Insurance: An ounce of preparation is worth thousands (literally)!
It happens about four times a year here at Goldmine . . . We get the phone call from our customer that their engagement ring or wedding band has been lost, damaged or stolen and needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, this is when people find out that their insurance is lacking and will not cover the extent of the loss or theft.
So, let's talk about insurance, specifically Jewelry Insurance. The last thing you want is to learn all of this information after a loss.
There are a few different kinds of insurance available to a private party: Homeowners or Renters insurance with or without a jewelry rider, specialized jewelry insurance through a separate company, or hoping for the best with no insurance at all. (The last is certainly not recommended!)
Homeowners policies with no special riders only insure between $1000-2000 in jewelry per loss. There are very few pieces of quality precious metal and gemstone jewelry that will fall within this window. In addition, many homeowners policies will want to replace your jewelry using one of their vendors, thus limiting your choices and the ability to really replace what you lost. This may be fine if you lost a pair of plain diamond stud earrings, but certainly not for a custom one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry.
Most folks who don’t have insurance or are underinsured are operating under the false assumption that insuring their jewelry will be prohibitively expensive. This is actually not the case; in fact most specialized jewelry insurance can cost between .85%-3% of the value of the item per year. Meaning that for $10,000 in coverage, it can be between $85-300/ year for coverage.
Depending on the company and the type of policy selected, this insurance can cover loss of stones, theft, damage, and simple loss. It will not cover repairs due to normal maintenance issues, such as rebuilding prongs.
Now that we all agree that insurance is fairly reasonable price-wise, where do we go from here?
First, you need to know what your jewelry is worth. If you have an appraisal within the last 18 months, you are all set. If not, the next step will be to obtain an appraisal. A retail jewelry store is one place to have your jewelry appraised, but it will almost always be biased to some extent, as their job is to sell you jewelry. We prefer to send people to a third party appraiser, one who only does appraisals. This is to avoid potential conflict of interest and will give you the most accurate valuation of your jewelry.
We recommend Larry Azose of Gemological Consulting Services here in Seattle. He does appraisals by appointment Monday through Friday. For appointments call 206-624-3798 or visit gemcsi.com
Bring in any former appraisals or documentation on the jewelry that you have. You can expect to pay around $160 for most appraisals.
Before you bring it in, make sure your jewelry is clean and in good working order. Ok, now we have the appraisal, what's next?
Look at different policies. Contact your insurance company and find out what their policy does and does not cover.
Next, let's explore the options for coverage.
• Homeowners or Rental insurance with no additional coverage. This is the baseline of coverage, and as previously discussed, usually offers between $1000-2000 in coverage.
• Homeowners or Rental insurance with a separate rider. This is a great option, as it gives you the opportunity to list your jewelry as a separate item. There are two kinds of insurance available under this option, and both may not be available through all insurance carriers.
• Replacement value coverage: This is ideal in the fluctuating metals market right now. This allows you to get your item replaced, not just get cash for the appraised value. The important part is to talk to the insurance company about their policies on how you can get the item replaced. Will they let you go to the original maker of the item, or will they want to replace it with their vendor’s item that may or may not be similar? A perfect example is a Goldmine original design, will they let you go back to us to get it re-made or will they try to replace it for you from another vendor?
• Appraised value coverage: This will be an ideal situation if your insurance company won’t give you the choice of where to get the jewelry replaced if there is a loss. Basically, they will give you cash based on the appraisal’s stated value.
• Separate jewelers insurance company. The last, and (in my opinion) best option for jewelry coverage.
We like Jewelers Mutual Insurance and they are available online. They insure only jewelers and jewelry and offer no-deductible policies, are very price competitive, and in most cases let you return to the original jeweler to re-make the piece. Because they are an exclusively jewelry insurance company, they are experienced in jewelry, which is beneficial when facing a loss. http://www.jewelersmutual.com
Again, each company will be different. Don’t forget to check and compare deductibles and how often you need to have your items reappraised as well.
So, what are you waiting for? Go get your jewelry insured!
Please note, we are not insurance experts or agents, we are simply trying to convey information to you that can be helpful. For more information, here are some links to more online articles about jewelry insurance.