Government Indemnity Scheme

An alternative to insurance for art and cultural objects on public exhibition in the UK.


The Government Indemnity Scheme (GIS) is an alternative to commercial insurance. It allows art and cultural objects to be shown publicly in the UK which might not have been otherwise because the cost of insurance would have been too high. This guide explains what the scheme covers and how to apply.

The scheme:

  • covers objects on loan from private lenders and other non-national institutions
  • provides cost-free indemnity cover for loss or damage when items are on short- or long-term loan
  • encourages non-national institutions to hold important exhibitions, or add to existing collections
  • allows institutions to borrow objects or works of art for study purposes

Any publicly accessible institution is eligible to apply for indemnity cover.

What it covers

GIS can cover objects and artworks during:

  • transit to and from the borrowing venue
  • storage
  • setting up
  • display
  • dismantling

The scheme saves museums and galleries around £15 million a year.

How we support it

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS):

  • issues indemnities in England and Northern Ireland (for international loans) to non-national museums, galleries and libraries (devolved administrations issue them in Scotland and Wales)
  • funds Arts Council England (ACE) to administer GIS
  • reviews and develops policy on GIS operation risk management
  • reports to Parliament the total amount of risk on a six-monthly basis, as required under the National Heritage Act 1980
  • approves payments for claims made through the scheme

More about the scheme and how to apply

You can find out more about the scheme and download application forms on the Arts Council website.

Published 26 February 2013