A step by step guide to insurance valuations

image of man valuing item

The purpose of an insurance valuation is to find out the value of your antiques and fine art so that you get the right amount of cover in the event of loss, damage or theft. Valuations are a critical part of the insurance process and what insurers use to determine how you need to pay for cover. The larger the estimate, the higher the premium (all other things held equal).

Step 1: Understand the Importance of Regular Insurance Valuations

Valuations are also crucial for the owners of antiques and fine art. The value of these assets can vary through time, changing the premium that the person should pay. Without a proper valuation, you might not be getting the best value or the correct level of coverage.

Step 2: Know the Different Insurance Valuation Methods

Insurers use a variety of valuation methods depending on your circumstances.

Method 1: Market Value

One of the most popular valuation methods is market value. Here the insurance company asks how much it would cost to replace a particular item you want to insure on the open market. Usually, insurance companies use this method if there are multiple instances of your specific antique or piece of art on the market.

Method 2: Indemnity

The second method is the indemnity. Indemnity is where the insurance company calculates how much it would cost to replace all of the items you insure with those of similar or identical quality. The insurance company releases the indemnity if and when you make a successful claim.

Method 3: Reinstatement

The reinstatement method is the cost associated with replacing or repairing your items to the same, but not better quality.

Step 3: Understand What Affects an Insurance Valuation

If you’re considering getting insurance cover, then you also need to understand what affects the valuation of your fine art and antiques.

Insurers will use similar methods to professional antique and art valuers to work out how much a similar item would cost to replace.

Several factors should come into play.


Rarity isn’t the only determinant of the price of your antiques, but it does play a significant role. The rarer an item, the more exclusive it is, and the more it will cost to replace (if that is possible).


The age of the antique is also important. Older items tend, in general, to be rarer than newer which, again, pushes up the price. Your insurer will try to determine the age of the item before putting a value on it. Age is also a consideration for collectors: some periods are more popular than others.

Ownership History

Insurance valuers are also interested in the provenance of your items. Celebrity ownership in the past can push up prices in the present.

Who Created It?

Brand names make a big difference to the price of items both in the past and present. If a famous person or brand created your art or antique, it’s likely to fetch more at auction.

Insurance valuation is a complex process, but one vital for owners of valuable antiques and art. Here at Boningtons we can help with all your insurance valuations, for more information take a look here.