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How to Insure and Package a Painting for Transit?

By: Catherine Burrows - Updated: 18 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
How To Insure And Package A Painting For Transit?

Q.

I am an artist in the UK and I have just finished a painting for an American client and I want to send it over to him.

The cost of the painting is £7000 and I would like to insure it before I send it over. I wonder if you could tell me :

  1. How do I find companies that will insure it for me while it is in transit ?
  2. How much should I insure it for?
  3. How can I package it to keep it safe?
(A.T, 10 February 2009)

A.

Damage to paintings in transit is a very real threat. Proper packaging and adequate insurance are essential.

The safest option is to approach a professional removal company. Don’t make the mistake of using a general removals firm, though. Specialist companies offer a complete package which includes checking and recording the condition of the art at dispatch and delivery, packaging, transport and even security.

Packaging

It’s easy to package the painting yourself with a few simple materials.

If your painting is fairly small and unframed, wrap it in acid-free tissue paper and place it against a sturdy board base. Securely protect the item with layers of corrugated card and wrap securely or place within a hard backed envelope.

For larger, framed items or canvasses, remember the corners will be the most vulnerable points. Use cardboard corner protectors and wrap the item with bubble wrap. Try double-walled packaging or mirror boxes available for mailing. Make sure you fill any spaces or pockets with air bags or packing chips.

Never use cardboard rolls! They may cause accidental creasing or pigment damage.

Insurance

Insuring your art offers protection and peace of mind. Make sure you have a current valuation of the painting and documentary evidence.

If you’re using an art shipping company, they usually offer insurance. Check the sums match the value of your painting.

To insure the painting independently, you need to select a policy which specifically covers art in transit. It must cover all eventualities when the painting’s safety and security is out of your control.

Don’t use a household insurer for art transit insurance. Most policies have single item limits on value which may exclude your precious item. Also, it is unlikely they will cover restoration or repair following transport damage.

The issue of insuring paintings is complex. Some art is priceless and therefore technically uninsurable. Also, a monetary value often doesn’t reflect a painting’s worth. The best insurance is via a specialist insurer who can offer reassurance and a professional, bespoke service.

Time spent researching the best insurance and packing your painting appropriately is time well spent. Specific company information is easy to find via the Internet, art galleries or dealers.

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