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Art/Collectibles Insurance

If you have valuable and unique possessions such as fine art, antiques, jewellery, a coin, stamp or wine collection, sports memorabilia or other treasures, then you will want to protect your investment through adequate insurance.

Standard homeowners’, condominium owners’ and tenants’ policies limit coverage per item, and may not be sufficient for special and valuable possessions. For particularly valuable collections you may want to take out a separate insurance policy with an insurance company that specializes in insuring these. However, for many people a rider or endorsement on your home insurance policy may be sufficient. This itemizes and insures your especially valuable possessions for an additional premium.

Policies cover loss and damage due to a variety of perils including: theft, vandalism, fire, smoke and lightning, wind, damage caused by aircraft and vehicles, falling objects, malfunction of household systems and equipment such as plumbing, furnaces or air conditioning. To be covered for flooding or earthquakes you will need to take out additional coverage for these events.

You may want to hire an independent appraiser to establish the value of the items you wish to insure. Make sure to choose an appraiser who specializes in the type of items in your collection. The American Society of Appraisers can provide a list of qualified appraisers in your area.

Check for exclusions and limitations in your collectibles and fine art policy. Some objects deteriorate over time, for example stamp and coin collections (from fading, scratching and staining) and older canvases. Some policies have an “inherent vice” exclusion which will not cover such items.

Be sure to have complete documentation of your special collections and valuable items. This could be in the form of videos and photographs, gallery receipts and proofs of purchase, appraisals and other written records, which you should update regularly. Keep this documentation off-site in case of the complete destruction of your home and contents.

Premiums and coverage will vary between different insurance companies. You can usually lower your premiums by agreeing to higher deductibles. Other ways you may be able to lower your premiums are by installing an alarm system, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems and deadbolt locks. Depending on the size and value of your collection, it may be sufficient to add a rider to your home policy or you may need to take out a separate insurance policy.