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Damaged art – insurance claim?

Posted · 31 Comments
Damage due to handling, storage, heat and humidity

Damage due to handling, storage, heat and humidity

I’ve written before about what it does to a painting to roll it up. But, just to reinforce the issue, here’s another example. But, for the first time, let me make some interesting points:

1. This painting and the others I’ve shown you on this blog, were rolled up on a small cardboard tube (1 1/2″ – 3 cm)

2. You can avoid a lot of damage if you use a large tube like a Sono Tube from a building contractor materials supplier- 8″ (or 15 -18 cm) diameter. The smaller the diameter, the more the potential damage. They make these tubes for the construction industry upwards towards several feet in diameter. For larger paintings like murals, I use 3 ft and 4 ft diameter tubes (1 mt – 1.30mt).

3. Wrap the painting around the tube as tight as possible, face out.

4. Protect the outside, exposed, paint with wrapping paper, or even better, another tube bigger than the first. If you are wrapping a contemporary painting, perhaps in a mixed media, CALL ME. Most problems I’m called to inspect involve wrapping plastic and paper stuck to the fronts of paintings while in storage or shipping.

Avoid high heat, high humidity, crushing… pack it right the first time… my experience is that you’ll forget about it later and it will be rolled up for a long time.

Here’s a question for you: Can this type of damage be included in an insurance claim? Here are a few points that will influence the answer to this question:

1. Do you have a picture of it before the damage? The insurance company doesn’t want to pay for pre-exisitng conditions.

2. What value is there in the artwork? If there is high value, then an insurance rider may be required.

3. What are the conservation-restoration costs/estimates?

4. Is the damage associated with a disaster? Supplemental insurance may be required for earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and water damage.

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31 Responses to "Damaged art – insurance claim?"
  1. Jasper Smith says:

    Pretty amazing tips! I actually left a comment in here just to let you know that I like free stuff so count me in, I will sign up for your free tips.
    Its a good thing that you are offering this and for sure I will get a copy of the book.
    I will recommend this to my friends who are in the art business.

  2. John T. says:

    Hey Jasper!
    I totally agree with you and I want to say something as well since I already purchased the book and got the free stuff. This is really important info and we are glad that we purchased it from this site. Its easy info to use at home plus there are no worries whether this site is legit… just look through it!. I found these posts and downloads easy to understand and if you found it interesting then don’t have second thoughts. I will tell you, you won’t be sorry!

  3. Vicky Nelson says:

    Yeah, you have a good point. I can vouch for your suggestion to use a Sono Tube from a building contractor – I’ve tried that idea and use it now. I know that it really works.

    It seems that you are attracting other people’s attention as I see the good comments. I was routed in here from a friend’s suggestion and I am happy that it happened.

    Good job on this site!

  4. Patty Hodson says:

    Thanks for mentioning this aspect of insurance coverage, that I hadn’t thought of. Is there more info you can give?

    • Scott says:

      Patty and Dana,
      Thanks for commenting. Yes, there is more I’ve written about: at We have set up a website to help adjusters and the insurance industry be more aware of professional services like ours. Go to

      We provide expertise witness, legal testimony, evaluations and reports, surveys and assessments and, of course, we provide restoration/conservation services. We do a lot of work for AIG (Chartise), State farm, AllState, many others and through many independent adjusters.

      While this website may not be exactly what you asked, I think you will find this blog very interesting. Also, connect with us on Facebook at “Fine Art Insurance Help.” You’ll see, also, along the left side bar, other Facebook pages we update also.

      All my best!

  5. Dana Salazar says:

    Hey, thanks! You know, there is not anything on the internet about insurance issues and family possessions. Where can I learn more?

  6. Beth says:

    We ship our new reproduction paintings in tubes to our customers all the time – we’ve found that investing in plastic containters and using heavy tape on the ends saved us lots of headaches.

  7. Scott says:

    Brand new paintings, as a rule, can be rolled up without visible immediate damage… but stress has occurred, however. If your artwork is a reproduction and worth $200, then it will never be worth a financial fortune in the future. Hence, any cracking and so forth could be dealt with by tossing it in the trash.

    Old artwork will suffer more immediate damage when rolled up. The stress of the rolling up will appear immediately or soon. Original artwork of quality is more likely to be cared for, handed down to heirs and to increase in value.

    Having said all that, Beth, your company certainly has interesting stuff! I enjoyed looking over your website.

