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Artists should you insure your artwork

Posted: March 14, 2024

Artists! Should You Insure Your Artwork?

As an artist, Artwork storage can be a big problem, especially if you work larger. Artists typically store more work than they sell, but that can come with risk. If artwork is moved or handled a lot or if art is your career, you may want to purchase business insurance to cover the work you make – protecting it for the value of what you would've earned if you had sold the piece through your art gallery or home studio, for instance.

So what is the most economical way to insure your artwork?

Insurance for collectibles and art may be affordable for a few key pieces. For example, a $10,000 piece will cost about $100-$200/year to insure, but this can increase if you have a lot of art to be covered. See item (1.) Discuss with your agent if there is a deductible?

What Artwork should you consider insuring?

Not everything is of the same value. Consider the more expensive pieces or those susceptible to damage that are out of your control. Self-coverage is generally what many artists have, but it is not necessarily the best fit for everyone. This is where you as the artist accept 100% of the responsibility for the well-being and care of the art at all times. You receive no compensation if any damage is incurred. In this case, do your best to protect works by placing in waterproof tubs with lids if stored in basements that may come into contact with moisture. Create poly bags for art storage and moving. (6mil drywall poly makes an economical bag using TUCK tape that sticks well to the poly) Note: Duct tape, Masking and Packing tape deteriorate over time.

1.    Art Studio or Home Residence – Package policies can be added to residential insurance plans. Choose a fixed amount of $10,000 - $50,000 and up as need be. Possibly not every piece of art need-be insured. Note: all artwork being insured must be itemized and valued based on previous sales of similar work mediums and size. Take photos .

2.    Sublet storage space – Check the lease as to coverage for contents like artwork. Is it cold storage or heated? Are other tenants in the same or adjoining space a potential risk?

3.    Art Shows – Check with the organizer as to their liability insurance. Pop-up shows that you are involved in – check your policy for artwork being displayed off studio premises.

4.    Art Galleries – Typically a commercial art gallery or public art gallery should carry insurance for the artwork in stock. It is a good thing to check with the gallery and note it in any contract or consignment agreement and the respective responsibilities.

5.    Business Offices – If artwork is on loan in an office, ask if they have sufficient insurance to cover any damage or theft or agreement to purchase or repair if damaged?

6.    Art on loan or Lease – If lending your art out for home staging or office decoration, events, movie sets, ask if you have to cover the insurance or does the person or business leasing the artwork. Get the agreement in a contract. If damaged, do they have to buy it or pay you to repair it?

7.    Transportation – Moving art from one location to another can result in damage from bumps and scratches to even vehicle accidents. Vehicle insurance may cover some of the damage costs as contents. (Previous prices establish compensation.)