Jewelry Insurance: Protecting Your Heirlooms

what-is-jewelry-insurance

A necklace passed down in your family for generations. Wedding rings exchanged at the altar. A beloved pair of diamond earrings gifted on a special birthday. All of these belongings have one thing in common: they're precious, incredibly personal mementos. This makes it all the more devastating when this jewelry is lost, damaged or stolen.

Luckily, there are several coverage opportunities to ensure your treasured jewels are protected and enjoyed for years to come. Homeowners can choose to add jewelry coverage onto their existing home insurance policy with a scheduled floater, or opt to purchase a separate jewelry insurance package. No matter which option you go with, you can rest easy knowing there are protective policies in place to keep you from overpaying to replace your treasures. 

Key takeaways:

  • Homeowners can choose to add on jewelry coverage to their homeowners insurance policy with a scheduled floater, or can purchase a separate jewelry insurance package.
  • Jewelry insurance covers a variety of incidents such as damage, theft or accidental loss, as well as mysterious disappearances (in certain cases).

What type of insurance covers jewelry?

When it comes to insuring jewelry, you typically have two options: adding a floater onto your existing homeowners insurance policy, or purchasing additional coverage from a separate jewelry insurer. Either option will add much-needed coverage to protect your jewelry. But if you already own a home, it’s smart to add on a floater (also known as adding a rider or scheduling an item) onto your existing policy.

Adding a floater onto your homeowner's policy is the easiest option for a few reasons. Not only is actually adding the coverage as easy as calling your insurer, it also streamlines the process when needing to file a claim. It can also be a much cheaper option — sometimes, as low as $20 on a piece of jewelry per year (but more on that later). However, with a floater you will have a lower limit allowed for the total amount of jewelry that can be added to your policy. 

How does jewelry insurance work?

Generally, a standard homeowner's insurance policy will include some coverage for valuable items — like antiques, appliances, jewelry and artwork. Most policies will only cover valuables up to an assigned dollar limit, usually around $1,500. However, if you add a rider onto your existing policy, this extends the amount of coverage your valuables have — even protecting you from events not covered in a homeowners policy, such as accidental loss, fire or hurricanes

However, if you have any high-value items, they'll likely need an appraisal to determine how much they can be insured for. How much your pieces are insured for depends on their value at appraisal, not the amount you paid for them. It's recommended that you get high-value jewelry appraised every two to three years to keep your beloved items properly insured for what they're worth. 

What’s covered with jewelry insurance?

Jewelry insurance covers a variety of incidents that could happen to your jewels. This includes damage, theft or accidental loss, as well as mysterious disappearances (in certain cases). Read on to see these circumstances broken down into more detail and real-life examples.

  • Accidental loss: Jewelry insurance covers any sort of loss that is considered not your direct fault — for instance, if your watch falls off in public or an earring falls down the kitchen sink.
  • Damage: This covers any exterior or interior damage to a piece of jewelry. This includes broken clasps, stones that fall off, broken batteries or any other damage.
  • Mysterious disappearance: In certain cases, jewelry insurance covers an item that has been either stolen or misplaced. For example, if you reach for a bracelet you haven't worn in six months to find it missing, but are unsure if it's been lost or stolen, your insurer may cover it. 
  • Theft: Like other belongings, your insurer has you covered if jewelry is stolen in petty theft or during a major home break-in. So if you were robbed and your engagement ring was stolen, you'll be covered. 

How much is jewelry insurance?

Compared to your total home insurance cost, jewelry insurance is only a small part. Whether you add on floater to your existing policy or choose separate jewelry insurance, most insurers will require one to two percent of the jewelry's value as a down payment per year. This means that if your diamond necklace is insured for $5,000, it would cost anywhere between $50 to $100 to insure that necklace yearly. 

If you have a smaller jewelry collection with only a few high-value items (such as an engagement ring and diamond necklace), your best coverage option would be adding a floater onto your policy. However, if you have a large, luxury collection with many expensive and one-of-a-kind pieces, speciality jewelry insurance will provide you with better coverage

Most insurers will require one to two percent of the jewelry's value as a down payment per year.

How do I claim lost jewelry for insurance?

If your earrings fall down the kitchen drain or a bracelet has gone missing, you'll want to check with your policy to see if "mysterious disappearances" are covered. While most insurers will cover accidental loss, some have policies against items that go missing unexpectedly. A mysterious disappearance is when an item has either been stolen or has gone missing and the owner doesn't know which one; accidental loss is when an item is lost with no way to retrieve it (such as a bracelet falling off your wrist).

Once you've determined if your policy covers your lost item, you'll want to file a claim with your insurance company as quickly as you can. Some insurers have a time limit for claims, so you'll want to ensure you get your claim filed in a timely manner.

Once your claim has been filed, a claims examiner from your insurer will schedule a time to replace your item with your jeweler. You will be asked to approve any replacements being made in the process, to ensure that the item you're getting is a suitable alternative for what you lost (both in terms of price and quality). 

Jewelry is much more than just a necklace or a ring. These objects are tied to emotions, memories and loved ones, and deserve to be protected just as closely as your home. Whether you choose to safeguard your jewelry with home insurance or a separate policy, you can rest easy knowing your most cherished belongings can be enjoyed for years to come.