Whether you're an artist or an art collector, art is your passion. Consider insuring your art to make sure that passion stands tall in the face of literal and figurative stormy weather.

No matter how you house and protect your art collection, there always exists the threat of the unexpected. Have an insurance plan in effect to cover your pieces from unexpected events; otherwise, they could be at risk for permanent damage from wind, water, and even fire and smoke should lightning or something else start a blaze. Are such things likely? No, but they are possible.

You can choose from a number of options to insure your collection against different perils. The best way to guarantee that you make the right choice is to be informed about these options and how they will suit your needs. Every option has pros and cons, just as every art style has merits and fallbacks.

The more minimalist approach of a homeowners policy

Your home insurance covers some collectible items, including fine art. Homeowners insurance providers, however, set strict limits on coverage for high-value items, which can sometimes be as low as $200. Know the coverage limits prescribed by your policy. This is potentially the most cost effective option, but if you are serious about art collecting, it would be wise to consider additional protection for your pieces.

For more of an impression, schedule an endorsement

To further protect your collection while working with your existing homeowners insurance carrier, you can schedule an endorsement. This increases your limit for collectibles such as fine art. An advantage to purchasing this additional coverage is that it is typically cost-effective. It also can strengthen your relationship with your homeowners insurance provider and make filing a claim a simpler process.

The collectible renaissance: Purchase a personal articles floater

Another policy option is a personal articles floater. This is a separate policy from your homeowners insurance, typically purchased from a carrier that specializes in the collectible type; in this case, fine art.

There are numerous advantages to this type of specialized policy. Floaters usually have no deductibles, provide coverage for higher-value items, and value the pieces more precisely. Typical collectibles policies will insure items for full collectible value versus actual cash value.

The coverage also is more extensive and typically extends coverage to items in transit, items stored away from the home, and newly acquired items for the first 90 days.

Additionally, carriers with collectibles policies usually employ art experts who can help educate you on how best to protect your art from damage from water, fire, smoke, or atmospheric conditions. An expert also might have tips for packing your art more safely.

Protect your collection in every season

When dealing with any collection, it is important to know exactly what you have before a covered disaster strikes. This is especially true for high-value collections, which you should have regularly appraised. Take inventory before the sirens sound to make sure your losses are covered if they do. For each piece, you should record:

• The date you purchased it
• The name of the seller and the seller's location
• A good description of the item. This should include the item's shape, color, markings,       and any other unique features
• The piece's size
• Its purchase price and current value
• A photo of the item

Keep everything in a safe place, separate from your collection. If your artwork gets damaged, at least you will have a record of your losses for the adjuster.

The Final Frame

When you insure the pieces you are passionate about, the more you know the better. No matter which of the options you choose above, know the specific events your policy covers. Most homeowners insurance companies, for example, don't cover flood or earthquake damage. If you live in an area prone to either of these natural disasters, you may want to consider a pricier blanket policy that will cover them. Protectively frame your art with insurance. It can provide shelter to the pieces you love.

This article was contributed by Carrie Van Brunt-Wiley, a writer for the Homeinsurance.com blog. The blog for Homeinsurance.com acts as a center for insurance resources and information for homeowners nationwide.


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