Not a week goes by when we don’t receive a call from a panicked client, but one client’s plight was especially memorable. With frustration in their tone, they began to shed light on the months of turmoil and headache that had ultimately lead them to us. After discovering a major leak in the ceiling that had saturated the walls and flooded the floors, they called their insurance company who referred them to a restoration service. 

They explained, “As a preventative measure, the restoration company cleared everything out of the first floor and placed the contents into their storage facility. Our insurance company assured us that the restoration company was the best in the business and that our treasured items would be safe with them at a secure facility.”

No one could foresee that weeks later the storage facility would have its own major water catastrophe, resulting in a total loss of our client’s contents.

In situations like these we often provide a valuation based on an inventory and photographs taken prior to moving. The restoration company had compiled a list, however what were purported to be of high value were described with vague terms like “sofa”, “boxes” and “lamp”.

There were no photos of the objects taken by neither the client nor the restoration company. The client assured us that many of the items lost to water damage were inherited from her father and were valuable objects ranging from antiques and collectibles to fine art and prints. Without photos of the pieces and an accurate inventory list, there was no basis for us to provide an accurate appraisal of the damaged pieces.

To make matters worse, our client was working with a direct insurer whose policy stated that items not scheduled individually would only be compensated for their market value, which is significantly lower than the retail value that would realistically make our client whole.

As much as we could identify and empathize with our client’s frustrations, we understood that our client’s unfortunate circumstances could have been avoided had they taken preventative measures. One of the most efficient and cost effective ways to prevent this scenario is to have a video inventory conducted by a professional appraiser and shared with your insurance company. While you may have some of your treasured art and antiques individually scheduled, the majority of your contents vaguely fall under blanket coverage. In the event of loss, the task to “establish value” is your responsibility. A video inventory produced by a professional will facilitate the appraiser in appropriately determining each object’s replacement value. Without an image, it is difficult for an appraiser to place a value on any object and it is less likely the insurer will compensate you for the full retail value.

The Fine Art Group conducts hundreds of professionally produced visual inventories each year.  For more information or to schedule an appointment contact us at 610-254-8400 or

The Fine Art Group will conduct a Visual Inventory of your assets to provide a photographic record of the residence including the exterior, individual rooms and its remaining contents.

The Visual Inventory is conducted by a seasoned appraisal professional and professionally edited.


When dealing with the inconvenience of loss or damage, adding a Visual Inventory to your risk management strategy offers peace of mind and assurance that the claims process will be handled appropriately.


Theft is more likely to occur in an unoccupied home, and burglars are known to target the elderly. The Visual Inventory provides an accurate account of home contents and can be used when dividing an estate between members of the family.


When faced with the challenges of a divorce, the Visual Inventory provides an accurate account of marital property and is a necessary, date-stamped tool that facilitates the division of assets.



Understanding value is the cornerstone to effectively managing a collection – and at The Fine Art Group, it is this understanding that enables us to work as trusted fiduciaries for our clients, and their objects. We are experienced providing appraisals for a wide range of purposes, and are also specialists in unique and complicated appraisal scenarios.