Wednesday, March 07, 2012

POLL: Do you insure your art and art business?

March's Making A Mark Poll enquires into your insurance of your art and art business?  Specifically it asks What aspects of your art and art business do you insure?

I've been wondering whether artists insure everything they need to.  Given the size and scope of art studios, the nature of art materials and equipment we all use and the extent to which artwork moves in and out of the studio on its way to galleries and exhibitions, it makes me wonder if artists insure all they need to or whether they insure for the minimum they have to or just fail to make any adequate provision for insurance because it's all too complicated and/or too expensive.

In recent times I've know four artists lose their entire studios due to fire or tornados.  It makes me wonder whether any of us might experience a similar catastrophic incident and live to regret failing to insure properly.

Madame Losse Hessel in Vuillard's Studio (1915) by Edouard Vuillard
What aspects of your art and art business do you insure?

The poll asks What aspects of your art and art business do you insure? This is a poll which allows multiple responses.  Please indicate all the options that apply to you.

The options available are:
  • artwork at all times
  • artwork in galleries/exhibitions
  • stock of art materials
  • art tools and equipment
  • art studio (household)
  • art studio (business)
  • legal liabilities re artistic practice
  • employers liability
  • product liability
  • public liability
You can find the poll in the right hand column - just underneath to the "blog rank in art" flame.

The poll closes on 30th March and an analysis of the results will be produced soon after.

I'm very interested to hear about:
  • any difficulties that artists have encountered in insuring their risks
    • in the studio
    • in the gallery/exhibition
    • re. workshops/classes
  • any tips artists can pass on as to 
    • how to minimise and/or manage risk and/or 
    • reduce the costs of insuring your artwork, art materials and equipment and art studio.
I've developed a resource (see below) to preserve useful bookmarks to insurance sites where insurance for artists and artwork can be obtained plus tips from artists.  Insurance sites are separated by country. 

Other resources for artists

This poll and post relate to previous blog posts and resources for artists that I have developed.

Insurance for artists:
  • Making A Mark - Insurance for Artists - can you help? (18th February 2012)
  • Artists' Insurance - Resources for Artists (website) 
  • UPDATE 2016: Insurance for Art and Artists 
    • Do you need insurance for your art or artist's studio? 
    • Are you planning an art class and need insurance for public liability? 
    • Do want to find out more about insurance for artists? 
    • Do you need insurance cover for an art collection - but haven't got a clue where to start looking? 
    • This site aims to assemble links to all current relevant resources on the Internet - and then organise them by country. It's also aiming to crowd-source recommendations about different insurers - and which to avoid.
Risk analysis and management for artists:


  1. I know I fail on this one. :( I need to rejoin SAA for exhibition insurance and get the insurance from A-N for my studio. (I do have their 3rd party liability insurance printed out.) On the positive side, I did finally write a will this past year for the absolute worst case scenario - so the original works and copyrights go to the people I want to have them (or who I know can manage them).

    There was a small fire at our studio building the first year we were here. Quite a bit of water damage was done but fortunately nothing un-fixable. Which leads to a related question: do artists have smoke alarms and sprinkler systems in their studios too?

    1. There is an argument that water damages more than fire! It's a good point though

      The link to the a-n The Artists Information Company Artists Insurance Policy is on my new resource site. You might want to look at the comparison between SAA and the four options for insurance provided by a-n

      Have you tried doing a risk analysis and assessing the impact of different things happening? It's very educational.......

  2. Great idea for a survey! Another insurance question I would be interested in the survey results of is: how many artists insure their art during shipping (to and from galleries, to collectors, etc.).

    Katherine, I think you must have stirred the pot on the Pinterest topic, as I saw today that both Etsy (on their Sellers Assisting Sellers blog) and LinkedIn (School of Visual Arts Alumni discussion) are raising similar discussions to your earlier posted concerns about it.

  3. I insure only when I ship something, which doesn't really come in any of your categories but has also been mentioned in Mona's comment.

  4. I should maybe have included shipping - but was assuming people would either include it under artwork (ie cost of sale) or exhibitions (ie cost of getting artwork to gallery)

  5. oh definitely true! I should have clarified - sprinkler the water damage was to the business downstairs of us (a food company) rather than to the artist's studio so much. Fairly sure everyone's insurance covered it in one way or another. :) Better some water loss than building loss though, we figure.

    As for shipping - speaking from the gallery point of view it surprises me when an artist doesn't insure shipped items. Strangely in my experience it seems to be mostly artists who ship with glass, so those who have the most risk of damage from the start.

  6. SAA's theft cover "is subject to actual forcible and/or violent entry being evident", there must be "full time security during the day", and you only get 50% of selling price. :-(

    FWIW Diectline business insurance has a liability/home studio policy that covers some aspects of what we need.

  7. Many thanks Marion - that's very interesting to know. Looks like I need to go and study some of those policies!

  8. Have I mentioned the artist I know who had his entire exhibition removed from a cafe. There was nobody guarding the images and they weren't fastened to the wall.

    The reason why galleries screw pictures to walls is to avoid casual theft - which is a lot more prevalent than maybe people realise.


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