jewelry insurance, fine jewelry appraisal

Your Special Fine Diamonds & Jewelry: The Smart & Wise Way to Protect It

by Kat Morrow

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Buying fine diamonds and jewelry for yourself and receiving jewelry as a gift is an experience. We feel a variety of emotions throughout the entire process, right? We treasure the moment of the gift—whether it’s from ourselves or someone else—just as much as we treasure the piece of jewelry itself.

Do you remember how you felt the first time you bought a piece of fine jewelry for yourself? You probably felt butterflies in your stomach when you saw that ONE pendant or ONE ring which stood out amongst all the rest and asked to try it on. A sense of joy overcame you as you just knew it was the one for you. You smiled and felt like a $million dollar as you walked out of the jewelry store wearing your new special piece. When someone compliments that necklace or ring, you love recounting the story of how you found it and just had to have it.

Have you ever received an heirloom diamond ring for your engagement or anniversary? How did you feel when your beloved slid that special ring on your finger? That piece of jewelry holds the energy of your ancestors and so much meaning. You can feel the strength, courage, and power of the women who came before you as you proudly wear the ring that signifies the commitment of your loved one. When someone compliments your diamond engagement or anniversary ring, you’ll tell the story of how you were proposed to. You’ll relay the details of who it belonged to, the age of the piece, and how grateful you are to carry on the legend of this ring.  

Even though fine jewelry pieces are valuable and there is a risk of possible loss or damage, you love them and want to wear them every day. To set your mind at ease so that you can have peace of mind lovingly wearing them daily, here are a few things to consider to ensure you’re covered if a special piece of jewelry is lost or broken.

Is Homeowners Insurance Enough?

Your homeowner’s insurance may adequately cover your jewelry when it is listed as a “scheduled” item. Most likely, your jewelry is NOT covered adequately if your item falls into the general coverage of unscheduled items with limits of only $500 to $2500.

Scheduled means you’ve provided your agent or insurance company with a written, detailed insurance replacement appraisal and evaluation performed by a jewelry professional, and they attach a “floater” to your policy.

The preferred type of jewelry professional would be a GIA Graduate Gemologist experienced in performing jewelry appraisals. Without this document filed as part of your homeowner’s policy, you may not receive a fair and full replacement of your jewelry item in case of loss or damage.

Jewelry loss or damage varies greatly amongst insurance companies, so you must review this coverage with your agent. Desirable coverage would include protection against loss, theft, damage, and even mysterious disappearance. Deductibles can vary widely as well, so knowing what you’re comfortable with as an out-of-pocket expense in the event of a claim will determine what you are willing to bear cost-wise. Deductible limits affect the premium cost of the insurance.  

Another important question to ask when choosing to insure your jewelry as part of your homeowner’s insurance is if, in the event of a claim, it will affect my renewal premium or my ability to renew my homeowner’s policy if claims are too large or too often.

A little-known fact rarely disclosed by insurance companies in the event of loss or damage is you, as the policyholder, have the right to have your jewelry item repaired or replaced at the jeweler of your choice. Most insurance companies have preferred jewelers they like to work with, but it might not be a place you are familiar with nor feel comfortable working with as they may be out of state, etc.

They may try to sway you to work with their referral, but you are not obligated to do so. If you have a preferred jeweler you want to work with, perhaps the jeweler where the item was purchased or appraised, then you can request your insurance company work with them on the repair or replacement.  

If you decide you really do not want your jewelry item repaired or replaced and prefer to have a “cash-out” paid by the insurance company, just know you’ll receive the “wholesale” replacement cost of the item and NOT the “retail” insurance replacement value listed on the appraisal document.  

Should You Get a Separate “Jewelry Only” Policy?

There are a few companies that specialize in insuring only jewelry. This is definitely the preferred way of covering your jewelry. The advantage is they typically have equal or greater coverage than most homeowner’s policies, their premiums are competitive with homeowner’s policies, and they send you back to your originating jeweler or appraiser for any repair or replacement since you already have a relationship and comfort level in dealing with them.

The bonus here is since it is a separate policy not connected to your homeowner’s policy, any claims in no way affect your homeowner’s coverage. This is exactly what I do to protect my own personal jewelry. Reach out to me if you want information on one of these companies, and I can connect you.   

The Importance of a Professional Jewelry Appraisal

A jewelry appraisal is more than a piece of paper. It’s a detailed document that includes a comprehensive description of the piece, gemstone size, quality, color, clarity, rarity, metal type, photographs, and more.  

It’s extremely imperative you obtain your jewelry appraisal from a qualified and experienced professional—typically a GIA Graduate Gemologist. Not all jewelry appraisals are created equal, so to ensure you receive an adequate repair or replacement in the case of loss or damage, this professionally prepared document serves as your record of the exact nature of the item.  

Are our jewelry appraisals worth it? Absolutely. No question about it. It provides proof of ownership, will make claims quicker, gives you peace of mind, and protects your jewelry investment. An appraisal gives you a better understanding of the insurance coverage you’ll need should your fine jewelry pieces get lost or damaged.

There are various types of appraisals, but the type you will need to cover your jewelry for loss or damage is an “Insurance Replacement Appraisal.”  Fees for professional jewelry appraisals vary depending on the appraiser’s reputation, experience, and credentials, as many factors come into play when determining the value of fine jewelry. It’s vitally important to begin the process with your eyes wide open and with as much knowledge as possible. Do your research in vetting a potential appraiser.  

You can reach out to me for further information or clarification, as well as for my recommendations. With my decades of experience in the jewelry industry as a GIA Gemologist, diamond and jewelry buyer and appraiser, and a former owner of a multi-store chain of fine jewelry stores, I feel confident I can help you navigate the complexities of proper jewelry identification and evaluation and the necessary insurance coverage to have. I want the whole process to be easy for you, and I’ll ensure you get honest and accurate information.

I’m here to help, so you don’t have to go through this process with any doubts. Just reach out, and we’ll connect!

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