Insurances » Property insurances » Exhibition and art works insurance

Exhibition insurance/insurance of works of art

The work of an Italian artist is stolen during an art exhibition in Berlin. 

If an artist exhibits or loans out works of art, the exhibition or loan contract (cf. loan agreement, annotated model contract or standard agreement NEMO) should specify that the contractual partner insures the works for transport "from nail to nail" – also for transportation across borders – and for the entire duration of the exhibition. This is common industry practice.  

Organizers of art exhibitions should always take out all-risk insurance. Any damage should be insured: theft and damage of exhibits by visits or employees of the organizer, as well as damages caused by venue defects. Coverage should extend to transport. Exceptions must be listed and specifically excluded to avoid disputes. Clear contract design (formulations) must be ensured. 

For the Italian artist, this would mean that the theft of his/her work is covered by the insurance of the gallery, provided the organizer has an all-risk insurance policy. If the gallery does not have this insurance, it would have to cover the claim using its own assets. 

(cf. OMC final report: practical ways to reduce the cost of lending and borrowing of cultural objects between Member States of the EU) 

A Germany-based artist is invited by an organizer to show his/her works in an exhibition abroad. The organizer does not provide insurance coverage. What should the artist do? 

While such behavior of the organizer is not reputable, it is also not uncommon. If the artist nevertheless decides to accept the invitation to the exhibition, he/she can purchase an insurance policy that covers the works. An insurance broker should be consulted who may provide the artist with an offer for the specific case. Exhibition insurance is usually associated with extremely high costs. 


Before shipping one’s own works of art to the exhibition site, one should ask the organizer for a certificate of insurance from an insurance company as proof for sufficient coverage. This certificate provides leverage in case of damages.

To top