If you’re like many artists, you may not have considered buying insurance coverage for your studio, supplies and artwork. But should you? If you can’t afford to replace these items out of pocket, then the answer is probably yes. In “Insurance for Artists,” BJ Foreman covers the ins and outs of researching insurance plans, inventorying your studio and purchasing art insurance. You can read an excerpt from the article below, or read the complete article in the 2014 Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market. You can also find it here on Artist’s Market Online.
Keep creating and good luck!
Insurance for Artists: Insuring Your Materials, Equipment, Studio and Artwork by BJ Foreman
What would happen if a water pipe burst above your studio, ruining your work? What if it destroyed a commission for which you’d already received a deposit? What if a tornado, hurricane, earthquake or fire affected your studio or workspace? As an artist—whether you’re a hobbyist, a student or a seasoned pro—you have a place where you make your art, and you purchase expensive art supplies. You probably have a number of finished works in inventory as well. How can you protect your studio, materials and artwork against disaster?
“Most artists don’t think about insurance until after a catastrophe,” says Emily Gray, who heads up the insurance program for a national nonprofit cooperative organization called Fractured Atlas. As part of its mission, Fractured Atlas insures the work of artists, from musicians to visual and performance artists.
Disaster planning is the last thing on most artists’ minds, but just the thought of the possible loss of income—in addition to lawyer fees, relocation expenses and costs for leasing temporary equipment—can be sobering. Unfortunately, this planning isn’t easy; it takes research and legwork to prepare for becoming insured. Thorough record keeping, too, is an ongoing chore necessary for staying properly insured. Then, of course, there’s the actual cost of insurance. The security that insurance brings, though, is worth it all.
Do Your Homework
Fractured Atlas’s Gray suggests that, before making any decisions, you should talk to the agent who insures your home or apartment. You might have some coverage through your renter’s or homeowner’s policy, but usually not enough to cover a catastrophe. Next, research small business insurers and artist-specific insurers. Shop around and get several quotes. Different insurers offer varying packages and pricing.
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Inventory, Inventory, Inventory!
To be properly insured, you must keep accurate inventory records, which is tedious work but crucial. The running list of receipts that you maintain for tax purposes can do double duty for insurance, but specific details are essential. Photograph everything, even your easels, tables, chairs, mirrors and props, down to your paints and brushes. The more detail, the more easily the insurer can replace your equipment with as close a match as possible in the event of a disaster.
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Art as a Business
The key to securing insurance as an artist is in acknowledging that your creative work is actually a business. Craig Nutt is director of programs at Craft Emergency Relief Fund and Artists’ Emergency Resources (see the Artist-Specific Resources sidebar), an organization that administers funds available to professional craft artists when they suffer career-threatening emergencies. Artists ask him if they should even consider their work as a business. “The insurance adjustor’s test is whether you offer goods and services for sale,” he says. “He doesn’t care whether you have a business license or not.”
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So, do the research, shop around and continue to keep an accurate, up-to-date record of your inventory. Treat your artistic enterprise as a business in order to protect your future success as an artist.
BJ Foreman is a freelance writer living in Cincinnati, Ohio.