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Securing Your Priceless Art Collection

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Securing Your Priceless Art Collection
by Carrie Van Brunt-Wiley

Whether you collect paintings, fine art prints, ceramic art, antique woodwork or any other type of artwork, one of the most valuable things you can invest in for your collection is insurance.

Your favorite pieces are likely irreplaceable. But consider the finances you’ve invested in putting together and maintaining your collection. How much would you stand to lose if a fire, theft or water damage were to wipe out your pieces?
Assuming you store your collection in your own home, it will likely be protected in part by your standard homeowners insurance policy. Your property and contents coverage extends to all of the possessions in your home, so if a covered peril such as a storm or fire were to damage all of your belongings, you could be reimbursed up to a pre-determined amount.

The problem for valuable art collectors is this. Standard home insurance policies cap payouts for high-value items such as jewelry, furs and collections – including artwork. Most policies will only pay a maximum of $200 towards the replacement of an art collection in any claim.
However, there are a number of options for art collectors to help secure their collections. In addition to the protection offered by your standard homeowners insurance policy, you could schedule an endorsement on your existing coverage or invest in a personal article floater.

Scheduling an Endorsement

When you schedule an endorsement, you are essentially just raising your coverage limits on your home insurance policy to extend to a high-value item. You can easily purchase this type of additional protection by contacting your existing carrier and simply adding it to your existing policy. One advantage of this option is simplicity. You will keep all you home insurance coverage with one provider instead of spreading protection to another carrier.

Purchasing a Personal Article Floater

A personal article floater is similar to an endorsement in that it gives you added coverage for high-value items, but this coverage comes in a special policy. You can purchase a floater from an insurer who specializes in securing art. It’s important to have your collection appraised by an expert regardless of where you choose to insure it, so you can customize your coverage and have confidence that you’ll have the financial protection you need should there be a problem.
The appraisals have the added benefit of helping you itemize your collection. You'll know exactly what you have. When you make additions, you should revisit your coverage to make sure you're fully covered.

Whether you own a couple of fine art prints or play host to Cezanne, Picasso and Monet, make sure you’ve taken the proper steps to secure the collection you’ve worked hard to build. There's beauty in the peace of mind you'll have once you've taken care of it.

This article was contributed by Carrie Van Brunt-Wiley, Editor of the HomeInsurance.com blog. Carrie has been writing insurance news and consumer information for HomeInsurance.com since 2008. She graduated from the University of North Carolina in Wilmington in 2005 with a B.A. in Professional Writing and Journalism.