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Hurricanes Can Cause Overwhelming Damage to Museum Artifacts

Museum operators work hard so that visitors can be immersed in beauty and history. Unfortunately, a hurricane can decimate these collections in a matter of minutes, causing damage to timeless works of art. Attorney Bill Voss explains specific hurricane property damage risks for museums and how administrators can build policies that offer maximum compensation.

Coverage Options That May Help Pay for Hurricane Damage to Museums

Elementary School Class at a MuseumOne simple way for museum operators to ensure maximum protection is to secure their artwork, artifacts, vehicles, memorabilia, and any other historic or intrinsically valuable property against all types of peril. Commercial all-risk insurance covers damage from any cause that is not specifically excluded on the policy—which is especially beneficial after the rain, hail, and flooding that accompanies hurricanes.

In addition to all-risk coverages, here are many extended insurance options that could provide even more compensation for hurricane losses, including:

  • Agreed value coverage. Your museum may contain priceless artifacts, but your insurer will ultimately have to issue payment at some dollar amount. Agreed value coverage is key to getting reimbursed for your damaged inventory. Once you and your insurer agree on a price for each item in the collection, those values become the coverage limits in your policy after a total loss.
  • Building and contents. The first step toward insuring a museum is protecting the building itself, as well as the contents needed to maintain and display a valuable collection. This can include benches, gallery hanging systems, office furniture, computers, glass artifact displays, computers, security systems, gift shop merchandise, and other implements used in the daily operation of the museum. Depending on the structure, you may also include coverage for the historic features of the building, such as marble floors or hand-painted murals.
  • Inland marine and rental coverage. While items on exhibit or stored onsite are covered under building contents, items that are on loan or traveling to or from your museum may not be. Inland marine coverage pays to replace the property that was lost in transit, damaged offsite, or on loan from other museums or private entities. However, your policy may exclude coverage in certain countries or specific forms of transportation, such as artworks traveling by truck, plane, car, or boat.
  • Crime or theft coverage. This coverage can reimburse losses from criminal acts committed by an employee, vendor, or volunteer. Extended coverage may protect you against theft, looting, and vandalism that occurs as a result of compromised security or inability to secure the premises after a hurricane.
  • Special event insurance. Museums often host private parties, such as birthdays, weddings, fundraisers, corporate events, and other gatherings. If you have to cancel scheduled events due to hurricane damage, special events coverage can reimburse you for the costs of lost deposits, entertainment bookings, private collections or viewings, catering, event advertising, and the income that these events would have brought in. 
  • Business income coverage. Business interruption insurance is key to keeping your museum alive while you perform repairs and restoration. This coverage replaces lost revenue from admission fees, donations, concessions, gift shop purchases, special event fees, and other sources of income, allowing you to continue paying your employees or open a temporary business location.
  • Extra expense coverage. This essential add-on is typically offered as an extension to business interruption coverage. It pays an additional amount over and above the limit of the BII limit, ensuring that you won’t have to pay the extra cost of facility upgrades, increased construction, and other costs out of your own pocket.

You’ll Need an Experienced Insurance Attorney to Fight on Your Side

There’s too much at risk to leave your museum property damage claim in the hands of a commercial insurance adjuster. The Voss Law Firm can help you get the compensation you are owed so you can rebuild your collection. Fill out our contact form today to get answers to your questions, or start reading your copy of our free book, The Basics of Commercial Insurance Claims.


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The Voss Law Firm, P.C. represents clients on a local, national and international basis. We proudly serve companies and individuals along the Gulf Coast and around the globe on a contingency fee basis. Our law firm collects nothing unless we recover on our client's behalf.

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