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4 Reasons Why Museums Need Business Insurance

When you run a museum, you try to keep the chaos to a minimum. Museums strive to create a peaceful, reverential space for the public to enjoy world-class art, science, or history at their own pace. It’s your job to bring various exhibits to life, and this requires keeping track of a lot of moving parts. Between tearing down and putting up exhibits, transporting precious relics, interacting with the public, and coordinating a sizable staff, there are a lot of variables involved. As hard as you try to keep things flowing smoothly, accidents do happen.

That’s precisely where business insurance for museums comes in. From protecting your organization against monumental lawsuits to covering the cost of lost or broken artifacts, the right combination of business insurance policies can keep your lights on, your doors open, and your exhibits earning the attention they deserve.





Here are four scenarios that illustrate why museums need to protect themselves with business insurance.

A guest stumbles into a priceless artifact

Many museums mount their art high up on the walls to protect it, or put plexi-glass around particularly fragile exhibits. However, it’s impossible to protect every piece on display from an errant elbow, knee, hip, or hand.

For instance, a 12-year-old boy tripped during a museum tour in Taipei in 2015 and put out his hand to steady himself. Unfortunately, he braced himself against the canvas of a $1.5 million painting, ripping a fist-sized hole and spilling his energy drink in the process, as CNN reports.

Your museum needs property insurance (usually part of a Business Owners Policy) sufficient to cover anything within its walls, whether it’s a permanent exhibit or a temporary display on loan.

A visitor slips on the freshly waxed lobby floors

The first guest of the day arrives right when you open, eager to get their ticket and see an exhibit before it gets more crowded. That’s usually great news! Except this time, they slip on the freshly waxed floors in their hurry and end up breaking their arm. Without general liability insurance, your museum could be on the hook for their medical bills and any litigation they pursue against your establishment. Getting a Business Owners Policywith sufficient maximum liability coverage can help protect your museum against financial losses in the case of personal or bodily injury to others on your premises.

An electrical fire destroys part of your largest exhibit

After the last security guard locks up for the night, an unpredictable electrical fire starts in the walls and ends up damaging most of your main exhibit before firefighters can put it out. It’s a nightmarish scenario that no museum staffer wants to face. It can be tough to recover from such an inopportune accident, especially because it was nobody’s fault!

In the last 25 years, there have been many museum fires around the world, all with losses in the millions. Some started because of humans (smoking or arson) while others simply arose out of faulty equipment. Fires are covered under a typical property insurance policy, according to the Insurance Information Institute, and museums can get reimbursed for the original value or the current value of the destroyed property, depending on their policy setup.

An employee throws out their back moving a display case

For some, a museum is a rare wonder they see once or twice in their lives. For employees, it’s a job, and that means business as usual. Many museum jobs can be quite physical, and your museum must legally have workers compensation coverage in place to cover the cost of medical bills, rehab, and missed work for employees who sustain injuries or illnesses on the job.

Learn more about business insurance for museums, and get your free CoverHound quote today!

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