When was the last time you reviewed your insurance policy?
Ok so maybe we are starting to sound like an advert for insurance, and Why is a photography studio writing an article about insurance anyway? Well, when the house is burning down the the first thing people often think to save is their photos.
Our studio focusses on creating custom art pieces for the homes of our clients, so we were quite shocked to find that there was a massive variation in whether those artworks were covered by our clients home insurance or not. We found that often artworks had to be noted on the policy and insured for a specified value to be fully covered.
In October 2013 the Insurance Council of Australia published a study into underinsurance in Australia. Over 900 people were surveyed and the results showed that 83% of them would not be fully insured in the event of a crisis. 1/4 of people are not sure exactly what is covered by their insurance, almost 50% didn't consider the exclusions in their policy, and 39% do not update their insurance when they purchase a new asset.
We did a little bit of research by calling around a few of the largest home and contents insurers in Australia. We found that some had some quite generous automatic inclusions for artwork, and some had a very low limit.
Out of the companies we contacted, HBF and YOUI stood out from the rest.
HBF automatically covers artworks up to $20 000, and YOUI automatically covers artworks up to $15 000 each, without them needing to be individually specified on the policy.
Allianz & QBE are in the middle, automatically covering a single item or set up to $5000 without the need for the artwork to be specified.
Some of the others lagged well behind with the value that they would automatically cover.
For RAC (Western Australia), artworks are covered up to $2000 per item or set and AAMI only automatically covers artworks up to $1000, above which they must be specified on the policy and a higher limit set.
Here is the example taken from the Allianz PDS:
"If you have a painting in your building that is valued at $5,000, you would need to ask us to increase the limit, and we must agree, in order for it to be covered for the value of $5,000, otherwise, in the event of a claim we will only pay $1,000 for that painting,"
So it is not all bad news if you are insured with one of the insurers that don't have an automatic high limit per item.
We found that there was generally no additional cost on the policy by specifying, or listing the items and their value. The insurers we spoke to, just wanted to know what the artworks were, their sizes and replacement costs so they could be noted on the policy.
It is worth mentioning that even if you are with a company that has a high limit per item, we still suggest checking that the overall amount you are insured for doesn't need to be reviewed after the addition of your beautiful photos to your home.
As a general rule we always encourage our clients to contact their insurance company and inform them of the purchase of their artworks.
We hope that this information is helpful, and that you never need to claim on insurance for your beautiful photographic artworks.
The information provided in this article is of a general nature. The coverage of individual insurance companies and their policies may change, and that you must carefully read your own PDS before making a decision about insuring your artworks.