Tips to ensure proper coverage and replacement of lost or stolen precious items.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 8 percent of homes were victim to a property crime – including a burglary or theft in 2014. In addition to apparel and electronics, jewelry including rings, necklaces, watches and other luxury items are the most frequently cited items among home-loss claims.
While jewelry is covered under most standard home insurance policies, carriers often limit coverage to about $1,500 per item though some offer higher limits. If you own valuable jewelry that couldn’t be repaired or replaced for this amount, you need to consider increasing your insurance coverage .
One option is to “schedule” individual pieces of jewelry through the purchase of a supplemental policy, like jewelry insurance or a valuable articles policy. These policies generally offer broader coverage than a standard home insurance policy. For instance, if you lose an earring while showering, it would be replaced under this type of jewelry insurance policy, but not a standard policy. Supplemental policies range in price, but expect to pay about $1-2 per $100 value of the item per year.
No matter how you choose to insure your jewelry, there are certain steps you can take to protect yourself in the event of a loss. Carriers are experiencing an increasingly high volume of claims in this area, many of them are being closely scrutinized by the carrier for accuracy and fraud, so take the following precautionary measures to make sure you are properly and efficiently reimbursed in the event of a claim.
- Document your valuables. Insurance carriers will tell you, the most important thing you can do is to document all your valuables and store that information in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box. The inventory should include receipts, appraisals, certificates of authenticity and photographs. Cataloging your jewelry will go a long way in creating a smooth insurance settlement process.
- Have your jewelry appraised. For items without a receipt, it’s a good idea to get the piece appraised to make sure you receive the proper replacement cost value (RCV). All jewelry covered by a supplemental policy must be officially appraised, as well. Insurers have specific guidelines for what constitutes a proper appraisal, so make sure yours will adhere to their requirements before scheduling it. Since the price of gemstones changes over time, it’s important to have your items reappraised every few years.
- Understand the conditions of your policy. Read your insurance policy thoroughly to understand exactly how and when your jewelry is insured. For instance, will your coverage change if you move to a different neighborhood? Will your item be replaced if it is lost in a fire? What about on the beach? Or what if you lose the center gem but not the ring itself – does your policy cover partial loss? Reading the fine print will help you spot any gaps in coverage and give you the opportunity to purchase additional protection before anything unfortunate happens.
While nothing can replace the personal loss of a cherished ring, necklace or watch, jewelry insurance can at least reimburse you for the monetary value of the item. If you have special, high-value pieces that you would want to protect, talk to your HUB agent about what your current coverage offers and the supplemental insurance options available.