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Insuring and Appraising Jewelry

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On your typical renters or homeowners insurance policy, if someone comes into your house and steals your television, you’re covered. The insurance company will either give you money for the value of the television or give you its replacement value (purchase price minus depreciation) and while that is a headache to deal with, your television is covered. That isn’t the case for jewelry and so we’ve decided to get a jewelry rider on our homeowners insurance policy to protect the jewels that I’ve showered my betrothed with.

Erik interjects (from the comments below but they’re very important) and corrects me on the fact that jewelry is covered, the limit is just usually low such that a rider is necessary to fully insure them:

… there IS coverage for jewelry that is stolen. Usually, your policy puts a limit on certain categories of personal property like jewelry, guns, cash, business property, and other special items. Like on my policy, it covers jewelry up to $1000, but only in regards to a theft. God forbid, if you have a huge fire in your home and you had jewelry damaged, then it would be covered up to the full amount of your coverage C limit. Because this limit is so small for jewelry theft, that is why everyone should schedule their expensive jewelry onto their policy, but don’t go thinking that your jewelry isn’t covered at all on the policy.

I thought the appraisal process would be akin to the home appraisal process where the lender wanted their own appraiser doing the assessing. Not so with jewelry. See, with a home appraisal, the lender wants to know the value of the home with respect to the area that its in. They already know the stats (square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.) and they’re just getting them in context, which is a big part of the value of a home. With jewelry, they don’t know anything and they’re just looking for a certified jeweler to record the information because if a loss occurs, they will look to that appraisal document to assess a current value. What the jeweler appraises the jewelry for is unimportant, except to determine a ceiling really.

Another interesting note for those of you who are recently engaged and thinking about getting insurance, I was able to get the jewelry rider on my homeowners because my fiancée lives at the same address as I do. If she didn’t, it’s technically her property and she would have to get a rider on her policy (if she had one) or she would have to have to get personal property insurance and get it linked to my account.

I found out that you can get insurance without having the jewelry appraised but you can’t file a claim without the appraisal documents. So, this weekend we plan on finding a jeweler to do the appraisal, which will cost something around $50 or so I imagine (I’ve done no research on this except read this little post), and then we’ll get ourselves that rider.

Diamonds better be forever. :)

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9 Responses to “Insuring and Appraising Jewelry”

  1. eROCK says:

    Very good to know, thanks Jim!

  2. Erik says:

    I am a claims adjuster, so I am forced to tweak your information a little bit. You are very right that EVERYONE should get a separate jewelry rider on their expensive jewelry. You’ll have a rude awakening if you think that you’ll get paid back the full value of jewelry that is stolen out of your home or apartment.

    However, there IS coverage for jewelry that is stolen. Usually, your policy puts a limit on certain categories of personal property like jewelry, guns, cash, business property, and other special items. Like on my policy, it covers jewelry up to $1000, but only in regards to a theft. God forbid, if you have a huge fire in your home and you had jewelry damaged, then it would be covered up to the full amount of your coverage C limit. Because this limit is so small for jewelry theft, that is why everyone should schedule their expensive jewelry onto their policy, but don’t go thinking that your jewelry isn’t covered at all on the policy.

    If you do fall victim to a theft, and your claims adjuster applies the jewelry limit on your policy, make sure that they absorb your deductible based on how much excess of your loss is not covered. Let’s say that you had a $2,000 watch stolen and you have a $1000 limit on the policy with a $1000 deductible. The adjuster should NOT apply the deductible. They should give you the $1000 straight up. Don’t let them try to tell you that this is a non-payment because of your deductible and the limit. Insurance companies should not penalize you with a deductible when you are already taking a hit on the value of the watch due to a special limit. Hope that helps.

  3. jim says:

    Erik – Thank you for tweaking my information, I’m by no means an expert so sometimes (oftentimes) I get things wrong, thanks for clarifying!

    I did forget to mention that there is default coverage, such as the $1000 max, and usually people get riders because they have more in value than that. Thanks for adding that!

  4. Katie B. says:

    One other benefit of the personal articles rider/endorsement that I would point out is the coverage provided for what insurance folks call “mysterious disappearance.” Normally a policy exclusion on homeowner’s policies, most personal articles riders insure against the loss of property due to means which cannot be identified, i.e. a diamond that falls out of its setting, or simply a lost necklace. Mysterious disappearance coverage is generally included in all personal articles riders, but that is something that you should definitely confirm is provided.

    Again, great site you have here!

  5. I got my wife’s engagement ring appraised when I had it set back into the ring; it was originally my mother’s ring and she had reset the diamond into a necklace. We left it on my mother’s homeowners policy until we bought our house, and then got the rider on our policy once we had our insurance and everything else squared away.

  6. I had the rider for on the jewelry on my home for my fiancee’s engagement ring and we didn’t live together. The insurance agency suggested it too. Perhaps your mileage will vary.

    If you have some military connections and can get USAA to insure your jewelry, I’ve found that it was quite reasonable.

  7. Vince says:

    I also had the jewelry rider for my renters insurance even though my fiancee did not live with me. As I bought the ring, my insurer considered me to have an insurable interest in it so it could be under my policy. Ditto on USAA, good claims service and reasonable premiums!

  8. Rootbeer says:

    While we have USAA for most of our insurance, we have my wedding ring insured through Jewelers Mutual. They specialize in jewelry, have you get the amount re-checked (as well as the ring inspected) every two years, and are VERY reasonable (although this can depend on what part of the country you live in) from what I’ve found.
    I lost my ring several years back in the ocean on a romantic beach walks. JM was great about everything and I have a ring that is virtually identical (with actually a slightly better diamond) and the whole replacement process was much less painful than the emotional impact of the lost ring.

  9. eds says:

    I had 2 rings from a previous marriage on consignment at a local jewelry store. They were recently robbed and my rings were stolen. I have appraisals on both pieces and they are covered by the store owners policy. The rings have no sentimental value so I wish to make a settlement with them, however, I do not know for what amount. Is it based on the current appraised value (13K) or what the rings actually cost when purchased or just on what they are willing to give me? I do not want to cheat myself and I do not want to be taken advantage of by the adjuster. I need advice! Thanks!


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