My wife and I frequent the local art fairs and usually pick up a piece. We never worried about insurance until we suddenly realized several years ago that if something catastrophic happened (fire, tornado, break-in), our regular homeowners would only cover a very small percentage of the value of our collection. Upon checking, our insurance company said they would only add scheduled items if we had a formal appraisal and they also strongly suggested adding a home security system.
We chose Heritage Appraisal (Kelly Knoll) because they were in town, reasonably priced, and had good reviews, and we have never regretted that decision. Since we really didn’t know what we had, the 1st time Kelly came, we asked her to go over the whole house, top to bottom, and identify all non-household items that might have a replacement value over $1,000. The resulting list contained many of the items we expected, added several items we hadn’t realized had appreciated, and left off a number of items that had not appreciated.
With that list as the starting point, Kelly did the research to provide background on each artist and establish an accurate replacement value. For each piece, she took photos, measurements, and recorded our purchase price. When possible, she also contacted the artist to capture their sense of the value of the art work. The resulting document is exactly what the insurance company needed, and is now also part of our estate planning.