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McAllister/Fossum Seattle Appraisal Services
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Appraising Your Personal Valuables for Insurance Policies

Are you curious about whether your art and collectibles have appreciated in value over the years? Have you inherited some family heirlooms and wonder about their value? Are you concerned that your homeowner’s insurance may not adequately insure the total value of your collection? McAllister/Fossum Appraisal Services can help you find the answers to these questions and more.

James McNeill Whistler, Black Lion Wharf, 1859, etching on paper, 11-7/16 x 16-1/8 inches (sheet)

We Are Objective in Determining Retail Replacement Cost

As an independent appraisal firm, McAllister/Fossum Appraisal Services’ insurance appraisals are completely objective. We apply our many years of experience to consider the quality, relative importance, history and condition of your artwork and collectibles when determining the current Retail Replacement Cost. We have no financial interest in the property being appraised because we are not affiliated with any venue that is sells personal property for a profit. This allows us to value the property in line with the current market and maintain an arm’s length relationship with the objects we appraise.

Kellypalik Etidloie (Inuit), Owl Bird, serpentine stone, 4-3/4 x 9 x 5-1/2 inches

Cost of Insurance Appraisal in Seattle

Our fees for insurance appraisals are always based on our hourly rate and never on the value of the item. Once we have completed the inventory of the objects to be appraised, we will send a fee estimate and make sure we have a client’s approval of all fees before beginning valuation research and report preparation. In some cases, we are able to complete appraisals without an on-site inspection, from images provided by the client and as well as other necessary documentation. We recommend that full, detailed appraisal reports with photos be written for most items of value, however we can also prepare a preliminary inventory for clients who are concerned first and foremost with having a digital record of their assets before having them appraised.

Guy Anderson, Light & Dark of Seeding (Green), 1969, oil on paper, 31 x 39-1_2 inches

Calculating Value Using Current Retail Replacement Cost

Each object is appraised on a current retail replacement cost basis, ensuring that should damage or loss occur, fine art and collectible assets are protected by an upfront agreement with your insurance company. The International Society of Appraisers (ISA) defines Retail Replacement Cost as the cost necessary to replace an item of personal property with a new or comparable (used) item of like kind, utility, and having similar qualities within a reasonable amount of time in the relevant marketplace.

Accredited Appraisal Reports

The insurance appraisal reports written by McAllister/Fossum Appraisal Services are accepted by brokers and underwriters across the country and have received accolades from internationally recognized insurance companies. Reports strictly adhere to the rules and guidelines of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practices (USPAP) set by the Appraisal Foundation, which is based in Washington D.C. Erin Fossum is an Accredited Member of the International Society of Appraisers (ISA) and follows the report writing guidelines and ethics that are imperative to writing appraisal reports that will be accepted by insurance underwriters and adjusters.

Prove the Validity and Value of Your Precious Items

Theft, fire, or a natural disaster such as an earthquake or flood can leave collectors in a situation where they have no records, documents or photographs of the items that were lost. Insurance companies may play hardball with a team of their toughest adjusters when no record of a lost item exists. You will have to prove the validity of each claim, including that the item actually existed, that the item was property evaluated as to its condition, and the the item was competently valued at the time of loss. It is imperative that collectors protect their assets with an insurance appraisal before disaster strikes. In our experience, when an existing insurance appraisal is on file with an insurance company, adjusters are much more likely to compensate in a timely manner.

Note: The Inland Marine Underwriters Association (IMUA) recommends that fine art be appraised every three to five years.

Erin G. Fossum, MA

Accredited Appraiser

Erin specializes in appraising fine art, antiques & residential contents. She offers appraisals for a variety of purposes, including insurance, estates, donations and divorce.

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