European art thieves, and $163 million worth of stolen art, remain at large today as officials in Switzerland continue to piece together how four masterpieces were heisted from a Zurich museum on Sunday. “[It’s] probably the biggest art robbery in Europe,” said a spokesman for the Zurich police.
The three robbers, wearing dark clothes and ski masks, walked into the Emile Bührle Foundation on Sunday, just before a before the close of the museum. The collection is considered to be one of the biggest privately owned collections of French impressionists in the world. According to reports, one thief held a gun and ordered visitors and staff members into the main room of the museum, while the two other men removed four paintings from a different gallery. The masterworks included, Claude Monet’s “Poppy Field at Vetheuil,” Edgar Degas’ “Ludovic Lepic and his Daughter,” Vincent Van Gogh’s “Blooming Chestnut Branches,” and Paul Cézanne’s “Boy in the Red Waistcoat.” Police say they searching for connections to a theft of two Picassos, worth approximately $4.4 million, that took place in nearby Pfaffikon last Wednesday.But art and expensive goods in people’s homes are rarely given the same security and insurance considerations that an equivalent piece would be given in a museum. Many people blithely assume that just as having a lock on the front door will keep thieves out, their homeowner’s insurance will cover some of their most treasured goods. That’s not always so.
Most standard home owner’s insurance policies limit coverage for items such as valuable papers and securities, silver, firearms, jewelry, furs, and watches. This limit can be as low as $1,000, sometimes for all those items combined.
In order to protect customers with a substantial amount of valuables some insurance brokers offer additional home owners coverage. According to Jim McGrath of the McGrath Insurance Group, Inc. “individuals can usually add their jewelry, artwork, etc. to their home owner’s policies, which is the most common way of insuring valuables. The other option is to purchase a separate valuable articles policy.”