You made it through Valentine's Day - the time of the year when love is in the air and the pressure is on for your significant other to remind you how much you are admired (and vice versa). Whether you received chocolates, flowers, or a romantic dinner this Valentine's Day, jewelry was the favorite gift this year with over $4.1 billion spent on jewelry purchases in the U.S. Maybe Valentine’s Day was even the day your loved one popped the big question! While insurance was probably not the first idea that came to mind after receiving that shiny new diamond on your finger, one of your next steps should be to contact your Lighthouse insurance agent to put coverage on your new bling.
Jewelry losses are among the most frequent of all content related home insurance claims according to the Insurance Information Institute. With the standard homeowners insurance policy, jewelry and personal items would be covered if they were destroyed by specific disasters listed in your policy (such as a fire or hurricane). However, most policies limit coverage to $1,500 for lost or stolen jewelry. With the cost of engagement rings, wedding bands, and other jewelry items continuously rising, there is a good chance that those precious items you value may exceed your coverage limits on your homeowners or renters policy.
It is important to contact your insurance agent about adding additional coverage for your special items to ensure they are properly protected. You may be thinking “but I already have a protection plan on my ring from the jewelry store it was purchased from.” While you have this protection and it is beneficial, the typical protection plan provided by jewelers only covers specific repairs and services to the item alone. If you do not have your item regularly inspected, according to their guidelines, your coverage may be voided. Some jewelers offer a protection plan with limited theft replacement, however, those ordinarily only last for two years from the date of purchase and come with many stipulations. Losing the merchandise or “mysterious disappearance” of the entire piece is not covered (for example: while you're doing dishes your ring slips off your finger and goes down the drain and is unable to be recovered).
Simple steps can be taken to ensure your jewelry is properly insured:
Step 1) Contact your homeowners or renters insurance licensed insurance agent to see what your current policy covers. Consider purchasing additional personal property coverage to provide you with the necessary protection to replace the item if lost or stolen.
Step 2) Keep the store receipt from your jewelry purchase for your records and provide a copy to your agent when adding coverage for your item to be maintained as part of your insurance policy. This will help speed up the claim process if you have a loss. Make sure you also update your home inventory with your new jewelry. Learn how to make a Home Inventory. If you do not have the original receipt (usually the case when it comes to vintage and antique jewelry) or if you are adding an item you have owned for more than 3 years, be sure to have your item appraised for the replacement value and provide your insurance agent with the copy of the appraisal. And, remember, the price of precious metals and stones have been increasing in recent years so maintaining current appraisals and updating your coverage will ensure you are fully covered.
Step 3) Take a photo of your jewelry. Provide a copy of your photos to your agent with your receipt of appraisal and also maintain copies in your records. This is just another way to keep a record of your item to show what condition your jewelry is in and to assist in the claim process should you experience a loss.
Step 4) When not wearing jewelry, store in a secure location. The best way to keep track of your valuables, when you aren't wearing them, is to buy and have installed a safe in which to store your precious items. Or, consider a safe deposit box at your local bank. You can keep your receipt or appraisal in the safe as well.
Putting an insurance policy on your engagement ring or other jewelry may sound unromantic, but nothing could show you care more than ensuring your cherished items are forever secure. Hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day!