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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Artwork, Paintings, And Sculptures?

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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Artwork, Paintings, And Sculptures?
A living room full of valuable artwork by @iamjensrb via Unsplash

Artwork can be expensive and insuring it can be difficult with many pitfalls and choices. That original canvas painting that is worth upwards of $5,000 might not be fully covered for replacement. Your homeowners insurance will cover you up to a certain point but once you exceed that repair cost, you’re on your own. Knowing how much your artwork is covered for and what steps you can take to make sure that you are properly protected is pivotal.

Your homeowners insurance policy might offer you a large amount for personal property protection, but that amount it cumulative and does not count for certain items. Your coverage for single item damage may be significantly lower. Knowing your insurance policy and what coverage limits exist can help save you the stress and hassle of filing a claim on damaged artwork that will ultimately be denied.

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There are options out there for you to pursue if you find yourself and your artwork not properly protected by your homeowners insurance. Scheduling an item will help with single item costs and coverage and allow you to more properly protect your paintings and sculptures.

Limits on your coverage

Your homeowners insurance policy places a limit on the amount they are willing to pay out for repairs and replacement. Most insurance companies will offer both a dwelling and personal property insurance. The personal property coverage limit will be anywhere up to 50% of your dwelling maximum and could be even lower if your artwork is stored in a storage unit.

This means that if your homeowners insurance covers your home for $300,000, your personal property could be protected up to $150,000. This number might seem like enough and if your artwork is worth $50,000 you might feel fully covered. Your homeowners insurance places a different limit on single item coverage, however, meaning you might not be fully covered.

Most insurance companies offer a significantly lower coverage limit for single items. Where your total belongings coverage might protect you for $150,000, a single item being damaged may be limited to $2,500 in coverage. A group of items in the same category that are damaged will have a different policy called a category limit. This is typically double the single item limit.

Your insurance company places limits depending on which policy you purchase, and your artwork might not be fully covered. Knowing your personal belongings coverage limits is important but you also should be aware of your single item coverage. Check your policy or speak with your insurance agent to fully inform yourself and prepare for disaster coverage for your artwork.

Risks that are covered

Your homeowners insurance will cover your artwork from the same risks that your dwelling will be protected from. Most homeowners insurance policies will protect you from any risk that is not specifically excluded from the fine print. Risks like flood damage and windstorms are the most common exclusions from an average homeowners policy.

Some risks that are covered include:

  • Fire – If your home burns down during a fire and your artwork is destroyed, your insurance may cover you if the cost does not exceed the coverage limits.
  • Lightning – Strikes are rare, but they do happen and can cause a heap of damage. Your artwork and sculptures will be protected from the risk of lightning.
  • Theft – If your paintings and artwork are stolen, you will need to file a police report before your insurance company will process your claim.
  • Debris – Any fallen branches or other forms of debris can cause damage to your home and in turn damage to your belongings. If the cost does not exceed the limit, you will be covered.
  • Vandalism – Much like theft, you must file a police report along with your insurance claim before you will be covered for replacement.

Scheduled item coverage

There are a lot of gaps in your basic coverage policy leaving you unprotected and uninsured from certain risks. Finding the right insurance that will fully cover your artwork can be difficult but there are options out there. The best and most common choice it to schedule a specific item. What this means is purchasing a specific coverage policy for the painting you want to insure rather than a broad “artwork” insurance.

By scheduling your artwork, you are enabling it to be replaced for its full value rather than the coverage limit your insurance company places on your policy. For that $50,000 painting that was lost in a fire, you will now be fully covered for replacement if you purchased a scheduled item policy on it. You can either add your scheduled item on to your homeowners insurance policy or create a separate policy for this item. When filing a claim under the second option, you cannot file both the scheduled item claim and the homeowners claim at the same time.

Artwork is invaluable and precious but difficult to protect. Your insurance policy might not fully cover you from damages but there are options out there! Speak with your insurance agent to find out more and to develop a policy that best suits you.​​

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