Art Insurance

Published in mojarto on Dec 28 2016, Written by Divya Gupta
We are a puzzled bunch when it comes to accepting artistic expression. M F Hussain is famously hailed as an Indian painter who has brought global recognition, but then the gallery that has a show of his work in Delhi, amongst others, is asked to shut down by protesters as it depicted women in a form of nude. Lucky for DAG Modern, the gallery that faced this, nothing was damaged and the show went on. Even luckier for them that their “Inventory was insured”, as Kishore Singh, Head of Exhibitions and Publications for the gallery, puts it. This little statement opens up the world of art ‘insurance’- a necessity not only to guard against the unpredictable mind of the mob, but for anyone that has art of a certain value in their homes!

How do I decide whether to insure my art collection or not?
“Value is an obvious criterion, but rarity, historicity, age and other uniqueness too needs to be taken into account. In various ways, they all point back to the creation of value. But as an asset – and make no mistake, art is an asset – the option of insurance comes in instantaneously and in the very beginning itself” Says Singh.  The bummer is that you may not be able to replace single piece original art. But if you get a percentage of the money you spent on it back, you could possibly  commission the artist to do another, if he is alive, willing and has not shot up ten times in value!
Art Insurance
Where do I go?
The concept is fairly new in India and not many companies deal specifically with art insurance. General covers for the house against theft and calamities are common, but to specifically insure artworks either individually or as a collection requires experts who have a knowledge of the art world and a framework in place to settle claims smoothly, should they arise. One such company is Delhi based Securenow Insurance Brokers.
“Getting your art insured is not that difficult anymore, incase you have just a few works you may add them to your home insurance with proper documentation like a valuation certificate or the invoice copy. However, if you are a collector, dealer or a gallery, you should look for a policy specifically designed for you.” Says Divya Gupta, a partner in Securenow. “There is always a minimum amount that is deducted by the insurers while paying a claim, this could range from 25000 to 50000. One must decide after checking the terms and conditions like the deductibles and premium offered by the insurer. In my opinion art for more than 2 Lakh Rupees should be insured.”

How do I ascertain the value?
The fact that art appreciation is subjective, makes insuring it equally subjective!  “ For galleries and dealers where they have a lot of fluctuations and movement in the works with the buying and selling, they can simply provide the maximum value of works with them at any given point of time.” adds Divya,
“For collectors, insurers prefer to get a separate value for every art work. However, if you have a huge collection where getting the works valued itself could cost lakhs, an insurer may accept one figure for the entire collection.”

So think of it as insuring something you hold closely to yourself. Something you look at everyday. Something that brings you a smile as well as a relief in times of question. Quite like yourself?