SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2021
TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR COLLECTIONS
From the rare piece of artistic expression, to the finely crafted piece of jewelry – and most everything in between – a Personal Articles policy can provides high-quality insurance protection for your precious personal collections. Help keep your collections safe from harm by taking time to properly clean, preserve and care for your personal property. Your Anders, Ireland & Marshall agent and Cincinnati's risk management representatives can guide you and offer recommendations for leading service providers.
You've put considerable time, money and effort into building your collection, and you want to preserve the condition of the special items you've acquired. Care for your collection and:
- maintain a current detailed inventory. Include photographs to document the condition of each item and store updated documentation in a secure, secondary location such as a safe deposit box. Be sure to list the artist or maker, title, date, type of object, materials used, value and any inscriptions or markings on each object.
- install a centrally monitored fire and burglar alarm system.
- store art work or other valuable objects in places other than your basement or attic. These areas of your home are vulnerable to flooding, leaks and dramatic temperature changes.
- do not hang objects behind doors, in narrow hallways or in close proximity to furniture or shelving. Avoid hanging artwork or other valuable objects near working fireplaces or other heat sources.
- display fragile objects behind glass or secured to surfaces by nondamaging adhesives or mounts.
- fasten in place any shelves in display cases and anchor display cases properly to the wall.
- keep artwork out of direct sunlight to avoid ultraviolet damage.
- maintain a controlled house temperature and humidity level to prevent damage.
- hire a professional art handler for packing, shipping and installation.
Providing household employees with simple instructions will help to protect your collection from damage. Identify the items within your home that are fragile, require special cleaning or should never be touched without prior instruction from you. Instruct your staff to:
- pick up objects at their strongest points and always use two hands.
- report to you when something is damaged.
- use conservator-approved cleaning solutions on works of art.
- move any fragile or vulnerable objects from the work area and all access routes if hiring repair or renovation companies.
- display light-sensitive objects such as photographs or works on paper or canvas away from direct sunlight, where they are likely to fade.
- maintain a mulch bed or other barrier around any outdoor sculptures to keep them clear of lawn equipment.
- cover outdoor artwork with plastic when lawn chemicals are sprayed.
- request assistance when moving furniture.
From the antique piece handed down from generation to generation to the celebratory anniversary gift, your jewelry is very personal to you. When preserving and protecting your jewelry from theft or damage:
- return your jewelry to a clean, protected location, such as a jewelry box when not being worn.
- store jewelry in separated compartments to prevent scratches or chips.
- install a secured safe within your home for your most precious jewelry items or keep them in a bank vault.
- have your jewelry professionally cleaned and inspected routinely.
- examine the condition of each item regularly.
- have your jewelry re-appraised on a regular basis.
When traveling with your jewelry, consider:
- photographing all of the jewelry you plan to take.
- keeping expensive items with you at all times or in a locked safe or vault that is supervised by hotel management.
- packing jewelry in a carry-on bag as opposed to checked luggage.
When you acquire a new piece for your collection or start a new collection, the value of the object can be assessed by an appraisal. When hiring an appraiser:
- obtain a recommendation from a dependable source such as your independent insurance agent, a museum professional, fine art dealer, auction house or another collector. You can also contact one of the three professional appraisal organizations: Appraisers Association of America, American Society of Appraisers or International Society of Appraisers.
- ask for the appraiser's curriculum vitae to review their level of experience.
- evaluate your collection and its specific needs. Is the collection a mixture of various types of objects? Depending on the items in your collection, it may require an appraiser with different specialties and expertise.
- ask if the appraisal you will receive meets the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice.
- ask for a sample appraisal if it is the first time you are employing an appraiser.
- request an explanation of the fee structure. Fees should never be based on commission or tied to the value of the appraised items.
As the owner of a respected collection, you may be asked to loan an object or objects to a museum for an upcoming exhibition. Before you agree to a loan, consider:
Typically, the borrowing museum is responsible for all aspects of the loan and associated costs, including insurance. The museum should provide wall-to-wall insurance, that is, from the time the work is taken from your wall, during transit, throughout the exhibition and until the work is returned to you. Consult with your independent insurance agent or broker to make sure proper insurance coverage is in place.
- The Museum
Museum standards in the United States differ greatly from international museums. The American Alliance of Museums sets standards for U.S. accreditation, while the International Council of Museums sets standards and guidelines for international museums. Make certain the museum you are considering is properly accredited.
- Museum Security
Request a facility report from the museum to evaluate the security and protection at the museum. If there is more than one venue for the exhibit, get a facility report for each venue.
An up-to-date, independent appraisal to establish the value at the time of the loan will help ensure the appropriate amount of insurance is in place in the event of loss or damage to your object.
- Packing and Shipping
Confirm the museum’s procedure regarding packing and shipping. If the work is part of a traveling exhibit, obtain details about each individual trip. All specific handling instructions should be included in the loan agreement. This may extend to details concerning installation. Have a detailed condition report completed before lending, following each transit, after the loan and upon return to you.
- Storage Facility
If any loaned objects will be held temporarily at a storage facility, obtain details regarding the type of facility, how long they will be stored there and all climate, fire and security protection for this location.
Consider choosing a specialty fine art packer and shipper with a solid reputation and experience in handling high-valued objects. Referrals can be obtained through professionals such as your independent insurance agent, conservators, auction houses, dealers, museums or other collectors. Proper packing and shipping is the best way to ensure the safety of your collection:
- create an inventory of the items to be shipped, and provide a copy to the shipper and person who will receive the shipment.
- determine what the appropriate packing materials are. This usually depends on the type of item to be shipped and the duration of the shipment.
- avoid local moving companies or common carriers. They are not experienced in handling high-valued items.
- create a condition report of the items prior to packing and immediately upon its arrival. If you find any damage, this will allow you to know when it occurred.
- use vehicles that are climate controlled, equipped with GPS, alarms and air-ride suspension.
- confirm if third-party shippers or other subcontractors will be involved in shipping. If so, make sure the third party has the same standards and procedures in place.
- use companies that have dual drivers for each vehicle.
Our tips are advisory in nature and are provided for informational purposes only. We assume no responsibility for management or control of customer loss control activities or for implementation of recommended corrective measures. These materials were gathered from trade services and public information. We have not tried to identify all exposures. We do not warrant that this information is consistent with Cincinnati underwriting guidelines or with any federal, state or local law, regulation or ordinance.
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