Fine art is the making and study of visual art, says the University of Oxford. That includes a huge range of different artefacts from pictures and paintings, to visually creative furniture design, pieces of renowned antique furniture, stamp collections and a score of other visually stimulating collectibles.
Although the discussion about just what to include in a definition of fine art might rumble on, fine art insurance generally has no such qualms – if it is a piece or collection of valuable artwork, it is likely to need the special protection afforded by specialist fine art insurance.
If you own any fine art
You don’t need to own a whole gallery of masterpieces to have an eye for works of fine art. If you can tell your Rembrandt from your Renoir, you might own just a single fine art painting, in which you invested a substantial sum – and which stands to be appreciating in value year on year, according to Red Rag Gallery.
Investment in contemporary art alone is currently generating an annual return of some 5.6%, says Art Market – making fine art an especially attractive investment.
Your home insurance
You need to be aware of the likely limitations of your standard home contents insurance.
Although you might have arranged for the total contents sum insured to reflect any pieces of fine art you own – and this represents the maximum amount of any pay out by the insurer in the event of a claim – the typical home contents insurance also limits the amount of any claim you make on a single item.
Since that limit on a claim for any single item might be in the typical range of £1,000 to £2,000, it may leave many of your objects of art woefully underinsured. Indeed, given the very high value of many works of fine art, a limit in this range is likely to be totally inadequate.
Fine art insurance
To be certain of the cover you need for any single piece of fine art, or even a whole collection, therefore, you need specialist, purpose designed fine art insurance.
Just as every piece of art is unique, so too does its insurance cover need to be specially tailored to meet its needs. Art valuation is a specialist discipline, but so too is the business of arranging insurance once that valuation has been made.
Fine art insurance occupies a special niche in the wider insurance market and is a product likely to appeal to individuals of high net worth – the collection of fine art is frequently a mark of the wealthy. Therefore, it might also be described as a form of high net worth insurance.
Whether you own a single item of artwork or are building your own collection of precious pieces, skimping on your fine art insurance may prove a costly mistake and one that is likely to leave you seriously out of pocket – on top of the loss of a unique and irreplaceable work of art.