How Do You Insure Priceless Art? Let Us Paint You a Picture

How Do You Insure Priceless Art? Let Us Paint You a Picture

Whether a seemingly unintentional paint drip feels inspiring to you or not, there’s no denying that art holds a special place in our lives… and a special place for investors. Recently, the painting “Salvator Mundi” by Leonardo da Vinci sold for $450 million. It was the most expensive painting ever sold.

Art inspires, captures moments in time and gives an outlet to creators. A variety of styles, mediums and muses comprise the ever-evolving landscape. Throughout history, art has been a source of hope, protest and beauty for those that behold it. Excepting all of that though, it’s also been a major monetary asset.

In 1990, two men dressed as police officers tied up security personnel, late one night at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts. The disguised men then proceeded to steal 13 priceless paintings and escape police unscathed. Since then, none of the paintings have made their way back to the museum and the mystery still remains unsolved. The men were never caught and the case has reached its limit of time to be opened.

Unfortunately, this level of heist isn’t that uncommon in the art world. In 2007, a thief aptly nicknamed “Goldfinger”, broke into Pablo Picasso’s granddaughter’s home and stole more than $66 million in artwork including two paintings. Goldfinger was promptly caught but the damage had been done.

Beyond theft, fine artwork still remains an incredibly fragile commodity. From shipping, storing, to installing, handling artwork requires skill and high levels of training. Mishandling one single detail can result in catastrophic destruction and loss of the piece as a whole. Unfortunately, environmental factors also play a role in the risk that comes along with owning fine art. That’s where insurance comes in.

Types of Art Insurance

Fine art requires attention to detail and full understanding when it comes to insuring it. There are a variety of policies that cover regular home property but at Petra Insurance, we suggest getting a policy specifically meant for fine art. This really boils down to two types of insurance: title and property.

Title Insurance

As the name suggests, title insurance insures against a defective title. Depending on the age and origin of artwork, past owners and theft history may be unknown. If the artwork has been stolen, damaged or otherwise, it may render the title on the piece void. Better safe than sorry.  

Property Insurance

Specifically made for fine art, having property insurance on your pieces is key. With water damage being one of the most common reasons owners take out policies, it’s important to recognize the role that the unlikely plays in owning fine art. Holding a property insurance policy protects owners against theft and damage caused by a variety of unforeseen factors including environmental and transit issues.  

Who Should Get Art Insurance?

Anyone owning a household art value of over 37,000 AED should highly consider taking out a policy. A regular home property insurance policy will not sufficiently cover high-value pieces.

How to Get Art Insurance?

At Petra Insurance, we make the process easy by getting owners in touch with our insurance specialists so you can discuss all your options. From there, you’ll submit all paperwork and forms you have on your pieces. This includes purchase receipts, certificates of authenticity, photographs of the pieces and provenance, or a record of ownership. Once all paperwork is received, the next step is the appraisal.

Appraisal is one of the most important steps to getting a policy. A reputable appraiser will determine the value of the artwork based on several factors including age, origin, condition and artist. Once that process is completed, an accurate insurance cost can be approximated. It is important to note that owners should repeat this process every five years though as the value can change and the condition and age changes.

Following appraisal, one of our insurance agents will walk you through the purchase and upkeep of your policy.

With the risk of damage and theft so high for fine art pieces, it’s important to mitigate risk and stay covered. With a comprehensive insurance policy, you can enjoy your pieces knowing they will be taken care of. Through our international network of partners, we offer clarity and work to find the perfect policy for you. For more information about how Petra Insurance can help with your collection, contact us at 800-PETRA.

How Do You Insure Priceless Art? Let Us Paint You a Picture


Managing Partner

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