Feb 11

Insuring Your Jewelry: To Insure or Not to Insure

By Calla Gold

Ring and Appraisal Form

Do You Need This Protection?

I am Not an Insurance Agent

I am Calla Gold, an opinionated (and excellent) custom designing jeweler in Santa Barbara. So let’s talk about insuring your jewelry from the perspective of my not trying to sell you anything.

Why Am I Talking About Insuring Your Jewelry?

What got me doing this post was when my client Hildy had her custom made by me ring stolen on a trip. Her insurer wanted their out-of-state jewelry store to provide a comparable value ring.

She wanted her family crest, not a generic one. The company eventually paid her to have me replicate her one-of-a-kind ring, but it showed me that not all insurance policies are the same. It taught her that it helps to know if the pieces you are insuring are really insured for replacement. And to ask, “How do you define replacement?”

What Might Happen if You’re Not Insuring Your Jewelry?

Nightmare of all nightmares: You return home after a wonderful night out with your husband to find your home’s been ransacked. It’s been stripped of all its valuables—including all your jewelry—and, horrors of all horrors, you’re not insured!

Grandma’s ring, the anniversary band your husband gave you on your twentieth, your lifetime collection of necklaces, all your earrings, bracelets, and chains…years of sentiment, all down the drain. Not a nice scenario.

Ring around money

To Insure or Not to Insure, it’s a Gamble.

Should You  Insure?

To insure? Or not to insure? That is the question. You’re betting you’re going to get ripped off at sometime in the future. The insurance company’s betting you won’t. And you’re the one putting up all the money.

Is that fair? Maybe it is…and maybe it isn’t. You have to decide. Value, sentiment, emotion, and your aversion to risk all play a part in answering that question.

What Existing Insurance Do You Already Have for Your Jewelry?

The first thing to do is to check your existing home owner’s or renter’s insurance policy and see what’s what. Most policies cover $1,000 to $15,000 of unscheduled personal property. Some policies go higher.

This means that if you loose $25,000 of jewelry—along with the TV, your three computers, your husband’s vintage pocket watch collection, and Mom’s good silverware—bummer. You’re sadly under-insured.

Rolled up Insurance Policy

How Detailed is Your Coverage?

Let’s Talk About “Scheduled” Jewelry Insurance

“Scheduled” means the item is listed separately and not lumped together with everything else. Scheduled jewelry insurance can be attached to your existing policy or it can be completely separate.

Scheduled jewelry insurance normally costs around $1 to $2 per $100 worth of jewelry per year. This means to insure $20,000 worth of jewelry could cost you $200 to $400 per year.

If you’re like me, you’re already paying for fire, car, health, life, liability, and just about every other kind of insurance under the sun. Is it worth the peace of mind to add jewelry to the list? You have to decide.

Four Things You’ll Probably  Need, to Insure Your Jewelry

1. The original receipt, if possible. I know, Great Grandma’s necklace didn’t get passed down with one. Nor did the engagement ring your first husband gave you. Don’t worry if you can’t come up with one. A good appraisal is worth more, anyway.

2. Certificates. Larger gemstones—especially diamonds—are often graded and certified by one or more industry accepted organizations. The two most recognized are the GIA and EGL.

Appraiser/ Jeweler looking in a microscope

An Appraiser Looking Carefully at Your Unique Piece of Jewelry.

3. An appraisal. Most insurance companies require appraisals, especially for more expensive items. Often, they won’t accept the one from the store from where you bought the piece. You’ll need to have a separate certified appraiser work up an appraisal/valuation  for you. Do ask what they require before getting your jewelry appraised/valued.

4. Pictures. Usually, these are included in the appraisal. Nonetheless, photograph all your jewelry for your own records.

Ten Questions to Ask Your Agent About Insuring Your Jewelry

Note: I’m not an insurance agent. And have never been one—this lifetime or last! I can’t answer all your questions. And like everyone else, I don’t always read the “fine print.” You’ll have to do that yourselves. Here are a few questions to ask:

1. Should you have blanket coverage for everything or a schedule of coverage for more significant items?

2. What exactly is covered? Are items listed separately in the policy or lumped in with all your other baubles?

Art showing insurance

What Kind of Rain on Your Jewelry Parade is Covered?

