I wish I had something worth insuring
January 30, 2010 7:58 PM   Subscribe

Watching antiques road show... lady just finds out she has a 350K dollar painting, appraiser says to get it insured ASAP! How much will this cost the lady? I have no paintings, just curious!

So if you have a painting that should be appraised for 100k, or 250k, or 500k... what would it cost to insure that painting? What would the insurance cover? If it was stolen obviously, but what if you somehow ruin the painting? Seems like a lot of liability and it cant be cheap!
posted by outsider to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
"Theft/damage insurance for art, added onto your home insurance, generally costs $1-$2 annually per $1000 of coverage (less if you have a good security system in place)." The appraisal amount (and by extension, the insurance premium) can vary depending upon whether it's for replacement value or current market value or another recognised standard. [pdf]

There's an extension to this, which is the kind of insurance bill that major museums have to pay, or the lawsuit that Steve Wynn filed against his insurers over the Picasso he punctured with his elbow.
posted by holgate at 8:34 PM on January 30, 2010

I can't tell you how much it will cost, but if she already has homeowner's insurance, she just needs to add it to her policy as a specific valuable (i.e. separate from the general "household contents" that are insured as an indistinct group on all homeowner's policies).

For instance, when we applied for our homeowner's policy, our household contents were insured for an amount based on general calculations of what an average household of our size would contain, but we were asked if we had any specific possessions (e.g. artwork, antiques, high-end electronics, etc.) that we wanted insured individually.

We don't have anything of value in that way, but someone who did would need to take pictures of said items and get appraisals from certified appraisers approved by the insurance company. The items would then be insured against fire and theft and the same general things that are included on regular policies. If the owner wanted more detailed coverage (e.g. "what if her grandchildren color on it with magic marker?" then that would have to be written separately and would cost more).
posted by amyms at 8:36 PM on January 30, 2010

Yes, after paying for an official written appraisal by an authorized appraiser ($75 - $200 per hr including research) she needs to buy an insurance rider, or a complete policy just for the item if she doesn't have homeowner's insurance.

It can cost a few dollars per $1000 or a little more.

The appraised value can be for selling the item at retail or at auction, or the replacement value, which is usually padded for market increases. A painting is generally not considered replaceable, so the appraisal value should reflect that as well!

For more info, see the School for Appraisers in Orange County, CA. They give classes and train people to become personal property and fine art appraisers. It's fun!
posted by Jinx of the 2nd Law at 10:50 PM on January 30, 2010

Another thing to note is that people are insuring for replacement value (what it would cost to recreate, replace exactly or in kind). The quoted "worth" of an appraisal could be the cost for replacement, or it could be an auction or sale estimate. Many times the cost to replace is higher, sometimes significantly, than what someone else might pay for it.
posted by qwip at 5:44 AM on January 31, 2010

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