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What is Commercial Fine Art Insurance?

Lots of businesses will furnish their commercial premises with statues, paintings, tapestries, and other forms of art. In the commercial insurance industry, these items are collectively known as ‘fine arts.’ In order to give your business adequate coverage for the loss of any of these valuable items, you should consider buying fine arts insurance or getting a fine arts floater added to your existing commercial property insurance policy.

While there is an element of coverage included under a commercial property insurance policy, we’ll explain why this might not be the right level of coverage for your fine arts and give you a clear explanation of what is and is not covered.

Will a standard commercial property policy cover fine arts?

Collectibles, artwork, and other related items will usually qualify as property that is covered under your commercial property coverage. However, there is a limit to the level of coverage that is provided.

So, while in theory, your fine arts are covered, you might not get anywhere near their estimated or potential worth if you only insure them in this way; consider these points.

Commercial Property Insurance for Fine Arts - Valuations

A major issue with trying to use a standard commercial property policy to cover fine arts is that the replacement cost coverage will not usually apply to antiques, works of art, or other articles. If you decide to insure your company property on a replacement cost basis, any loss of fine arts will be calculated on the current and actual cash value of the item. They can be incredibly expensive to repair and even harder to replace. If you have anything that is unique, then it’s likely your insurance company won’t even be able to value these with any accuracy. So, settling for insurance of your fine arts on an actual cash basis isn’t something many people would confirm to be of value.

Commercial Property Insurance for Fine Arts – Breakage Limitation

Most business property insurance policies will have a section that outlines any policy limitations, and it is here that there are numerous exclusions listed that relate to the breakage of items that are considered to be fragile; this could include marbles, statuary, and chinaware for instance. Unless the breakage occurs from a specified cause of loss, then it will usually be excluded.

Commercial Property Insurance for Fine Arts - Exclusions

The majority of business property insurance policy will actually exclude many perils that fine arts and paintings could be particularly vulnerable to. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Scratching or marring
  • Dryness or dampness of the atmosphere
  • Fungus
  • A water leakage from the AC or plumbing due to having been frozen
  • Temperature extremes or changes
  • Constant water seepage that lasts for 14 days+
  • Infestations or nesting of rodents, bird, or insects

Buying the Best Fine Arts Coverage

For the main reasons we have outlined, a commercial property insurance policy is not the ideal solution to insure fine arts that are stored or presented in your business. In order to get adequate protection from any losses, you will need to buy a fine arts insurance policy. 

While this coverage can easily be added to an existing commercial property insurance policy as an endorsement, the standard coverage offered by business property insurance falls short of the mark for most types of fine arts. If required, you can also purchase a standalone policy for fine arts insurance.

If you buy a fine arts endorsement, you might also hear it being referred to as a fine arts form or a fine arts floater.

Here, we will outline the best type of fine arts coverage you can buy for your business.

Please note: This is targeted at those who do not exclusively work in the fine arts sector, but merely own and present fine arts in their commercial premises. So, if you are an art dealer, a museum, a commercial artist or you organize exhibitions, then you’ll need to buy specialist coverage

What is classified as ‘Covered Property’ with a fine arts floater?

The vast majority of businesses who buy fine arts insurance will be insured under a scheduled form. This will provide your company with coverage for all items listed on your insurance declaration form. If you do not update this, any other property that is undeclared will not be covered. The main advantage of having a scheduled form arrangement in place is that a business owner will know exactly how much they will receive for an item if it suffers from a total loss.

The majority of fine arts forms will typically give you coverage for property you own, along with the property you have possession of, but is owned by another entity. So, if your business displays artwork that is owned by an artist or other entity, as long as it is scheduled on your documentation, it will be classified as covered property.

What about fine arts insurance for items that are not on your premises?

Most fine arts forms will only offer limited coverage for any property that is either stored or presented at a location you do not own; the same applies to any property that might be in transit. If you own fine arts that are being temporarily used in an exhibition, this could be excluded from your coverage as well.

Valuations for Fine Arts Floaters

You can expect the majority of fine arts forms to provide coverage on an agreed value basis. This will mean that you and your insurance company will need to agree on the value of each piece when your policy starts. If a piece is stolen, damaged or lost, then the insurance payout will reflect the amount of the agreed-upon value.

What are the excluded perils for fine arts insurance?

Most fine arts floaters will have fewer exclusions compared to a standard commercial property policy. Here are some of the most common fine arts insurance exclusions.

  • Pollutants release
  • Government actions, such as seizure
  • Nuclear hazards and/or war
  • Wear and tear
  • Fragile item breakages
  • Mysterious disappearance
  • Flooding
  • Earthquake
  • Employee dishonesty

You may have noticed the fragile item breakage exclusion on the list. While this is similar to a standard business property insurance policy, you can pay extra to eliminate this exclusion.

Getting Quotes for your Fine Arts Insurance

You should try to make sure you have an itemized list of the fine arts items and the values of those items before you start to get fine arts insurance quotes. Due to the complexity of these types of insurance products, it is always wise to speak directly with a fine arts insurance specialist in the commercial sector. They can answer your questions and help you obtain the best level of coverage that is relevant to your fine arts items and your individual business profile.

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