Each month Americans write checks for home insurance, health insurance, and even car insurance. Insuring these things makes sense—they are expensive and necessary to daily life and routine, but many feel that jewelry is a vanity that doesn’t require the same protection.
Lets compare jewelry to cars. Cars depreciate in value as soon as they are driven off the lot, malfunction often, and even the best-kept vehicles deteriorate within a few decades. Fine jewelry, on the other hand can cost nearly as much as a car and often even more. Precious gems and metals neither lose their beauty to time nor depreciate in value, and yet they are seldom insured, written off as baubles. Pieces can become heirlooms over time, and cannot be remade should any misfortune befall them. It’s true what they say: you don’t appreciate something until it’s gone. Just imagine the emotional and financial sting if your fiancé loses the engagement ring that cost you 3-months salary. Insuring your fine jewelry can make sure you never have to worry.
1. Take inventory. You can’t know what to insure or what you have unless you have an inventory. Open your jewelry box and make a list of all the items you believe are of value. Take photos as well, so that you have a written and visual record of all the fine pieces in your possession. (Note: this will also help is you have the misfortune of having to make a police report for theft.)
2. The original receipt, if possible. Obviously, the receipt from your great-grandmother’s engagement ring or emerald necklace will unlikely still be around, but for more recent purchase it may still be readily available.
3. Certificates. Diamonds and other precious gemstones are often graded and certified by the GIA. Having that certification not only denotes the authenticity of the stone, but also gives an exact measurement of quality that appraisers can neither deny nor ignore.
4. An appraisal. Many, if not all insurance companies require an appraisal to insure an item. Be aware that some companies prefer that the appraisal come from a source other than the jeweler/store the item had been purchased from. However, most jewelers do offer an appraisal service for a ballpark cost of about $50-200 per item, but if you or your family have a long-standing relationship with a jeweler, they will often perform an appraisal as a courtesy service.
5. Pictures. These you can take yourself when you take inventory, but are often done when an appraisal is made.
The first thing to do is look at the insurance you already have, specifically your homeowners’ insurance. The policy likely doesn’t just cover your roof and walls, but also your possessions within the house. Most policies cover $1,000 to $15,000 of unscheduled personal property, though it can be higher. Still, believe it or not, your valuables in the form of fine jewelry likely are worth more than your TVs making those numbers on the policy seem fairly weak.
If you feel that the insurance you already have is insufficient to adequately protect your jewelry, there are 2 options you can consider:
1. “Scheduled” Insurance. Don’t let the name of this insurance confuse you. Scheduled insurance simply means that the pieces you wish to insure are listed alone from the other items (such as computers, windows, TVs, and antique vases); whether it is on your existing policy or entirely separate. Typically for every $100 that a piece is worth, the insurance will cost $1-2. (ex: A $2,000 necklace will likely cost about $40 in insurance each year.)
2. Buy An Extra Policy. Jewelry protection insurance is a policy designed specifically for fine jewelry pieces, and because of its specificity, it is usually the best option for pieces of particular value, like heirlooms and gemstones of multiple carats.
At the end of the day, insuring your fine jewelry is just as important as any protecting any other investment you make. Hamilton is happy to help you with any questions or appraisals you may wish to make. Contact us to learn more about the appraisal process and other services we offer for your fine jewelry and timepieces.
Learn more about how diamonds are valued.