How to choose the perfect appraiser for your property, art, antiques, jewelry, and other valuables

appraiserIf you have highly valuable, treasured property or possessions, you may need to get them appraised for insurance purposes. Many insurance carriers will insist on accurate valuation of property, art, antiques, jewelry, and other items so they can ensure the correct level of coverage and premium payment.

When you’re seeking out a good appraiser, here are some areas to consider:

Talk to your friends and colleagues

If you know other people who need to insure high-value items, talk to them about their experiences. Get recommendations on good appraisers and create a shortlist.

Look at professional qualifications

There are a variety of professional accreditations and qualifications depending on the fields an appraiser trains in. These include:

  • International Society of Appraiser’s credentials for fine art, antiques, and personal property.
  • A diploma in gemology for jewelry appraisal.
  • Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice exam for members of the American Society of Appraisers.
  • Principles of Valuation courses for members of the American Society of Appraisers.
  • Property appraisers should have one of the following designations from the Appraisal Institute — MAI Designation, SRPA Designation, SRA Designation, AI-GRS Designation, AI-RRS Designation.

There are various other exams and certifications available. Always check an appraiser’s qualifications to ensure they’re qualified to provide expert advice.

Check if they’re members of professional appraiser organizations

There are several industry bodies for appraisers. They include:

Many of these websites have membership directories for their appraisers.

Professional appraisers are required to uphold a strong code of ethics, including:

  • Providing truly independent valuation services, with no external influences.
  • Have no outside interest in the valued item, other than as providing a professional service.
  • Only carry out appraisal work in their area of expertise.
  • Consider all relevant factors when arriving at a valuation.
  • Treat and document property with the right level of care and respect.
  • Ensure personal remuneration and pay is independent of the value of property being appraised.

Interview your shortlist

When you have a shortlist of appraisers, call each one and ask questions about their area of expertise, qualifications, professional standards, and membership of industry bodies. Get a feel for what each appraiser is like and use that to decide which one would be right for your needs.

Remember that valuations change with time, many carriers will require updated valuations on a regular basis.

As always, if you have any questions about your scheduled property or how to get your property appraised, we are a phone call away!

Mary McGrath
Personal Lines Manager


Are You Protecting Your Invaluable Collections?

How to Insure Valuables Fine Art, Wine, Jewelry & MoreOver the years, you may have developed a knowledge and love of wine and picked up a few special bottles, which turned into a few more and, before you knew it, you had an extensive – and expensive – wine collection.  What would happen if there was a flood in your home or you experienced a power outage that impacted your temperature-controlled cedar wine cellar? 

From wine to art to fine jewelry to exotic cars and yachts, many people fail to recognize these items that they enjoy for their aesthetic or leisurely qualities as the valuable investments they truly are and therefore, don’t properly protect them.   

Additionally, as people do estate planning, they also often overlook outlining their plans for these non-traditional valuables, like an antique jewelry collection or Bentley.

Here are five tips to ensure you properly protect your collections:

  • Secure Specialized and Periodic Appraisals: Make sure the person appraising your items has   expertise in your type of collectible so you get the most accurate appraisalRe-appraise your collectibles every two to three years and make sure you share them with your financial advisor, insurance company, tax attorney and estate planner so they can understand the value of your collection and the potential risks and benefits within your overall portfolio as well as any implications to your charitable giving wishes or estate planning.
  • Keep a Detailed Inventory: Document your collectibles, where and when they were purchased and for how much.  Update every time a new item is added to the collection and ensure there’s a complete, properly appraised inventory at all times as well as information on where certificates of authenticity are housed.
  • Assemble a Smart and Specialized Advisory Team Early: Work with an insurance firm, financial planner, tax attorney and estate planner who have expertise protecting and planning for the issues associated with these non-traditional investments.  It’s important to do this early, as your collection could have implications on your overall wealth, taxes and estate plans as it grows or diminishes in value.
  • Properly Insure your Collectibles: Make sure you choose an insurance company with expertise in providing coverage for your unique collection and coverage options that would truly account for their value.   These prized collections often mistakenly get tacked onto an existing homeowner’s insurance policy with very limited coverage that would never provide the value they truly hold if they needed to be replaced.
  • Make an Early Succession Plan: Whether you want to hand down your fine art collection to your son, donate it to a museum or have it auctioned off for charity, be sure to work with your team to detail your plans and to get their input on how to properly include them in your estate planning. 

By treating your collectibles like your other assets, you can enjoy your passions and ensure their potential returns and risks are managed and that they’re properly protected.  This will allow you – and your loved ones –to enjoy your collections now and in the future.

Mary McGrath

Sinclair Risk & Financial Management

Mary McGrath

How to Store Your Valuable Jewelry

How to Store Your Valuable JewelryHow to Store Your Valuable Jewelry

Investments such as fine art, an exotic car, or a jewelry collection will not always be covered by standard Wallingford, CT home insurance policies in the event of a disaster, which many individuals are not aware of.

