INSURANCE INFORMATION INSTITUTE
New York Press Office: (212) 346-5500; email@example.com
NEW YORK, February 14, 2011
— If you receive an engagement ring or other expensive piece of jewelry this Valentine’s Day, who are you going to call to tell about it? Your mother? Your best friend? Maybe you’ll post your good fortune on Facebook? While these may be your first impulses, if you want to protect your sparkling new gift, the most important call will be to your insurance agent or company representative to make sure you have the necessary insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute
Standard homeowners and renters insurance policies include coverage for personal items such as jewelry and other valuables. However, many policies limit the dollar amount for the theft of valuable personal possessions such as jewelry, furs and precious stones to $1,000 to $2,000.
“To properly insure jewelry, consider purchasing additional coverage through a floater or an endorsement,” said Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and consumer spokesperson for the I.I.I.
In most cases, this would also be covered you for ‘mysterious disappearance’. This means that if your ring falls off your finger or is lost, you would be financially protected. Floaters and endorsements carry no deductibles and frequently provide the option of having the insurance company replace the item for you.
Floaters and endorsements are available as additions to homeowners and renters insurance policies. Some companies also offer a stand-alone policy to cover jewelry without having to purchase a full homeowners or renters policy.
“While there is no way to insure the sentimental value of jewelry, at least having it properly insured will provide financial protection in the event it is lost or stolen,” noted Salvatore.
To make sure your jewelry is adequately protected, the I.I.I. suggests the following:
- Contact your insurance professional immediately
Let your agent or company representative know that you are now in possession of an expensive piece of jewelry. Find out how much coverage you have and if additional insurance is needed.
- Have the item appraised
Heirlooms and antique jewelry will need to be appraised for their dollar value. Ask your insurer for recommendations regarding a reputable appraiser. It is important that expensive items be appraised properly—if you purchase a floater or endorsement, you will pay a premium based on the appraised value and in the event of a claim, will be compensated for this dollar amount.
- Keep a copy of the store receipt
Forward a copy of the receipt to your insurer so that the company knows the current retail value of the item. Keep a copy for yourself and include it with your home inventory.
- Store valuables in a secure location
Protect your jewelry by storing it in a secure location in your home. If you do not plan to wear the item regularly or are holding it for a child, consider keeping it in a safe deposit box. You may save money on the cost of insuring it, as some companies offer ‘in vault’ coverage. If you want to wear the jewelry for a special occasion, many insurers will offer the option of purchasing additional coverage for the time it is out of the bank. You would, of course, have to notify your insurer ahead of time.
- Update the value of your jewelry
Expensive items can go up or go down in value. Talk to your insurance professional about how to make sure the dollar amount of your floater or endorsement reflects these changes. Prices for floaters and endorsements will vary depending on the type of jewelry, the insurance company you choose, where you live and where the item will be kept.
- Take a picture of the item
Get into the habit of keeping a visual record of all of your personal possessions. This helps to document your loss and speed up the claims process. It is also useful to document antique and unusual pieces of jewelry
- Add the item to your home inventory
Everyone should have an up-to-date inventory of their personal possessions. An inventory can help you purchase the correct amount of insurance and speed up the claims process when there is a loss. The I.I.I. has created free, online software, Know your Stuff® - Home Inventory, to make creating a home inventory easier. You can also add a digital photograph of your new gift and save scanned receipts. Computerizing your inventory makes updating easier and more efficient.
THE I.I.I. IS A NONPROFIT, COMMUNICATIONS ORGANIZATION SUPPORTED BY THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY.
Insurance Information Institute, 110 William Street, New York, NY 10038, (212) 346-5500