Tips to ensure proper coverage and replacement of lost or stolen precious items.
Statistics Canada reports that breaking and entering is the most common form of property crime. In addition to apparel and electronics, jewellery including rings, necklaces, watches and other luxury items are the most frequently cited items among home-loss claims. And with higher prices for gold and silver, the cost of insurance claims has increased as well.
While jewellery is covered under most standard home insurance policies, carriers often limit coverage to about $1,500 per item, though some may offer higher limits. If you own valuable jewellery that couldn’t be repaired or replaced for this amount, you need to consider increasing your insurance coverage.
One option is to “schedule” individual pieces of jewellery through the purchase of a supplemental policy, like jewellery insurance or a valuable articles policy. These policies generally offer broader coverage than a standard home insurance policy. For instance, if you lose an earring while showering, it would be replaced under this type of policy, but under not a standard policy. Supplemental policies range in price, but expect to pay about $1-2 per $100 value of the item per year.
No matter what jewellery insurance option you choose, there are certain steps you can take to protect yourself in the event of a loss. Carriers are experiencing an increasingly high volume of claims in this area. So take the following precautionary measures to make sure you are properly and efficiently reimbursed in the event of a claim.
- Document your valuables. Insurance carriers will tell you that the most important thing you can do is to document all your valuables and store that information in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box. The inventory should include receipts, appraisals, certificates of authenticity and photographs. Cataloging your jewellery will go a long way in creating a smooth insurance settlement process.
- Have your jewellery appraised. For items without a receipt, it’s a good idea to get the piece appraised to make sure you receive the proper replacement cost value (RCV). All jewellery covered by a supplemental policy must be officially appraised, as well. Insurers have specific guidelines for what constitutes a proper appraisal, so make sure yours will adhere to their requirements before scheduling it. Since the price of gemstones changes over time, it’s important to have your items reappraised every few years.
- Understand the conditions of your policy. Read your jewellery insurance policy thoroughly to understand exactly how and when your jewellery is insured. For instance, will your coverage change if you move to a different neighbourhood? Will your item be replaced if it is lost in a fire? What if it’s lost on the beach? Or what if you lose the centre gem but not the entire ring – does your policy cover partial loss? Reading the fine print will help you spot any gaps in coverage and give you the opportunity to purchase additional protection before anything unfortunate happens.
While nothing can replace the personal loss of a cherished ring, necklace or watch, jewellery insurance can at least reimburse you for the monetary value of the item. If you have special, high-value pieces that you want to protect, talk to your HUB agent about what your current coverage offers and the supplemental insurance options available.