In addition to having your valuable jewelry insured against theft, you’ll want to have it protected against damages as well. The most basic rule there is in terms of storing fine jewelry is to make sure that each item is isolated from the others.  Here are ways to properly store and protect your jewelry in order to maintain the value of your collection.

Jewelry Boxes: Many modern jewelry boxes are made for decorative purposes, but when looking for a jewelry box for storage purposes, make sure that the materials used to construct and line the box are in fact suitable for jewelry.

Travel Cases: These are individual jewelry cases, usually with a small handle and a lock, designed to fit into a handbag or carry-on luggage.

Jewel Caskets: These cases are used as presentation pieces to showcase either a single piece of jewelry or a matched set. Jewel caskets are often elaborate, becoming works of art in their own merit.

Ring, Bracelet, and Necklace Boxes: Keeping the original jewel boxes your item came in can be the easiest way to store the piece, and is ideal if your collection is small.

Pearl Folders: It’s a good idea to use the original package of leather or cloth to store your pearls, since these are relatively soft and fragile.

Jewelry Armoires: These are large, often wooden pieces of furniture with multiple drawers and compartments. These are ideal for large collections, and some may even be customized with special display lighting or hidden compartments.

Sinclair has knowledgeable professionals who possess many years of experience in insuring fine and heirloom jewelry. With a trained eye, they can expertly evaluate your fine jewelry assets to recommend the right coverage and limits, and assess the potential exposures around your home that may put your fine jewelry and heirlooms at risk, such as theft, water intrusion, light and heat damage, and fire. Give one of Sinclair’s professionals a call at 203.265.0996.

Why You Need Your Jewelry Appraised

Why You Need Your Jewelry AppraisedWhy You Need Your Jewelry Appraised

Grandmother’s pearls; your engagement ring; the diamond tennis bracelet you received for your anniversary; over the years, you’ve amassed a gorgeous treasure chest of family heirlooms and precious gifts. Chances are many of those pieces are quite valuable. You have homeowners insurance to protect your home and belongings. However, not everything is covered under traditional policies- including your fine jewelry collection. There are multiple reasons why you need your jewelry appraised.

The price of gold and silver fluctuate constantly. Chances are your family heirlooms are worth considerably more than they were 20 years ago. We wrote a blog post a few weeks back on how to insure your valuables, including fine art, wine, and jewelry. What we didn’t discuss however, was the value of appraising your jewelry regularly to ensure it is adequately protected.

An appraisal is a written record of the worth of an item or piece of jewelry. It is drafted by a professional who follows the standard insurance industry practices. When getting your jewelry appraised, you should make sure they are accredited by a nationally recognized appraisal organization such as The American Society of Appraisers or Gemological Institute of America.

Routinely getting appraisals helps to ensure that you have adequate coverage in the event that any of your pieces are lost or stolen. But regular appraisals aren’t enough to ensure coverage. Many traditional homeowners policies don’t have the coverage to cover your jewelry collection.

A jewelry floater is an important, yet often overlooked portion of your homeowners insurance. At Sinclair Risk & Financial Management, we have knowledgeable professionals with years of experience insuring fine and heirloom jewelry. We can help you expertly evaluate your assets and recommend the right coverage and limits. We can also assess the potential exposures around your home that may put your collection at risk, such as theft, water intrusion, light and heat damage, or fire.

Insuring your house requires more than just protecting the structure- it’s the heirlooms and precious possessions within that make it a home. Contact us today for more information about our fine jewelry insurance. (877) 602-2305

How to Insure Valuables: Fine Art, Wine, Jewelry & More

How to Insure Valuables Fine Art, Wine, Jewelry & MoreHow to Insure Valuables: Fine Art, Wine, Jewelry & More

As Hurricane Sandy rolls past the east coast, residents are grieving over the loss of their valuable possessions. Even as families pack up their luggage and travel to different destinations, they often leave their home and their valuables susceptible to theft. Although your home is covered by homeowners insurance, your valuable possessions inside may only be covered by a small amount. Valuables may mean many different things to many different individuals, some find the value in sentimental objects and some find it in monetary objects. However regardless of your definition of valuable, you need to be aware and educated with the best ways to insure your valuables.

Nobody wants to see their fine art, wine, jewelry, exotic car, or silverware stolen only to find out that it cannot be replaced. Because general homeowners insurance does not cover very much of these valuables, you will need to speak with an agent and purchase additional coverage. The most common policy on how to insure valuables is the personal articles floater (PAF). Although PAF varies with every carrier, it generally means it is a separate or supplemental policy added to your homeowner policy in order to protect your valuables against theft or damages.

When purchasing a PAF you will need to create an inventory which includes the name of the item, a picture and its monetary worth. In order to compute the item’s value you may have an appraiser look and examine it. Although this may seem costly, it will ultimately it will be very beneficial in the event of a loss. This will ensure you scheduled value of the possession when filing a claim.

