When you buy a new house, one of the first things you do is purchase homeowners insurance as protection in case of property damage or loss. Getting an auto insurance policy is standard practice after buying or leasing a car. And after getting engaged or inheriting a precious heirloom from a relative, buying jewelry insurance should be first item on your to-do list.
Comprehensive jewelry insurance is easy to obtain from companies such as Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group. In fact, here’s a step-by-step guide detailing everything you need to know about buying jewelry insurance.
1. First and foremost, thoroughly document your jewelry collection.
If the unthinkable happens and jewelry is lost or stolen, being able to produce a thorough accounting of your collection will be invaluable your insurer and the police.
Document every single piece you own in writing, and include as much detail as possible — for example, the number and weight of gems in each piece, what material the jewelry is made from, and where and when it was purchased. Also, take individual photos from all angles of your most valuable items, as well as group photos of other pieces.
Make sure you have print copies of these photos made, and then store them and your written list in a secure place; experts recommend an in-home safe or a safety deposit box. If you have original purchase receipts, gem certifications or design schematics, include those with the collection documentation.
2. Get your jewelry appraised.
Knowing what your jewelry is worth is crucial before buying insurance. If you’re recently engaged or married, the store where you bought any bridal jewelry should be able to provide a written appraisal. For items you’ve owned for a while or antique pieces you’ve inherited or purchased, a professional jeweler or appraiser should be able to provide value estimates for a nominal fee.
These appraisals and jewelry photos will come in handy when you reach out for an insurance quote, as some companies require this kind of documentation before approving applicants.
3. Go online and get a quote.
Most insurers offer calculators that deliver free, personalized quotes within seconds, and some even allow consumers to purchase a policy right away. Having a ballpark idea of how much it costs to insure your collection will help you map out the best policy for your needs.
In general, jewelry insurance can be tailored to cover the entire value of your collection in the event of loss, damage or theft. These policies are also affordable: Even insurance with a $0 deductible can cost a small fraction of the total value of your jewelry annually.
4. Take your lifestyle into account when purchasing a policy.
Jewelry insurance is specialized and flexible, which makes it easy for people to put together a policy that fits their lifestyle. If you travel frequently for work or leisure, consider buying jewelry insurance that offers especially robust worldwide coverage for loss or damage incurred when you’re not at home.
If you’re the type of person who often misplaces jewelry but doesn’t realize it until later, look into purchasing a policy that contains a clause for “mysterious disappearances,” which covers loss that happens without the consumer knowing when the piece went missing. And if you’re fond of wearing a favorite piece of jewelry such as an engagement ring every day, check to ensure your policy covers minor wear and tear (as well as repairs) in addition to loss, theft and replacement.
5. Prioritize what’s important to you in a jewelry insurance policy.
Jewelry owners are understandably very particular about their most prized accessories. Luckily, most policies take personal preferences and priorities into account. Some people opt to go to a trusted jeweler in the event of loss or damage, as this familiarity provides comfort during a stressful time. Other jewelry owners — especially people who own name-brand jewelry, such as Cartier, Tiffany or Harry Winston, or individuals who have custom-designed bridal jewelry — want to replace lost items only with something of equivalent quality, look and kind.
6. Don’t trust that your existing homeowners or renters insurance policy offers enough protection.
Although it’s true that standard homeowners or renters insurance is a common way to protect yourself in case of property damage or loss, it isn’t necessarily the best way to cover your priceless jewelry.
Some policies won’t cover jewelry damage or loss, much less the full price of a replacement item. Others require consumers to do time-consuming tasks in the event of a loss (such as obtaining estimates from multiple jewelers) or choose from a narrow, in-network list of jewelry repair or replacement companies.
However, most insurance companies do offer add-on riders to existing homeowners policies that specifically cover valuables such as jewelry, which could be a viable option for some.
7. Do your homework before buying an insurance policy.
Many places offer standalone jewelry insurance policies, so read reviews and do your research before purchasing, since this coverage can differ among firms. For example, although Jewelers Mutual provides only jewelry insurance, and has for over 100 years, not all companies have this specialized focus.
8. Don’t wait to buy jewelry insurance.
Jewelry carries wholly unique emotional weight, because each person associates cherished memories and stories with every item they own. A vintage engagement ring or necklace might represent colorful family history, while a custom-made diamond wedding band signifies deep commitment and unconditional love.
These irreplaceable, deeply personal sentiments underscore why it’s so important to secure and protect one-of-a-kind pieces before anything happens to them. Experiencing jewelry loss or damage has both physical and emotional ramifications. Thankfully, whether you’re sporting a new engagement ring or wearing an heirloom piece with sentimental value, there’s a jewelry insurance policy that’s right for you.