The Art of Transporting Art Collections

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Transporting art collections can be a significant risk if these valuable pieces are not properly protected, cared for, stored, and shipped. In 2017, a Gerhard Richter work was allegedly damaged during its cross-country Delta Flight. The insurance company is now suing the airline on behalf of Christie’s for $2.6 million worth of damages. Understanding the risks during transportation and having the appropriate resources to lessen those risks are the first steps to ensuring your collections arrive at their destination in the same condition as they left.

1. Sterling Coverage provides resources when you need them for collections management. Check your existing insurance policy to be sure that you have adequate insurance coverage.

We partner with carriers that know how to take care of what you are passionate about. Many of our premier insurance carriers provide worldwide protection for scheduled collections coverage and some provide coverage for items in transit or on loan for exhibit. It is important to check the fine print in your policy to see if you have any coverage limitations or exclusions while artwork is being shipped. Standard homeowners policies have limitations for certain valuables, where art work may be subject to depreciation or require a deductible before coverage will respond.  We recommend scheduling your collections, or at least obtaining blanket coverage for your favorite pieces.

2. Consult a conservator for packing recommendations and obtain itemized written estimates ahead of booking shipments.

Conservators can provide important packing recommendations customized to the art collection that you are shipping. They will also provide advice for optimal shipment methods and length of trips. Written estimates are also very important to obtain, along with a copy of the bill of lading.

3. Choose a reputable art shipper that specializes in transporting collections. Fine art packing companies should be a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Certified Cargo Screening Facility to avoid open crates and disturbing artwork for security screening.

Many insurance claims are the result of improper packing or handling during the transportation process. Working with a reputable art shipper will help provide advice and recommendations ahead of transporting your art collection. Handlers should also provide condition reports with photos before and after the collection is packed for transit, to ensure no damage during transportation.  Transportation by truck should include multiple drivers, climate control, alarm systems, and GPS tracking capabilities. It is also important to verify whether shippers will be using third parties or any temporary storage locations during transit.

Transporting art collections can be a tricky process, but we can help provide resources along the way. If you are interested in a complimentary insurance review to ensure that your collections are properly protected, please reach out to a trusted advisor at Sterling Coverage.