Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Should I Insure My Oil Paintings?

Art insurance is a must if expensive oil paintings are to yield compensation should damage or theft occur. Peace of mind is priceless whilst a valuable painting is in transit, hung in an exhibition or in storage. But what is the best way to get an oil painting insured?

Art Insurance for Artists

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Insuring an oil painting could be a wise choice for various reasons, namely:
  • Becoming an art collector and/or dealer makes art insurance crucial.
  • An oil painting that has been in the family for years may not only have sentimental value, but monetary value. The rule often holds that the older an oil painting, the more valuable it is likely to become, particularly if the artist is of some note.
  • An oil painting that has taken hours of painstaking work to achieve from the artist’s point may have personal value.
  • An oil painting that has won prizes, received critical acclaim from official sources, and has been widely published, reviewed or recognised.
  • An old oil painting may have been acquired from a house clearance, an auction or even (as in my case) from a car boot may have monetary value.
Insuring an Oil Painting

In the case of an old oil painting, a certificate of authenticity from an official antique dealer (a service that may also offered by a fine art insurance company) is vital. Specialised art insurance companies such as Loveart Insurance or Axa Art Insurance Limited might be the best option.

An oil painting that is not listed within Christie’s, Millers’ or Phillips’ books and schedules may only be worth the cost of the art materials to produce (the canvas, oil paint and the varnish). Thirty or forty pounds or so does not reflect the hours of labour to produce the painting. In such cases, a realistic appraisal of the oil painting’s value and itemising the artwork within the house contents schedule might be a better option.

Insuring Valuable Art

For costly art, extra diligence may be required. Photograph the artwork and keep copies within the insurance package. Record vital information about the painting, such as the dimensions, medium, style and the artist etc. Keep receipts, certificate of authenticity and any other paperwork pertaining to dealings with the artwork.

Very valuable oil paintings deserve as much insurance as possible. If the worst happens, and the painting is stolen, as least there is monetary compensation. Some is better than nothing, and the oil painting collector may use the cash to eek a little revenue from publicity, installing a security system or even offering a ransom for the painting’s return.

Cheap Art Insurance

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Read, read and read the insurance schedule. Ask questions and ensure that everything is covered. For instance, the schedule may insure the painting against theft, accidental damage, fire and flood, but what about the painting’s frame, which may also be valuable? Similarly, does the location of the painting have any bearing on the cover, such as damage in a public place? Omissions of the obvious can easily happen.

Adding valuable oil paintings to house insurance will often work out cheaper, particularly if the house has a good security system. Otherwise, using specialised antique insurance is worth paying out for if the oil painting is priceless, such as an old master.

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