Source Antiques Like the Pros: Insurance for International Antiques Shipping

Source Antiques Like the Pros: Insurance for International Antiques Shipping | Toma Clark Haines | The Antiques Diva

Antique shipping and insurance are the least sexy parts of my job – but one of the most critical aspects to antique and design professionals who need to make a profit on their investment. Sourcing antiques like a pro isn’t simply knowing where to buy antiques: Interior designers, antique dealers, landscape architects and other design professionals not only source antiques in Europe, they also need to make sure their purchases make it safely home! I spoke to a room of design professionals on How to Source Antiques like the Pros with interior designers Robert Passal and Garrow Kedigian at an event at the D&D Building hosted by The Robert Allen Duralee Group. 

(The event was streamed on Facebook LIVE by Aspire magazine, watch here.)

One hot topic the audience asked the panel was, What insurance do I need for international antiques shipping? 

Do I need insurance for international antiques shipping?

International shipping of antiques can be intimidating. Your shipping company will try to make shipping the antiques you purchased in Europe back to the US as simple as possible – but the reality is, shipping is always difficult. The reality is, something can always go wrong with shipping. If you’re shipping antiques from Europe to the US, make sure you have insurance. Don’t automatically assume your shipper has booked your insurance. If you don’t ask, most shippers don’t insure.

And while your shipper can book your insurance – you also have the right to book it yourself.  Design expert Garrow Kedigian shared that he uses Chubb insurance company – and in his experience damaged piece claims are quickly resolved. Audience member and interior designer Justin Shaulis said he always buys American insurance when shipping antiques from Europe to the US as he feels it simplifies the process having his own insurer he sourced rather than working through the shipper.  (And he also recommends Chubb!)

The Antiques Diva Insurance Tips for International Antiques Shipping

How likely is it that goods will be damaged in transit?

You should know that damage IS ALWAYS A RISK. There are so many parties involved in getting your goods home that the odds of damage occurring are simply high. A general rule of thumb with shipping… expect there to be a problem regardless of who your shipper is – and be prepared in the event of damage – and then be pleasantly surprised when there are none!

We always recommend that international buyers thoroughly document and photograph all your items before packing so that the state of each item before shipping can be used as a reference should you need proof for insurance. Photograph the item with the Shipping Tag on the item.

There are A LOT of hands handling your inventory from the time you buy until the time you receive it

  1. First of all, after you’ve written your PO and tagged your purchase, the vendor usually moves the item out of his store to his warehouse to wait for it to be collected by the shipper.
  2. The shipper then sends a truck to collect the goods which are transported to the shipping warehouse.
  3. The goods are then packed in the warehouse and loaded into a container.
  4. The container is then transported to port.
  5. The container gets moved on to the ship.
  6. The ocean creates its own set of obstacles depending on the weather.
  7. If you have LCL then they have to then be unpacked and examined for customs at the port destination.
  8. Then your goods have to be loaded into a truck and transported to your destination. .If you’ve purchased an entire container the container is delivered to your door for you to unpack yourself.
  9. Finally, if you’ve contracted for our White Glove Service the goods have to be unloaded from the truck, unpacked and placed according to your wishes.

All said – there are several opportunities for damage to occur!

Better safe than sorry – Be insured! 

What do I do if items have been damaged at some point during the life cycle of the delivery?

  1. The first thing you should do if you discover damage that wasn’t there when you made the purchase: take photos and contact your shipper.
  2. They work with you on determining the next steps regarding filing an insurance claim.

How does insurance work?

  1. Depending on the value of your goods being shipped, we normally advise the purchase of an “All Risk” insurance policy. Your shipper will coordinate the insurance. If using AD&CO Logistics – the art and antiques division of ALC – for example, the policy will be written by a broker in Antwerp.
  2. This specific coverage will be applicable for the same period of time in which you have purchased the shipping (e.g., Port to Port, Door to Door or White Glove). The coverage goes into effect the moment that your shipper collects your goods at the vendor.
  3. The coverage of the “All Risk” policy is 110% of the value of your goods and the cost of the policy is 1.5% times the value of your goods.
  4. The value of your goods is determined based on the amounts stated on the vendor invoices.
  5. There is generally a 150 EUR deductible per claim.

Do you have questions about how to get your antiques home? Contact us for international fine arts and antique shipping information and to get a quote:


FAX: +32 (0)3 283 73 49        MOBILE: +32 (0)478 01 01 01 

We’d love to take you on an antiques buying tour, and introduce you to our expert dealers and secret sources!

Toma – The Antiques Diva  


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Author: Toma Clark Haines

Toma Clark Haines is a Global Tastemaker, Speaker, Writer & Entrepreneur; and founder and CEO The Antiques Diva® & Co, Europe, Asia and America's largest Antiques Sourcing & Touring Company.