3. What kind of loss is covered: theft, the ring accidentally slipped off your finger at the beach? You were traveling in India and it was stolen? It got ground up in the garbage disposal? Other? Are there circumstances that aren’t covered? Make sure it’s all spelled out.

4. How will you be compensated if the ring is lost? Will the insurance company write you a check for the full value of the ring at the time you purchased it? Or at the time it was appraised three years later? Or its value today? Or will they pay the “replacement cost”? Whatever that would be.

5. If you lose an insured custom made ring, will they pay to have your jeweler replicate it or will they want you to go with their preferred jeweler who will provide a similar ring?

6. Ten years ago the cost of gold was $350 an ounce. Today it’s $1650. If your fifteen year old ring is stolen, will you be paid based on its original value or today’s?

7. Does the policy cover repair or partial loss? What if you just lost your center diamond but not the whole ring? What if your bracelet slipped off your wrist in the driveway and you ran it over with the car?

8. What do you need to make a claim? A police report? A picture? A letter from God?

Angular view of a big ass safe

Would This Safe Lower Your Insurance Premiums?

9. Are there things you can do to lower the premium? Store your jewelry in a safe or a bank safe deposit box? Install a burglar alarm in your house? Other?

10. What if you move into a higher crime neighborhood?

If it’s in Writing it’s True

Free advice: Make sure everything is spelled out in writing. If it isn’t written, it isn’t true! Your old agent, Bob, may have “told” you you’d be compensated “in full” for your wedding ring if it was ever “lost.”

Unfortunately, Bob met his maker five years ago, and according to your new agent, Sally, your policy doesn’t cover this particular type of loss. She’s terribly sorry, but her “hands are tied.”

Six Steps You Can Take to Protect Your Jewelry

With or without coverage, there are things you can do to insure the safety of your jewelry:

1. Regularly check all your jewelry for wear and tear. This especially includes the prongs holding your gemstones and the clasps on all your chains and bracelets. Periodically have a professional jeweler check your more valuable and frequently worn pieces.

2. Make sure your rings fit properly. Loose rings slip off fingers. Men are especially susceptible to this malady. Read my blog on how to properly measure for your finger size for a ring.

Pricked ears Doberman

Could Your Choice of Dog Make Your Jewelry Safer?

3. Keep your jewelry locked up. A bank vault is safest but personal, home safes are good, too. They’re even better when bolted to the floor or in the wall. The easier it is for you to comfortably access your jewelry the more you’ll wear it. So don’t lock it away so well that it’s a pain to get to.

4. Leave your jewelry at home when traveling in various third world countries (and certain cities in the US!).

5. Take off your jewelry before going to the beach, weeding and planting bulbs, repairing your plumbing, working out at the gym, building snowmen, and countless other activities that don’t require “bling.”

6. Keep a file of all your jewelry. Include pictures, receipts, certificates, and appraisals. This might not insure its safety but it’d be nice to have as proof for the police that the recovered jewelry was in fact yours. It wouldn’t hurt to keep a copy of this information in a safe deposit box, as well.

Engagement Ring on Woman's Hand

“I’m Totally Insuring My Ring!”

To insure. Or not to insure. That is the question. The decision is yours.

Here are a couple of good resources for you about insuring jewelry:

JCRS and Information on gemstones, diamonds, what insurers need from you and details on insuring jewelry.

About.com’s Carly Wickell’s excellent article on insuring jewelry

Jewelry Insurance Specialists

These companies specialize in insuring jewelry:

Chubb Personal Insurance

Jewelers Mutual

Calla Gold
Custom Designing Jeweler

 

33 thoughts on “Insuring Your Jewelry: To Insure or Not to Insure

  1. Good comprehensive article, Calla! Lots of good points. I think if you have expensive pieces they should be insured individually. If you have pieces that are not expensive..Yurman etc…they don’t have to be and can be insured under the general, but pictures and a list are a must! Otherwise, you don’t know what you have or what was taken or what needs to be replaced!