  8. Miranda Shelly says:

    Transporting and storing a painting away from it’s place, the wall, it’s a dangerous thing, it seems to me. The wall is the safest place! Otherwise, as you have written, it can be damaged anytime. Based on your writings, now, I have almost all my walls full of paintings. Thanks for your help!

    • Scott says:

      Paintings on walls are generally safer but here are a few important reminders:
      1. Take precautions for paintings hung in high traffic areas.
      2. Make sure the hanging wire is strong and not frayed
      3. Ensure the wire hanging hooks or screws are well anchored into the frame
      4. Make sure the hook on the wall is substantial/overkill strong.

      If any of these gives away, your artwork is coming down! Try to think about the fact that the weakest link is where the chair breaks.

      You might be entertained with the stories and interesting info on

  9. Mike says:

    Very good tips. The tip that you gave about wrapping the picture around the tube (face out) is a great idea. The paint will then stretch rather than collapse in on itself, as is quite evident in the picture above.

    Also in regards to insurance, having a picture avaliable of the painting/ sculpture before the damage will make it much easier for you to claim on the insurance.

    Thanks alot for posting! I appreciate it.

  10. Arron says:

    Really useful common sense advice here. Now that digital cameras are so cheap and popular there is no reason not to have a set of photos of your valuables as they dont even take up any space. You could stick them all on a usb driver, in a box and not even have them on your computer or back them up in some online space somewhere should your computer have the same fate as the valuables.

  11. George Orwell says:

    Many thanks with this useful post about damage and insurance claims. Are you able to compose any follow-up part probably? There’s a lot more to this to think about.

  12. Hi Scott,

    Would you be able to write for us about art insurance. We have a blog and you can be a contributor.

    Though we do not cover art insurance in our business, we welcome insights like yours. Here is our blog:

  13. dogman says:

    awesome site Thank you so much again for your time in writing this post.

  14. Barbara Wright says:

    Thanks for the tips and info on insurance claims. I never find practical info on this subject with my collectibles and art and you seem to be the only one who writes/blogs about it. Thanks.

  15. Thanks for sharing your ideas. I am glad to have found you because I always have a lot of stuff that I’m interested in taking care of. I just got handed to me three boxes from an aunt that passed.

  16. Emma Neeley says:

    Really appreciate the effort you made to share the knowledge on damage to art and antiques. Our moving company thinks that damage is no big thing and that the insurance comapny will take care of it so its not their problem. My manager has got a “so what”? attitude.

  17. Emma Neeley says:

    It is very interesting for me to read this article on damage from movers. I work for a moving company as see careless damage all the time. Its a particular shame when it happens to art and antiques.

  18. Sevgi Sözleri says:

    It is very interesting for me to read this article on damage from movers

  19. Nice art. Too bad when it gets damaged. This subject on insurance and claims is good info!

  20. Eric says:

    Not only can you get insurance but there are some things you can do to restore any art that has been damaged. If there some wear and tear I would go to the artist or one that is similar to your painting. Otherwise if it is like smoke or fire damage then i would look at a restoration place. Check them out they can help a lot, like Belfor!

    • Scott says:

      Eric, I assume you simply don’t know what you are talking about when you say a person can restore anything themselves. In reality, more items are damaged by fixer upper and wanna be restorers than by all the floods, tornados, earthquakes and hurricanes in history. A high percentage of paintings that come into our lab have been handled by inept people that have damaged them, often compromising the quality and value.

  21. Jenny Smith says:

    Fantastic info! I’ll be moving soon and I wasn’t quite sure how to pack some of my artwork. I’d definitely not thought about rolling it and wrapping it.

  22. Ben King says:

    I didn’t know about the tube thing that’s a great thing to keep in mind. I for one like my paintings in the best possible condition I can keep them in.

  23. I’m not sure that I’ve ever had this kind of problem myself, but I have seen it in various occasions where a neighbor is moving and I go to help them and I stumble upon a poorly packed painting. It’s sad really, someone takes all of that time to paint it and it is mistreated is such a way.

  24. John Smith says:

    Another excellent tip is to keep artwork away from children while moving. I’ve seen a beautiful Miro reprint get completely torn up and painted with lipstick when my neighbours let their children at it for 5 minutes on moving day!

  25. Ian Boyd says:

    Shipping insurance is good to have, but if something happens to the painting nothing could replace it.

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