You’ve taken care building your collection, now make sure you take care of it for the future.
The complexities of managing one’s personal property assets tends to increase as your wealth grows. Many of those either inheriting or creating wealth have collections of personal property assets that need special care and attention. One of the elements of this challenge is what to insure. We won’t delve into the most suitable recommendation for coverage; that choice is best left to you and your insurance broker. However, the facets that pertain to the value of your items, as well as how frequently these values should be updated, are important aspects of good stewardship of your collectible property.
Your insurance broker–assuming they are being responsible to you and your interests–will be pestering you for an insurance appraisal of those items you wish to separately itemize and insure beyond the standard coverage offered under a Homeowner’s Insurance Policy. On the surface, this appears to be a nuisance item. The reality is, though, that an appraisal is a living, breathing document that needs to be updated at regular intervals. It establishes replacement values for those items and if updated at the appropriate interims, protects you from being ‘under’ or ‘over’ insured.
Frequency varies between ‘Types of Collectible Property.’ For instance, jewelry should probably be reviewed every 12–18 months. For furniture, you can likely review these every 3–5 years. For art, you should be very cautious as there are many ‘segments’ of art that require a different frequency of valuation. For Old Master and European paintings, you can probably look at a 2–5 year window between reviews. For Impressionist works, you will likely have to distinguish between American and European, as each have a ‘shelf life’ with respect to value updates. Modern & Contemporary Art should likely be reviewed every 12–24 months. Automobiles are also segmented as to collecting interest/value and will require specialized knowledge of the various segments and the timing of updating insurance values.
In the end, make sure to consult with a knowledgeable appraiser. The appraiser should know and understand their own limitations as well as being able to guide you in the selection of an appraiser with specialized knowledge, if required. It is recommended that an appraiser be engaged who is either an accredited or certified member of either Appraisers Association of America (AAA), The International Society of Appraisers (ISA) or the American Society of Appraisers (ASA). If an appraiser is a member of one of these organizations, they are considered a “qualified appraiser” which is a designation the IRS favors. To join these organizations sample reports for different appraisal needs are reviewed and approved; educational standards must be met; and each candidate must have completed and passed a course on the Uniform Standards of Appraisal Practice (USPAP). To select an appraiser from one of these organizations assures clients that the report will reliable, trustworthy and of quality.