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Ask an Expert: I own art that's gone way up in value. How much will it cost to insure?

By Virginia K. Smith | June 1, 2015 - 1:59PM 

Q: I bought a few Keith Haring pieces in the 1980s that have since appreciated quite a bit in value. I’d like to get them insured, but it seems like the extra coverage might be more expensive than it’s worth. How much should coverage for artworks cost, and what are my options?

A: The insurance for your art will be a bargain, but you may end up splashing out on the appraisal, say our experts. "Fine art insurance is actually a very good buy," says apartment insurance broker Jeff Schneider of Gotham Brokerage. "The cost is usually about $2 per thousand dollars of value, about half the rate for general contents coverage." 
 
But in order to get your art insured, first you'll need to get it appraised, and that's where things can get pricey—anywhere from a few hundred dollars to two or three percentage of points of your artwork's total value, says Schneider.
 
To bypass the extra costs (and the expensive middle men who tend to lurk in the world of appraisals), your best bet is to seek out an appraisal from the dealer who sold the pieces to you. "They'll typically write something up for you without charge or for a nominal fee," says Schneider. Failing that, you can either take your works to an auction house (generally the more expensive option), or to the dealer that currently represents the artist—in the case of your Keith Haring works, that's New York's Gladstone Gallery.
 
If the market for your artwork significantly improves, you might want to get a re-appraisal—and the appropriate amount of insurance—every couple of years. "If you submit an appraisal for $18,000, that's what you're getting back if the artwork is destroyed," Schneider explains. "If the value has gone flying up, it behooves you to get the item re-appraised periodically. You really have to sort of stay on top of these values."
 

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