    Lee

    • Lee,
      Thank you for your well thought out advice on what to insure separately and what to include in your blanket coverage.
      And photos are a brilliant idea!
      Thanks Lee!
      Calla Gold

  2. OK, kind of a boring topic. But you know what? I read the whole thing and found it very informative.
    I also realized I am under-insured. I’m that person who has the lump coverage. I wrote up all my valuables after reading this and had an unpleasant wake-up call.
    Thanks to you I’m going to visit my insurer and fix my funky under coverage.
    Thank you for this boring and super helpful post Calla.
    Tracey

  3. Calla, this is excellent advice with the points you spell out to ask your insurance agent. I think it is very helpful to make friends with your insurance agent, as he/she will spell out exactly what the implications are as for you and your jewelry under your chosen policy.
    A blanket policy with separate itemized insured articles is always a safe bet and really saves you in the long run.
    Thank you for this chock full of information jewelry insurance post.
    Jackie

    • Jackie,
      I like what you said about making friends with your insurance agent. I myself like to blur the lines and I socialize with clients and providers. It’s been pretty great over the years.
      Calla

  4. I see that Calla Gold Jewelry does more than sell jewelry and custom design rings. This article is so important! Thank you so much for this important information about insuring your jewelry. I would not have known all of these questions to ask an insurance agent without you!
    Admittedly it’s an easy area to overlook.
    Seriously this should be more out there, like in a magazine!

    http://www.lynnkjones.com/

  5. Calla,
    Thank you for getting into the jewelry industry advice mode.
    I guess it is a bit sideways from what you usually write about, but I found your links helpful and question to ask when insuring your jewelry to be spot on.
    Sue

    • Sue,
      I’m glad you liked the questions to ask your insurance agent when insuring your jewelry. I spent some time on that. It’s wonderful to get feedback and it guides me to new blogging topics.
      Stretching my blogging wings,
      Calla

  6. Calla:

    I am an insurance agent and want to compliment you on a very good analysis of the various insurance coverages.
    I obviously agree that people should have insurance and that they should contact an agent to get further information.
    I would like to point out that your homeowners insurance does not cover the jewelry that is in your business as a jeweler and you should have separate coverage for that. And yes, I can provide that.
    I have designed an insurance program specifically for designers and have many clients in the jewelry business.

    Michael

  7. “You were traveling in India and it was stolen?”

    Things can get stolen in any country. Its sad that you have to single out only one country. Having lived in India for a very long time, I had nothing stolen.

    The article is written with a poor taste and is biased.

  8. I didn’t even know you could insure your jewelry. I have some expensive pieces that I need to look into getting insured then. Its good to know that if you lose or misplace your jewelry or it is stolen you can get it replaced at no cost to you.

    • Hi Dave,
      I did research and write the insuring your jewelry blog, but I’m not sure that it will be completely without cost to replace your insured jewelry. I know it doesn’t work that way with cars.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla Gold

  9. I received a letter from State Farm yesterday stating that my diamond ring, which is insured separately, would become their property if a claim for replacement was made due to loss or damage. So why insure it if the insurance company would end up owning it in the event of a claim?

    • Hi Vicky,
      I have reached out to a State Farm representative and will give you more of an answer with their help. I’d like to really understand what they mean before I give an opinion.
      Calla Gold

      • Hi Vicky,
        Tammy Dobrotin, a State Farm agent in Santa Barbara had this to say in response to your question:
        “That clause applies if we have already paid for the piece. So, for example, if it is lost and we pay for the item, then it is found. The original piece is owed to State Farm since we already paid for a new item. Insurance is designed to put you back in the position you were in before the loss, not to better your position. It also applies if the piece isn’t repairable. We will pay for a new piece, so the damaged piece is owed to State Farm.

