off-site storage facility. Being notified before your piece is moved from one location to another is also a precaution and obtaining confirmation on how it will be packed and transported will help to ensure a smooth consignment process.
Don’t presume that the auction house, gallery owner, art dealer, or shipping company with possession of your artwork has insurance for its loss, theft or damage. It’s very important to have your own fine art policy. Collectors should always consult with an insurance agent. The agent can tailor a policy to a specific collector and discover any special provisions in the collector’s fine art policy.
No matter what risks they face, creating an insurance policy for an art collector requires one-on-one consultation since every art collection is unique, no two collectors are alike and no two collections are alike.
Collectors and their advisers would be wise to work with knowledgeable insurance brokers like Bernard Fleischer & Sons Inc. that can guide you in obtaining the right fine art insurance for your unique requirements. For more info visit www.artinsurancenow.com and live chat with us or call us at 800.921.1008
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