| Sheila Howell
Whether you're a homeowner, a collector or an antique dealer, if you have valuable or rare antiques you need to protect their value against damage or theft. People who inherit valuable antiques may not know the marketplace value of their pieces and should take steps to protect their property. Antique dealers and collectors know their investment in their inventory but may not know the replacement value of their pieces. As a homeowner with antiques in my home and an antique dealer, protecting the value and safety of my personal treasures and inventory is important to me.
How to Insure Antiques
For homeowners and renters, personal property is covered under your homeowner's or renter's insurance. However, personal property insurance policies have a cap that limits the dollar amount of goods covered. If your antiques exceed that value, you likely need more insurance. Antique furniture, art and jewelry can easily exceed that cap. For dealers and collectors, you may want to consult an insurer who specializes in high-value items or arts and antiques.
An inventory should include a detailed description, value and photo of each piece in your collection. Ideally include the provenance: who made the piece, where it is from and when you acquired it.
Different types of insurers require different types of appraisals, so make sure the appraisal you get meets the documentation requirements of your insurance company. A qualified professional appraiser will provide a written description and valuation of your antique.
If your antiques are valuable, protect them from damage or theft:
- Install a security system or adequate protection such as a safe or lockbox
- Make sure the location where your antiques are stored is sunlight and climate controlled
- Display antiques so they are not easily damaged by family members or foot traffic
Inform your insurer when you add new antiques to your personal or business inventory. Ask your insurer if you have a grace period after purchasing a new piece before you submit your valuation to your insurer so that your new purchase is insured during the interim.
The price of valuable antiques can skyrocket - or the market can fall apart. To make sure that your antiques have adequate valuation and coverage, and that you're not overpaying to ensure pieces that have lost market value, conduct an annual audit of your inventory and update your insurance policy to reflect your current appraisals, not last year's or 5 years ago's appraisals.
Special Insurance Issues for Antique Dealers
Antique dealers have special insurance concerns that don't apply to individuals, and should consult their insurance agent. Some insurers provide "inland marine insurance." Wealth Management says:
Inland marine insurance coverage means they cover all types of losses -- excluding acts of war, nuclear attack or government confiscation. These companies have professional art appraisers and experts on staff to offer advice on how to maintain, store, safeguard and ship collections.
- Do you buy antiques from a wholesaler and ship them to your dealership? Does your insurance policy cover purchases before you take possession?
- Do you source antiques overseas? Are your purchases covered if they are damaged overseas?
- Do you need specific documentation from the seller of high-value antiques?
- Do you move your inventory to sell at antique shows or fairs?
- Do you use a 3rd party to ship or move your antiques to shows or to a buyer?
- Does your policy cover in-store breakage by a customer?
- Does your insurance policy have specific security requirements such as alarms?
Protecting your emotional and financial investment in valuable antiques includes that you ensure they are properly insured and documented. Whether you simply love the patina and history that antiques bring to your home, or you make your living buying and selling antiques, adequate and complete insurance of your antique collection is important to safeguard your investment.
European Finds has beautiful antique furniture styles from France, Italy, England, Belgium and Holland - our selection includes gorgeous European antiques from every corner of the Continent. Some are extremely rare, others less so, but all are historic, authentic survivors from a bygone era, and will make lovely additions to your home or office.
Note: Our inventory is always changing, so be sure to check back frequently for our latest additions!