How to Safeguard your Art & Reduce Insurance Premiums

Specialist art valuers and auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull have kindly agreed to us posting their 7 top tips for safeguarding art.

Don’t advertise what you own, or how it is situated and protected in your home. Unlike opportunist house-breakers, art thieves rarely attempt a theft unless they know what’s there and what defences they will be up against.

Keep detailed photographic records of your art, including photographs of the art out of the frame, with close-ups of any distinctive markings or inscriptions. If a stolen object such a map or print is recovered, you will need to prove that it is your copy. Lyon & Turnbull is the second largest provider of independent valuations in the UK, and our valuation documents provide police with the detailed images and descriptions they need to locate possessions and verify them as yours.

Keep records and documents relating to your art and its provenance in a separate place nowhere near your art, preferably in a bank deposit box. Not only is this your proof of ownership, handing these to a thief will make the work much easier to sell on. We can help – our valuations are archived in a secure location and can be quickly made available to the authorities if the worst happens.

Remember a high-tech security system is only as effective as the response it triggers. More effective are ID tags which can be embedded in artworks and can function as part of an alarm system or as GPS-locators. They are also difficult to remove quickly without damaging the art.

There is no reason to be wary of loaning objects from your collection for public exhibitions. Major museum thefts make headlines, but they are rare. Check that the museum will take legal responsibility for the work on loan, and instruct them whether or not you wish to be identified as the lender.

An astonishing number of art thefts are not reported. If something is stolen, go to the police immediately. They will disseminate the information straight away, including photographs of the missing work.

For added security you can list your possessions on the Art Loss Register, preferably before they go missing in order to ensure you have accurately recorded any distinguishing marks. While the police should report the loss to ALR, by doing it yourself you can rest assured the report has been made at the earliest opportunity, and to a high level of detail.

Art and antique insurance are typically classified as ‘low-risk’ by insurers, due to their unique and identifiable nature. By looking to the security of your home and documenting the measures you have taken to avoid damage and theft, insurance companies can often insure art collections with a very high value for a relatively small premium. For more information on art insurance, please contact Paul Macbeth on 0118 9165480 or complete one of our enquiry forms.

Author: Tony Gibbs | January 25th, 2011

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Tony Gibbs
Get in touch:   Reading: 0118 916 5480   London: 020 7036 8767