Saturday, January 19, 2008

CYA - Cover Your Arts

By William Ernest Waites and Susanne Waites

As collectors, we tend to gather our treasures bit by bit. Before we know it, we have a substantial amount of money invested in our objects d'art.

In the frenzy of collecting, or the excitement of a new acquisition, we often forget to protect that investment.

We're talking keeping an inventory and insuring your collection.

Let's talk insurance first.

No, the probability is that your home owner's insurance does not cover your collection. Even if it does, it probably covers just a limited portion of it.

We occasionally hear complaints from people who have trouble finding an insurance company that does cover art and collectibles.

We recently learned of a company that claims to specialize in such insurance.

Collectibles Insurance Services, LLC, is their name. We have never used them and therefore have no recommendations pro or con about them, their policies or their service. They do have a web site ( and it would make sense to check them out.

One of the statements they make on their web site is that appraisals are unnecessary, so you do not need to have an inventory before insuring. They recommend, however, that you maintain an inventory, complete with photos in order to expedite your claim in the event of a loss.

We would add that an inventory will help you keep track of what you own, what you paid for it, where you acquired it and when it came into your possession. Not only will it help in the event of a loss but it also will be helpful in keeping track of your "net worth." Should something happen to you, you will want your heirs to have this information.

We have seen cases where heirs inherited collections of items about which they knew nothing. Not withstanding the hours of loving time that may have gone into the collection, the entire inheritance may end up in a garage sale. Remember the last time you picked up a steal on an item at an estate sale that you knew the value of but that the seller did not?

Our advice? Create an inventory and insure your collection.

By the way, if you are recording your collection photographically, we recommend that you do it in a moving video instead of, our in addition to, still photography. One of our friends in the disaster clean-up business warns that insurance companies are very familiar with what can be done with photoshop. The often challenge the authenticity of still photographs.

Finally, if you know of other insurance companies that cover collectibles and fine arts outside of normal homeowner's policies, please add that information to the blog through a comment.
Tribal Artery is brought to you by Susanne Waites and William Ernest Waites in a continuing effort to inform lovers and collectors of tribal art. William and Susanne are the proprietors of four web sites that feature quality tribal art, including,, and Thank you for the time you have spent with us.

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