Got antique furniture? How it is insured?

Valuing antique furniture can be very difficult for an adjuster since most do not have that expertise. The most important part is to get as much information about the piece as possible, such as: manufacturer; date/period of construction; species of wood or type of material; ownership history; place of purchase and last purchase price. Certainly the process is easier when the item is still available for inspection, such as in the event of water damage.

Conversely, if the item has been consumed by fire, the insured’s description may be the only source.

Since many antiques are passed down through families, sometimes the current owner doesn’t know much.

If the insured is claiming a large amount for the piece, I would likely suggest that the carrier engage the services of an antiques appraiser to set the value.

If the item is not extremely expensive, it may not be cost effective for the carrier to pay expense dollars to use an appraiser. If that case, the carrier will rely on the adjuster’s ability to investigate the value, so I would try to collect as much information as possible about the piece and have the insured submit their claimed cost (what they think the piece is worth). I would then begin with an online search to try to find a similar type item.

If there was a large difference between the amount being claimed by the insured and my online research, I may try consulting a local dealer. With just a picture of the item and minimal information, a dealer can usually give a value range of the piece which may help me determine if the claimed cost is reasonable.

Hope this helps.

Please contact me if I can be of any further assistance.