There is also blanket coverage which is often recommended for smaller possession, such as a less valuable piece of jewelry. If you do decide to purchase blanket coverage instead you do not need your possessions to be appraised. However, blanket coverage does not guarantee that you will be covered for the full amount you purchased the item for.

Sinclair Insurance welcomes the opportunity to sit down with you and tell you more about the special programs we can develop just for you. At your convenience, please feel free to call us at 203.265.0996, email us, or return the form on this page.

Fine Art Insurance: Investing in Fine Art

Fine Art Insurance Investing in Fine ArtFine Art Insurance: Investing in Fine Art

For the past few years, the economy has been trickling into an unfortunate depression. Many people from all socioeconomic classes are frantic to find different avenues to flourish in. Many have turned to collectibles, hoping to get a good return in their investment. Although collectibles have always been notable and prosperous assets, it is no longer the same as it was before.  Unlike most unstable markets, such as gold, sports memorabilia, and fine jewelry; fine art is proving to be rather profitable investment. Fine art collectors both new and experienced should not carelessly go into the industry without a few tips on choosing the right investment. Regardless of the consistent profitability, purchasing the wrong art piece can easily turn this into a bad investment.  Here are a few tips ensure a good investment.

Firstly, spend a substantial amount of time researching and educating yourself; look through art magazines and art history books. You may also want to hire an art consultant that is both knowledgeable of the industry and understands your artistic preferences. Secondly, visit as many art galleries, art museums, and art expos as possible. Once you have acquired sufficient knowledge of the industry as well, you can start to feel the pulse of new, up and coming artists. Next, start “window shopping.” While you certainly want to look for pieces that you love, also take into consideration of the types of pieces with a good return in your investment. During this economy, it is reasonable to be selfish with your money, as many of these pieces can range from $10,000 to $250,000.

The best investments are original pieces from notable, well established artists. Whether you plan to sell the artwork in the future, original pieces will always have value. In order to avoid purchasing reproductions, assess and confirm that the piece is original.

How to evaluate the authenticity of a fine art piece:

  • Signatures- Search for the artist’s birth/death dates.
  • Hand-signed and numbered
  • Certificates of Authenticity
  • Aside from original pieces from notable artists, oil paintings also have a good return in an investment. However, there are paintings that hold more value than others.

How to evaluate a fine art valuable oil painting:

  • Portraits
  • Attractive women in dresses
  • Age- the kind of canvass and nails used may indicate the age of the artwork

Regardless of the “type” of artwork you purchase, ensure that it is off good quality. Quality includes color saturation and condition and the differences in this may substantially increase/decrease the price.

If you are an owner of fine art, we’d like to discuss how to protect your investment for the next generation and beyond. Please call us today for fine art insurance at 203.265.0996, email us, or return the form on this page.


High-Value Insurance: Match Your Coverage with Your Lifestyle

High-Value Insurance: Match Your Coverage with Your LifestyleHigh-Value Insurance: Match Your Coverage with Your Lifestyle

When you sit down to assess your finances, file tax returns, or examine your retirement fund, take a moment to look at your lifestyle. The lifestyle you’ve worked so hard to provide is a huge luxury. But high end luxury lifestyles also come with risk too. In risk assessments it is essential to examine your lifestyle, from your classic car, your exotic auto to your wine collection, yacht & any other hobbies you enjoy. Ensure you are properly protected with our high-value insurance.

Own an exotic or classic car? Purchasing an exotic or collector car can be a fulfillment of a dream for many. Whether you are looking for a restoration project or to speed down the highway, classic and exotic cars require significant dollar investments. And because of the high end luxury design of the car, its unique qualities also requires specialized exotic car insurance.

Art collector? Your existing coverage might include some coverage- however it is almost certain that as an art collector you will need supplemental art insurance to protect your investment. Make sure to get your art regularly appraised so you know their financial value and the amount of coverage you’ll need.

Diamonds & pearls? Jewelry insurance is an often overlooked item- sadly, many do not think to insure it until it is lost or stolen. The price of gold changes constantly, and your antique ring or necklace may be worth a lot more than it was 20 years ago. That would mean it’s more expensive to replace as well. That is why jewelry insurance is crucial.

Yacht owner? Among watercraft, yachts are a high end, distinctive type of private vessel that requires detailed knowledge and specialized coverage. Yachts need specific coverage that standard marine policies don’t always offer. When your vessel is a motor yacht, mega yacht, or something in between, it is essential to get specific Yacht Insurance coverage that provides you with full coverage of your vehicle.

For more than four decades, Sinclair Risk & Financial Management has forged relationships with insurance providers that specialize in providing high-end coverage. We have access to particular markets that enable us to craft custom homeowners and auto insurance programs that reflect the true value of your property, your risk profile, and your personal circumstances throughout the world. Contact us today for more information about our high-value insurance programs.