Dr. Lori's Tips about Insuring your Antiques

How much would your priceless antique or artwork be worth if it gets lost, stolen or destroyed - and you had no insurance on it?

Two of the biggest myths in the art and antiques world are

  • 1. Thinking that your possessions are not worth anything and
  • 2. Thinking that your homeowners’ coverage automatically covers art, jewelry, and antiques

Valuable possessions, like art, jewelry, and antiques or collectibles require special insurance coverage.

Typically, a basic homeowners or renters policy has limitations when it comes to protecting antiques. A standard policy has limits that typically cover $1,000 for jewelry, watches and fur coats. And that $1,000 worth of insurance is the coverage for an entire claim, not for a single item.

In my work appraising objects, many clients are not fully covered for the value of their art or antiques. In my experience, a good set of antique china, a collection of comic books or grandma’s silverware is easily worth more than $1,000.

And, if you don’t have the correct coverage, you are out of luck.

There are two ways to get coverage for art, antiques, jewelry and other specific valuables and the cost for that insurance is not expensive as some uninformed folks are led to believe.
One way to get more coverage is to buy something called an endorsement that will upgrade your existing policy. An endorsement to a homeowner’s policy might give you something like $5,000 or $10,000 of protection for jewelry and some coverage for antiques, too. It all depends. If you have questions, ask your insurance agent.
For valuable art, antiques, and collectibles, you need to schedule these valuables and purchase a rider, often called an “all risks rider”.

An all risks rider is what it sounds like. It covers all risks. Such a rider to your existing policy covers everything that might happen and considers all conditions for a loss.
The good news is that there are no deductibles on scheduled items. If the item, like a work of art or a diamond ring, is stolen, lost or destroyed, you don’t pay a deductible to get paid from the insurance company for a claim. You get a full payout of the amount it was appraised for. The cost for such insurance is nominal and it is determined by the value of the piece reflected on an appraisal.  
You don’t need some special insurance company to cover art, antiques, or collectibles either. Typically, your own homeowner’s insurance company can supply you with an all risks rider. It’s easy.

To protect your valuables with an all risks rider, you will need a written appraisal from an expert — not just any appraiser but one that meets the standards set forth by the insurance companies - who is qualified to produce such a document for your insurance company. The appraiser provides the written document which gives the insurance company information necessary for the piece or pieces to be covered such as identification, condition, age and an evaluation of the market and replacement value for such a piece.

Insurance appraisals that I prepare for clients also include digital images of the art or antiques and any distinguishing marks and areas of damage or wear.  I advise clients to reconsider and reappraise valuables (art, antiques, jewelry, furs, etc.) every three years and/or when you have a significant change in your life like a home relocation, marriage, new baby, etc.

If you think you may need an insurance policy upgrade, start by evaluating your precious objects and family heirlooms. You never know what valuables you might discover in your own home.
Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori presents antique appraisal events nationwide. Dr. Lori is the expert appraiser on the hit TV show, Auction Kings on Discovery channel.  Learn more at www.DrLoriV.com, www.Facebook.com/DoctorLori or call (888) 431-1010.


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