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4 Reasons Why Art Galleries Need Business Insurance

After earning your Art History degree and later qualifying for a small business loan, you find the lovely two-story gallery you have been dreaming of since starting your first internship years ago. It’s finally your time. You will be the one deciding how the space will be themed. You will be the one who schmoozes with local artists to plan openings and community events.

The space’s walls will be painted white. The carpeting will be torn out and replaced with beautiful oak floors. The lighting will create a mood of reflection and set a spotlight on the artist’s seminal work. Your art gallery will, in effect, bring culture and substance to the area.





Before you start talking to artists and interviewing community volunteer docents, you’ll need to get business insurance for the art gallery. Not to crush your artistic dreams, but a lot can go wrong in a gallery, very fast.

Here are four reasons why you need to invest in a business insurance plan:

Property damage to irreplaceable art pieces. By agreeing to house the artwork of an artist in your gallery, you are essentially promising to keep the art piece safe until the item is sold or returned to the artist at a later date. This seems simple enough: by affixing “no touching” signage to the gallery walls and constructing mounted barriers, you would think any issue with an artwork being handled by a gallery visitor would be non-existent. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

According to Art Business News, “human intervention” is the top reason artworks get damaged. Remember the boy who tripped and caught himself on a 17th century painting? His hand went right through the canvas, badly damaging a $1.5 million painting. Would your gallery be able to cover the cost of restoration if an artist’s work was damaged? Sure, you can tell yourself you won’t allow kids in your gallery, but accidents can and do happen. Small business liability insurance would cover the cost of repairs to the artwork. If the piece was damaged beyond repair, it would cover the cost of its replacement.

Artworks are stolen. Yes, it’s hard to imagine a Thomas Crowne Affair situation happening in your gallery, but it can. As reported by Economists Talk Art, over 50,000 artworks are stolen around the world every year. Sure, this doesn’t sound like a huge number given that it’s on a global scale, but the cost of the stolen painting or sculpture could cost your gallery tens of thousands of dollars, if not more. Small business insurance would cover the cost of the stolen artwork and keep the upset artist off your back, especially if they decided to take you to court for security negligence.

Here’s an added small business insurance bonus: artists will be more likely to work with you if you have insurance to cover damages or theft of their work.

A sculpture falls on a gallery visitor. Not all gallery visitors are art connoisseurs, and this means that some of them will not understand why getting up close and personal (despite the warnings) with an artwork is prohibited. There will be someone out there who will want to take a selfie with a sculpture and in the process of posing with said work will cause it to fall, maybe even topple, onto them. Small business insurance will again cover the damage to the piece and the medical fees (if any) incurred by the rule-breaking gallery-goer.

An employee falls from a ladder hanging artwork. Accidents happen, that’s one reason why insurance exists in the first place. If an employee is standing on a ladder trying to hang a painting and falls off the ladder in the process, hurting themselves, workers' compensation will cover their injuries and small business insurance will cover the damages to the painting.

With small business insurance, you can’t lose! Get business insurance for your art gallery today with CoverHound!

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