Insurance cannot replace one-of-a-kind items, so take steps to protect them now
Although you have health and auto insurance, you still try to take care of your health and drive safely, right? Those policies will pay medical expenses or fix a dented fender, minus a deductible, but wouldn’t you rather not get sick or not have a car wreck? Of course, you wouldn’t.
The same goes for damage to your fine art, collectibles, expensive furniture, and other unique personal items. You want to look at your beautiful things, not at an insurance check. Sadly, many people don’t think to protect those types of items like they do their health or car.
The first step to take is confirming exactly what is covered by your current homeowner’s policy. Most standard policies, for example, either limit coverage or do not cover expensive art assets. However, supplemental policies are available from a number of carriers to extend coverage to items such as jewelry, paintings, sculptures, furs, silverware, and other collectibles against breakage, damage, and loss.
Provisions in those policies also allow owners to add pieces to their collections if they choose and can even raise coverage levels automatically to adjust for inflation.
Wooden furniture and picture frames, in particular, absorb moisture in high humidity causing their finishes to flake or detach from the subsurface.
- What can you do to protect your valuables? Here are several basic precautions you can take that could save your assets from damage:
- Turn off lights and draw curtains or shades against bright sunlight in the room where your items are to ensure a cool environment. The sun’s ultraviolet rays are particularly harmful to paper, textiles, and photographs and will cause those items to fade or change colors.
- Maintain a constant temperature in that room of between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and keep its relative humidity between 55% and 65%.
- Never completely shut off air conditioning/heating systems. Fluctuations in temperature cause expansion and contraction that can loosen the joints of wooden antiques.
- Likewise, choose a storage location for your valuables that does not experience significant temperature fluctuations, such as those common in a basement or attic. Those areas are also more prone to floods and leaks, which can ruin your possessions. If possible, create a “safe” closet where your art items can be stored; one in which it is easier to control and maintain the environment.
- Frame your paintings using museum-quality materials. If possible, get this done by a professional.
- Store paintings in a vertical position with the back of one facing the front of the next. Wrap the entire picture and frame in dry packing paper that will absorb humidity before it reaches your asset.
- Finally, check out the water sensors available at your local home improvement center. Placed above, near or over, as appropriate, the potential sources of water leakage in your home, such as under washers, refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioner condensers, to alert you to leaks before they can damage your valuables.
For more information about protecting your treasured collectibles and artwork, or to schedule a review of your fine arts insurance coverage, contact your Nahai Insurance professional.