Jewelry Insurance 101: What Questions To Ask…And What Answers to Look For
There’s a special kind of excitement that comes from getting a new piece of jewelry. Getting caught up in the beauty, the sparkle, and the feeling you get wearing it can be intoxicating. The less exciting part of buying new jewelry is worrying about what could happen to it. Jewelry is often delicate and can be easily damaged, lost, or stolen. That’s why there’s jewelry insurance to make sure that if something does happen to your favorite piece of jewelry, you can have it fixed or replaced.
Jewelry Insurance Questions
We know buying any kind of insurance can be overwhelming (and certainly less fun than buying the jewelry you might want to insure!). That’s why we’ve simplified things for you. Here are the most important questions to ask about jewelry insurance and the answers to look for:
Q: What type of jewelry should be insured?
A: Insure any jewelry that is valuable to you. “Valuable” can mean dollars and cents. But it can also mean emotional value. That can include anything from wedding jewelry or watches to family heirlooms or custom-made pieces. When properly insured, if something happens to your jewelry, you will be able to have it repaired or replaced.
Another way to think about what to insure is to focus on the monetary value. If you lost it, could you easily replace it with out-of-pocket money? For example, a necklace purchased for $200 at a department store is probably easier for you to replace or repair than a $20,000 custom piece bought from a jeweler.
Q: How does jewelry insurance work?
A: Jewelry insurance works similarly to other insurance policies you may have. Since it’s designed specifically for jewelry it will typically cover more than a homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. Say you have a $10,000 vintage watch that you want to insure. Like any insurance policy, before you buy it you’ll get a quote from an insurance provider. You can start with an estimated value: $10,000. When you’re ready to buy, in order to ensure your quote is accurate and your coverage sufficient, you will need to provide an appraisal. This can be done either before or shortly after you buy coverage. The appraisal will confirm how much the item is worth – perhaps that vintage watch has become a favorite of collectors and its value has risen to $12,000. An appraisal helps both you and the insurer feel comfortable that if you do need to repair or replace jewelry that was lost, damaged, or stolen, you will have enough coverage to do so.
A couple of things to be mindful of when getting a jewelry insurance quote: Be sure to understand exactly what coverage the quote includes. Also make sure to inquire about any available discounts. The last decision you’ll make when buying jewelry insurance coverage is how large a deductible you want. A larger deductible can lower your premium, but means that you’ll bear more of the cost should you ever need to make a claim on your insurance policy.
Q: Does getting jewelry appraised cost anything and who can do it?
A. A jewelry appraisal is a report created by a professionally trained jewelry expert. In addition to providing an estimate of the current retail replacement cost (i.e. its appraised value), an appraisal includes a detailed description of the jewelry.
You may or may not have to pay for an appraisal. For a newly purchased piece, the jeweler from whom you purchased it will often provide an appraisal along with the jewelry. If the jewelry you want to insure is a family heirloom or something you’ve owned for years, you’ll likely have to pay for a jewelry appraisal. Appraisals vary widely in cost. The important thing is to ensure that your appraisal comes from a reputable and professionally trained jewelry expert who is qualified as an appraiser or a jeweler. While there are no national or federal regulations for jewelry appraisers, look for someone who has trained professionally, such as a GIA graduate gemologist.
One last note on appraisals: You should consider getting your jewelry appraised about every one to three years. The value of gemstones can change over time due to inflation and other factors, which can potentially change the amount of jewelry insurance coverage you need.
Q. What does jewelry insurance cover?
A. Look for a jewelry insurance policy that provides comprehensive coverage, including at least accidental damage, loss, and theft. Really good jewelry insurance will also cover ‘mysterious disappearance’ (i.e. unexplained loss). If an insured jewelry item is in need of repair or replacement, your policy should allow you to work with your local jeweler or let you select someone from a list of preferred jewelers. Some insurance companies require you to use only their jewelers, who often focus on doing repair or replacement work as inexpensively as possible.
Q. How much should jewelry insurance cost?
A. Costs for jewelry insurance can vary based on a number of factors, such as where you live, the value of the jewelry you are insuring, and which insurance company you consult. But coverage can cost as little as 1% to 2% of the jewelry’s value.
Q. What if the jewelry is under warranty?
A. A warranty from the jeweler that sold you your jewelry is common and can be helpful for fixing manufacturing defects. But warranties are not insurance policies and most warranties provide very limited coverage and are riddled with restrictions and limitations. Be sure to read the fine print of any warranty. Most won’t replace lost or stolen jewelry or cover all the costs to repair damaged jewelry other than damage due to manufacturing defects. Some warranties have expiration dates, so it shouldn’t be counted on as a long-term solution.
Insurance for Jewelry Just Makes Sense
While nothing – not even jewelry insurance – can completely replace the sentimental value attached to a special piece of jewelry given to you by a loved one if it is ever lost or stolen, a good jewelry insurance policy can help you do the next best thing: repair or replace your jewelry should something unfortunate happen to it. The key is finding the right insurance for you. Now that you know what to look for, buying a jewelry insurance policy doesn’t have to be a laborious or overwhelming task. So make sure you’re protected, then get back to what matters most!
Have other questions about jewelry insurance? Leave a comment below.
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