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What is art? Ensuring that you are covered on board your yacht

The news from the recent Southampton and Monaco Boat Shows suggests that the yacht and super yacht industries have had their best year since 2008. Recent figures released by Superyacht UK reveal that their members are reporting an average increase in revenues of 3.9% in 2012/13 compared to a 2.2% contraction in 2011/12.

This article was written for and first featured in Spears

If you are one of those people who have contributed to the recent growth in this industry by purchasing a new yacht, then you will have had to think about insuring your vessel. Obtaining cover for the hull and machinery, crew and P&I cover is relatively straightforward and your broker will have searched the market for the best policies and packages to match your needs.
However, owners do need to take extra precaution and consider whether any artwork or antiques that are kept on board are adequately insured. It is only natural that an owner would want the best furnishings that they can afford displayed in their floating pride and joy, but although yacht insurance policies will usually include provide cover for everyday furnishings, many pieces of art and any antiques that you have on board your yacht may not be covered unless you have insured them separately, or at least declared their value to the underwriters of the yacht insurance.

Valuations on all items that could be considered art or antique should be sought and provided to your broker for disclosure to the underwriters. Therefore, if at a later date there is a dispute as to whether or not an item is covered, the owner will have gone some way to discharging their duty to have disclosed the value of the item to the underwriter.

It does not end there either. The value of artwork and antiques is sensitive to market forces. As such, a regular review of the value of these items on your yacht will be needed, and this information will need to be provided to your broker on renewal to ensure that the underwriters have all available information to calculate the correct premium and cover.

Owners also need to consider how to best keep their artwork safe so to ensure there is not a claim in the first place. Security is paramount and although many super yachts have state-of-the-art security systems, if you are going to be displaying art on board your yacht, it is advisable to have a full review of your security measures. If they are not to the standard required by the policy, then a claim may not be covered.

Environment is also key, especially in the case of paintings. Ensure that they are in a temperature-controlled environment as yachts are often sailing or are moored in humid climates, and be especially aware of sunlight. Deterioration to your artwork caused by sun damage is not likely to be covered by any policy of insurance.

To summarise, if you are displaying or carrying artwork and antiques on your yacht, then check with your broker that the correct cover is in place for such items. If there is any doubt as to whether such arts fall within the definition of “art”, then play it safe and obtain the most up-to-date information as to the value of these items and pass this information on to your broker.

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This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. Please note that the law may have changed since the date of this article.

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