Insurance: An ounce of preparation is worth thousands (literally)!
It happens about 4 times a year here at Glitter and Gold... We get the phone call from our customer that their engagement ring or wedding band has been lost, damaged, or stolen and needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, this is when people find out that their insurance is lacking, and will not cover the extent of the loss or theft.
So, lets talk about insurance, specifically Jewelry Insurance.
The last thing you want is to learn all of this information after a loss.
There are a few different kinds of insurance available to a private party: Homeowners or Renters insurance with or without a jewelry rider, specialized jewelry insurance through a separate company, or hoping for the best with no insurance at all. (The last is certainly not recommended!)
Homeowners policies with no special riders only insure between $1000-2000 in jewelry per loss. There are very few pieces of quality precious metal and gemstone jewelry that will fall within this window. In addition, many homeowners policies will want to replace your jewelry using one of their vendors, thus limiting your choices and the ability to really replace what you lost. This may be fine if you lost a pair of plain diamond stud earrings, but certainly not for a custom one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry.
Most folks who don’t have insurance, or are under insured are operating under the false assumption that insuring their jewelry will be prohibitively expensive. This is actually not the case, in fact most specialized jewelry insurance can cost between .85%-3% of the value of the item per year. Meaning that for $10,000 in coverage, it can be between $85-300/ year for coverage. An example of a current coverage of an engagement ring and 2wedding band set that we made is $117/ year for $11,100 in coverage.
Depending on the company, and the type of policy selected, this insurance can cover loss of stones, theft, damage, and simple loss. It will not cover repairs due to normal maintenance issues, such as rebuilding prongs etc...
Now that we all agree that insurance is fairly reasonable price wise, where do we go from here?
First, you need to know what your jewelry is worth. If you have an appraisal within the last 18 months, you are all set. If not, the next step will be to obtain an appraisal. A retail jewelry store is one place to have your jewelry appraised, but there is often a conflict of interest, as their job is to sell you jewelry. We prefer to send people to a 3rd party appraiser, who only does appraisals. This is to avoid potential conflict of interest, and will give you the most accurate valuation of your jewelry. You don’t want to over-pay, and you don’t want to under insure as well.
Stores that offer their “in store appraisal” are most often using those “appraisals” as a sales technique and are not a true indicator of the value of the item.
I hightly recommend locally Larry Azose of Gemological Consulting Services here in Seattle. They do appraisals by appointment Monday- Friday. 206-624-3798 http://gemcsi.com/
You should bring any old appraisals you have, as well as any other documentation on the jewelry that you may have. You can expect to pay $110-150 for most appraisals.
Before you get the appraisal done, make sure your jewelry is clean and is in good working order. You are welcome to bring your jewelry to me for a cleaning and check, or if you are not local, most jewelers offer a “clean and check” service. It is best to have the piece in as good of shape as possible for the appraisal.
And, it should be noted, that a frequent visit to us, or a trusted jeweler, for a clean and check is a great way to prevent losses. We recommend every 3-6 months, and it’s a great way to bring the sparkle back! You may not notice those prongs wearing down, or a loose setting as you wear the ring and we will check over the whole ring and make sure it is in tip-top shape.
Ok, now we have the appraisal, what is next?
Now, we look at policies. The first step would be to contact your insurance company and find out specifically what the policy does and does not cover.
Next, lets explore the options for coverage.
Homeowners or Rental insurance with no additional coverage.
This is the baseline of coverage, and as previously discussed, usually offers between $1000-2000 in coverage.
Homeowners or Rental insurance with a separate rider.
This is a great option, as it gives you the opportunity to list your jewelry as a separate item. There are two kinds of insurance available under this option, and both may not be available through all insurance carriers.
Replacement value coverage: This is ideal in the fluctuating metals market right now. This allows you to get your item replaced, not just get cash for the appraised value. The sticky part is to talk to the insurance company about their policies on how you can get the item replaced. Will they let you go to the original maker of the item, or will they want to replace it with their vendor’s item that may or may not be similar. A perfect example is a Glitter And Gold original design, will they let you go back to us to get it re-made or will they try to replace it for you from another vendor?
Appraised value coverage: This will be an ideal situation if your insurance company won’t give you the choice of where to get the jewelry replaced if there is a loss. Basically, they will give you cash based on the appraisal’s stated value.
Separate jewelers insurance company.
The last, and (in my opinion) best option for jewelry coverage.
We like Jewelers mutual insurance, and they are available online. They insure only jewelers and jewelry, and they offer no-deductible policies, are very price competitive, and in most cases let you return to the original jeweler to re-make the piece. Because they are an exclusively jewelry insurance company, they are experienced in jewelry, which is beneficial when it comes time to a loss.
I hope that you find this article on insurance to be informative and beneficial!
Again, each company will be different. Don’t forget to check and compare deductibles and how often you need to have your items reappraised as well!
(It is very important to note, we are not insurance experts, agents, or anything of the like. We are goldsmiths, and we are simply trying to convey information to you that can be helpful.)
Written by: Mary Elizabeth Linford Glitter and Gold Studio
3201 1st Ave S. Suite 112 Seattle, WA 98134 206-914-4052