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Jewelry Theft: Know Your Coverage Options & Protect Your Valuables

Tuesday, October 10, 2023
Jewelry Theft: Know Your Coverage Options & Protect Your Valuables

Jewelry often carries financial and sentimental worth, which is why we go to great lengths to protect it. In fact, surveys often reveal that jewelry is one of the top items people would save in a house fire. It is commonly believed that lost jewelry would be covered under their homeowner’s insurance policy under personal property coverage. However, that is not the case. Mysterious disappearance or lost jewelry is not a covered peril under a homeowner’s policy, thus excluding coverage.

There is some coverage for jewelry under a homeowner’s policy, but the items need to be damaged by a covered peril such as fire, windstorm, lightning or theft. Additionally, a homeowner’s policy has a sub-limit of jewelry coverage of $1,000 or $2,000. A loss of this nature is also subject to your homeowner’s deductible.

What Are My Coverage Options? 

You should purchase an inland marine or “valuable collections” policy. This allows your valuable items to be protected against covered perils and mysterious disappearances (which covers losses when the cause is unknown).  

These policies are cheap, typically only one percent of the jewelry’s appraised value. For example, if you had a $10K engagement ring, it might only cost you $100 to insure for the year.  

Below are other benefits of investing in “valuable collections” coverage: 

  • Policies typically have a $0 deductible. 

  • Written with agreed value vs. replacement cost. This means that in the event of a loss, you receive a check for the exact dollar amount the item was insured for, rather than having an insurance carrier try to replace the item to the best of their ability. 

  • An inland marine claim does not affect homeowners’ insurance premiums or future insurability. 

What Steps Should I Take to Insure My Jewelry? 
  • Have your jewelry appraised: You can do this in-store or by an independent appraiser. Have each piece listed separately with its value. 

  • Review your homeowner’s insurance policy: This will help determine whether the value of your items exceeds policy limits. Additionally, if any pieces of your jewelry are family heirlooms, make note of them and be sure to photograph them from various angles – they may necessitate additional coverage. 

  • Store your most valuable jewels in a fire-proof safe or safety deposit box. 

  • Have jewelry inspected and reappraised frequently: Keep a keen eye on the value of items and collections. Since they fluctuate in value, adjust your coverage accordingly. 

  • Conduct a home inventory: Take detailed photos of every room in your house. Photograph valuables against a white background – also, place common household items next to your valuables as size references. Take photos of the serial numbers in your appliances. Store digital copies in a safety deposit box, which you can store in your home and at your office. Additionally, use video to document these same details. 

  • Complete a home inventory checklist: Itemize all possessions and include the following information:

    • Item description
    • Date purchased 
    • Quantity 
    • Current Value 
    • Purchase Price 
    • Retailer’s Location 
How Can I Better Protect my Jewelry? 

The following tips will prevent theft or help in the aftermath of a robbery: 

  • Install a security system. Not only will this help in the aftermath of a robbery, but it may also qualify you for a discount on your premiums. 

  • Always keep your doors and windows locked in your home and your car. 

  • Replace door locks periodically. 

  • Keep all entrances secure and well lit. 

  • Plan accordingly when you go out of town. You’ll want to avoid the appearance of an empty house. Here are some ways to make your home appear lived in: 

  • Place a hold on mail/newspaper delivery at the post office. 

  • Ask someone to mow your lawn or shovel your snow. 

  • Place light on a timer in the evening. 

  • Avoid posting online when you are traveling. 

  • When traveling, put your valuable items in your carry-on instead of your suitcase. 

  • If you must remove jewelry when outside of the home, keep it in a secure place. A secret zipper compartment inside of a bag is a nice place to temporarily keep jewelry. 

  • Store valuable items out of sight when you invite guests into your home. Keep fine jewelry in a safe. Do not store them in a regular jewelry box (you should only store costume jewelry in there). 

What Next Steps Should I Take to Get Started? 

To determine how much coverage you need, set up a consultation with one of Horton’s personal insurance experts. We can help you evaluate your risks and ensure that your exceptional pieces of jewelry are covered accordingly. 

Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.