How To Insure a Museum

There are two broad types of insurance under which museums should be covered.

Liability Insurance for A Museum

There is liability insurance, for property damage and for personal injury.  In part, this protects the museum from lawsuits should the patrons of a museum exhibit incur injury of any type while on the premises. The amount of the liability policy coverage is determined by the contents of the museum, the museum's interior and exterior condition and any other potentially hazardous conditions that might cause injury or death.  This may also include a rider for structural fire, flood or wind damage, or separate policies for these can be arranged.

Risk Management Museum Insurance

Another type of museum insurance protects the museum inventory, displays, artwork, equipment and artifacts from damage from deterioration from public patronage as well as from theft.  This type of museum insurance insures the contents of the museum.  A complete inventory list, as well as the approximate value of each item contained in the museum may be required. This is the most common museum inventory insurance that protects the assets of the museum and all its contents, and is sometimes referred to as Fine Arts Risk Management.  It is especially useful for museums with traveling exhibits.  Be sure to ask about insurance for employees who travel with museum exhibits.

The Objective of Insuring a Museum

The main objective insuring a museum is to have a broad knowledge of the types of insurances that most relate to the particular museum and its inventory.  This can be found at a number of online museum services websites, as well as from your local insurance representatives.  Special museum collections of the greatest value may require insurance above and beyond the normal property or Fine Arts Risk Management insurance.  Maintaining a historical museum which also is listed as a state or national historic site may include a separate type of property insurance, or at the very least a policy which includes historic restoration if damage to the structure's integrity occurs.  Restorations can be very expensive if this is not part of the museum's normal operational procedure for historical artifacts and structures. It's important to shop around before choosing a specific museum insurance vendor.  It may be a good idea to check with other museums to acquire a few recommendations.  A referral from a museum with similar historical, artifacts or antiquities may be more reliable a source for particular museum insurance than simply calling your local insurance agent. 

Remember, you will probably need several insurance policies to cover every eventuality.  One unilateral policy may not cover all insurance needs. 


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