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What is Art Insurance, and Who Needs It?

You’d want to purchase art insurance for one of two reasons:

You’re a collector investing in pricey works of art and/or


You’re an artist looking to protect your investment of time and money.

In the first case, art insurance limits exposure to risk while accumulating assets. From the Louvre in Paris to the Gardner Museum in Boston, art theft is big business. You can insure your collection on a stationary basis (i.e. if you have a museum) or in transit if you’re moving a valuable piece from one destination to another.

Art insurance is especially attractive because only about 5-10% of stolen artwork is ever recovered. Thieves are sometimes international men of mystery, but are more often low-level criminals looking for leverage to get a buddy out of prison. When that risky gambit falls on deaf ears, these works of art can end up buried in random basements for decades.

In the second case, an artist should rightly consider protecting his or her creations. The nuance here is figuring out whether the artist’s work is technically considered “personal” or “commercial.”

This distinction is important because if the work is considered “personal” than it is likely covered under the creator’s renter’s or homeowner’s insurance policy. But if it’s a business venture than such policies will fall short of covering the art.

We recommend speaking to your insurance agent about this specific issue. Artwork in the home is certainly at risk, for the same reason everything else in the house is; whether it’s a flood or an electrical wiring issue the project you spent two years finishing is worth protecting.



Similarly, the artists equipment can also be covered. These tools are often costly and beloved by their owners -- certainly good candidates for insurance.



Whether you’re an art collector or an art maker there’s no reason such an aesthetic pursuit shouldn’t be protected financially, like any other investment.


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