Insurance and indemnity – the Spectrum standard

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You should have a policy on how you insurance or indemnify objects in your care. This could either be a standalone document or part of a wider collections management policy. Either way, in deciding your policy you will most likely need to consider these questions:

  • Is your museum allowed to insure its collections (many national museums are not)?
  • Which objects must you insure, and against what risks?
  • Which objects would it be prudent to insure, and against what risks?
  • What circumstances should trigger a review of an object’s cover?
  • How will you insure or indemnify objects you borrow?
  • How will you make sure your objects have appropriate cover while lent out or otherwise away from your museum?
  • Who is responsible for arranging insurance and renewal?
  • How will you keep your insurance cover up to date?

You should also have a written procedure that explains the steps to follow when managing and documenting insurance. Spectrum’s suggested procedure is a useful starting point, but however you do it, your own procedure should meet the following minimum requirements:

Minimum requirement Why this is important
Where possible, all the objects in your care, whether in your museum or away from it, are insured or indemnified according to your agreed policy. You can recover from loss of, or damage to, your own objects.

You can compensate lenders if you lose or damage their objects.

You have the appropriate minimum liability sum or excess to be paid if required. You have the financial resources to cover those sums if the worst happens.
Your insurance and indemnity cover is reviewed regularly, and updated as required. Changes in valuations are reflected.

New acquisitions are covered.

Your catalogue records meet any standard specified by your insurer for the purpose of recovering stolen items. You may not be covered if a valuable item is stolen and you cannot provide images and enough information to identify it.


Date created: 2017

Author: Collections Trust

Publisher: Collections Trust