        I hope this helps. Please let me know if you’d like any additional clarity.”
        Tammy Dobrotin
        State Farm
        Vicky, I recommend that people insure their wedding rings in case of loss. If you then found it I can see why they wouldn’t want you to end up with two rings. You wouldn’t give it up if you didn’t want to. If they said a repair would take too much and wanted to replace your ring and take your old one you have a choice. Keep it? Or give it up for a replacement.
        I hope that answers your questions.
        Your Personal Jeweler,
        Calla

  10. Thank you for your time and effort in getting further information. I will be calling my agent for some interesting conversation. (!)
    Vicky

  11. Great info
    I have needed to talk with too many insurance people to get this info on jewelry insurance that you say in plain English. Thanks.

    • Dear Gene,
      It means a great deal that you have let me know this was helpful. I too have been confused by conflicting explanations about jewelry insurance. I felt a need to see if I could de-code the labyrinthine twists and details of this more complicated than it should be process. Your words are sweet!
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  12. Calla,

    Thanks so much for this post! I recently bought a Cartier ring for myself and have been trying to research insurances for jewelry. What I know now is there are some companies who do cash outs meaning they write you a check and others replace it. Do you have any recommendations on insurance companies maybe top 2 for either option?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Amber,
      Thank you for writing. I want to open the door to understanding your options, but I’m not comfortable drilling down to recommending specific companies for specific coverage options or payout options.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  13. I purchased an expensive ring and was told by the salesman that it came with a warranty for loss if a stone inspected every 6 months and that I could also purchase a separate policy that didn’t require inspection to cover loss, damage or theft of the ring. I lost it on vacation now they say it only covers loss of a stone. I was mislead which they of course deny.

    • Hi Pam,
      Whenever I sell an expensive engagement ring I tell my client to “run, don’t walk” and get it insured. Insurance covers loss, theft, and probably little diamonds falling out.
      This is just my opinion, but the jeweler creates beauty and gorgeous jewelry, but isn’t an insurer. I’m not sure you were mislead so much as not educated about the service they were offering.
      If my client lost their ring I would be sad for them and hope they had insured it and been extra kind in the cost to re-create their ring, but I know they would not think it had anything to do with me that their ring was lost, stolen or damaged in a fall.
      I am sorry for your loss.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  14. Great piece of information you shared in here..thanks a lot. Jewelry insurance isn’t something we’re born knowing about. Unlike our born in love of jewelry.

    • Hello Lindas,
      Thank you for popping by. I’ve been asked plenty of time about insuring jewelry so I thought I’d share what I knew and had been told all in one place.
      Interesting what you say about us being born loving jewelry. I think I definitely have the gene.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  15. I came home drunk the other night and decided to hide my diamond earrings (in their box), my partner gave to me for my 25th birthday. I had a little look and couldn’t find them but they were in the house so I wasn’t worried. Then my partner cleaned out our cupboard cause we are moving to the US and said he didn’t see them. They have got to be in the house right, nothing has left. WRONG my partner threw out a bag of rubbish. While cleaning and it those bags, must be my earring. I looked up replacing them – 5K 🙁 I can’t spend that type of money right now, as I am not working next year in the US. I did not know they were worth 5K or I would have been a little more frantic with them and insured them incase I lost one. Your post was helpful and informative and I found it interesting. I feel sick to my tummy knowing they are gone, at 25 they are the only real jewellery that I own and now they are gone. My partner isn’t talking to me either. I feel like if they were insured, I would not feel so sick to my tummy. I wish I had know. I will keep looking, although I have turned the house upside down twice now. Wish me luck and insure your jewellery it will put unnecessary strain on your relationship if you don’t and an accident happens.

    • Dear Sky,
      That is a very sad and cautionary tale. I think the important part of your story is how it has affected your relationship with your partner. That is painful and I suppose only time will paper that over.
      It is good advise to know the value of your jewelry so you can make a considered decision on whether or not to insure your jewelry.
      One day you’ll be able to replace them and that will greatly heal your loss.
      From my perspective, having lost things, having made decisions I regret, the nicest thing you can do for yourself and your partner is to decide not to blame either yourself or your partner. It happened, that sucks, but what’s more important is your happiness and your relationship’s happiness.
      One day you’ll have diamond studs again. It may be ten years, but it’ll happen. Until then, maybe wear a pair of cz studs.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

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