Insurance for Antique Lamps

Vintage and antique lamps are similar to designer jewelry or expensive artwork. It takes time and consideration to decide whether your tastes lean toward table lamps, floor lamps, sconces, or other light fixtures. Once you do decide to invest in an antique lamp, it is important to take all the necessary means to insure and safeguard your investment. Antique Lamp Supply has been in the lighting business for more than 60 years. With all our experience in restoration and hardware supply, we know a thing or two about lamp appraisals and insurance. In this guide, we explore insurance for antique lamps to provide further insight into what you need to know and the steps you need to take next.

What is Antique Lamp Insurance?

As you would with any fine piece of artwork or artifact of historical relevance, an antique lamp is one investment you don't want to treat lightly. Ordinary house insurance will cover most if not all artwork in a home. Rare lamps and light fixtures, however, call for separate insurance policies. Many collectors make the mistake of relying on their homeowner's policies to cover the value of their collectible lamps. This oversight can be detrimental, because most policies cap limits on contents coverage. Furthermore, most insured items under a homeowner's policy may be subject to depreciation. If your vintage lamp is damaged in the process of moving, you might also need to pay a deductible before coverage takes effect.

Antique lamp insurance starts with an appraisal of the "current market" value of your lamp to help you make the best decision in terms of personal wealth management. Once you find out what kind of appraisal your insurer will accept, you can employ the services of an independent appraisal specialist to ascertain the value of your rare and collectible lamp. Don't be afraid to ask for and confirm references, as well as certifications from an approved appraisal organization. Professional appraisers will require high-quality digital photographs or videos and a complete written description of the lamp you want evaluated. Try to include as much detail as possible: the price you paid, the provenance, dimensions, and any past evaluation information.

How is an Antique Lamp Appraised?

Most antique collectors prefer lamps that are as old and original as possible, but some are less concerned with authenticity. Regardless of whether you plan to keep or sell your collectible lamp, an appraisal can make the difference in your ability to protect the value of an expensive lamp. Appraisals take a great amount of time to research and respond. Professionals will take the overall beauty, design excellence, quality of craftsmanship, and structural integrity into consideration when evaluating. Tiffany-style lamps are appraised based on coloration and the type of glass used.

Most lighting appraisal specialists provide several packages to choose from:

  • Dollar Value: The professional provides only the dollar value of your lamp and nothing more.
  • Value and History: The professional provides the "current market" value of your lamp in addition to care, maintenance, and insurance recommendations. Appraisers will try to provide as much background information about the lamp as they can fund.
  • Complete Appraisal: The professional provides the "current market" value of your lamp in addition to care, maintenance, and insurance recommendations, but that's not all. The specialist will also include historical resources, real-time selling venues for lamps of a similar style, private and public auction information, and a list of comparable lamps that document the evaluated value of your lamp.

When you begin researching lamp insurance and providers, you should look for a few benefits before deciding on a policy. Collectible policies with worldwide protection ensure that your lamp is covered if you're traveling abroad. Immediate coverage is ideal for new acquisitions and additions to your lamp collection. Last but not least, you should ask about coverage in terms of transit or when your lamp is on loan for an exhibit. Lamp insurance should be particularly important to anyone who is responsible for estate planning or coordinating shipment. Remember to revisit your policy on an annual basis, because the value of your antique lamp can change quickly. By revisiting your policy, you can check whether the lamp is over-insured or underinsured. Policies with a 150-percent valuation guarantee ensure that the insurer pays 1.5 times of the value in the event of loss or damage if your lamp's appraisal is not current at that time. If you have any questions about this article, please contact us today for additional information or further assistance.