From glittering bracelets and watches to sparkling rings and necklaces, jewelry can be found in almost every home. Unfortunately, these trinkets and charms are not always properly protected. If you own expensive or extremely valuable jewelry, it’s important to make sure you have the appropriate insurance.
Understanding the “sublimit”
You may assume your valuable jewelry is fully covered by your homeowner’s insurance. While most policies do cover jewelry, the payout is oftentimes much lower than the actual value of your bling.
Why wouldn’t your insurance pay the full value of your jewelry if it’s stolen from your home? It all comes down to what’s called the “sublimit”—this is the limit on the amount the insurance company will pay for specific types of personal property. Although your policy’s total personal property limit may be $75,000, the sublimit for jewelry may be as low as $1,500.
Read the fine print in your contract and find your policy’s sublimit for jewelry. If your jewels are worth more than the sublimit, you may want to purchase additional insurance.
Five steps to jewelry protection
If you decide to purchase additional insurance to fully protect your jewelry, follow these five simple steps:
- Get it appraised: If your jewelry has not been appraised within the last three years, take it to a jeweler for an appraisal. Be sure to choose a trustworthy jeweler who is a graduate of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). (Most insurance companies require that higher-end jewelry is appraised by a graduate of the GIA.) Look for the designations G.G., G.J. or A.J.P. at the end of the jeweler’s name to ensure they are well-educated and reputable.
- Look for the four C’s: If you are getting a diamond appraised, the appraisal should include a description of the four C’s: carat, cut, clarity and color. These four details allow the jeweler to make an accurate appraisal, which will be very important should you ever need to file a claim with your insurer.
- Consider inland marine coverage: You can either purchase this type of insurance coverage as a separate policy or you can have it added onto your homeowner’s policy as supplemental jewelry coverage. Inland marine coverage offers much more coverage for jewelry than just your homeowner’s policy alone.
- Keep jewelry locked away: Be sure to keep your valuable jewelry protected in a lock box at home. If you own jewelry that you rarely wear (such as family heirlooms), you may consider locking it up in a safety deposit box.
- Review coverage regularly: Look over your jewelry coverage at least once every two years to make sure it is up to date. Also, if you sell any jewelry or purchase new high-value pieces, it’s important to update your policy as soon as possible.
Whether your jewelry box is spilling over with brand new jewels or you own one or two family heirlooms that are absolutely irreplaceable, it’s important to protect these valuables. To learn more about jewelry coverage options, talk with your insurance agent.