Released: February 16, 2009
the romance of this past Valentine’s Day included a precious
gift for your special someone, don’t forget — whether
it’s a family heirloom, a diamond engagement ring or a new
watch — to consider protecting your investment with insurance.
It’s important to know your options when it comes to insuring
fine jewelry (including family heirlooms) against theft, damage or
loss. This is especially relevant for the 10 percent of U.S. couples
who will get engaged on Valentine’s Day. The Louisiana Department
of Insurance offers the following tips for evaluating your insurance
options for covering your jewelry.
1. Find Out What Coverage You Already Have
With most homeowners
and renter’s insurance policies, jewelry
is often included as a type of personal property you can insure.
However, the coverage might not be enough. Even if your policy allows
you to insure jewelry, many policies set a limit on the amount of
coverage and might not protect against all incidents. Given the sentimental
value of certain jewelry, consumers need to be covered in all situations.
• Homeowners and renter’s
insurance policies have a maximum coverage limit for the combined
value of all of your jewelry,
and this limit might be only a fraction of the value of your item(s).
• Most policies will protect against theft; however, you also might
be able to protect against damage or loss.
Review your policy or check with your insurance agent to find out
the scope of your current coverage. If it is insufficient, purchase
a separate policy for the item or add an endorsement onto your existing
policy. You should also talk with your insurance agent or company
about how a jewelry loss would affect your existing insurance premium.
If it would increase your premium, it might make sense to purchase
a separate policy.
2. Have Your Jewelry Appraised and Documented
To ensure you have the right amount of coverage, you need to determine
the value of your items. In many cases, insurers will require an
appraisal as a condition for providing coverage for your jewelry.
Some jewelers provide an appraisal with your purchase that you can
use for your policy; however, these appraisals can be inflated, so
you might want to consider getting an independent appraisal. It is
also a good idea to have your jewelry re-appraised periodically to
ensure accurate coverage. You should also keep photos of each item
and a copy of the appraisal in your home inventory in case you need
to file a claim.
3. Know All the Factors That Affect Your Coverage
The dollar value
of the item has the most influence on your premium and deductible,
is why an accurate appraisal is important.
The dollar value is generally the risk factor that insurers use to
determine how much to charge for jewelry coverage. However, for very
expensive pieces of jewelry, whether you have secure storage for
your item and how often the item is worn might also affect your policy.
Items that are worn daily, such as wedding and engagement rings,
carry more risk due to more exposure to loss or damage. Items worn
only on special occasions statistically will have less risk of theft,
damage or loss. Although dollar value affects the premium cost the
most, your insurer might also take into consideration these other
factors. Don’t forget to ask if you qualify for discounts if
you have a home safe, an alarm system or safety deposit box.
4. Things to Consider When Choosing Your Policy
around for the best coverage for your items. Ask about options,
such as not
having a deductible for jewelry, to help evaluate
• Double-check to ensure your policy covers theft, loss and damage.
• Find out if the coverage applies worldwide or if it is limited to
Know the difference between replacement coverage and actual cash
value coverage. Replacement coverage replaces the item with a similar
piece of jewelry that is equal in value. Actual cash value coverage
provides a cash amount equal to the value of your item as agreed
upon in your policy.
Check Out the Company
Once you think
you know which policy will provide the best coverage for you, check
the insurance company. For help with your research,
contact the Department of Insurance at 1-800-259-5300 to review the
’s financial and claims history.
Stop. Call. Confirm.
If you are unsure about the insurance company or agent you are dealing
with, STOP before signing any paperwork or writing a check; CALL
the Louisiana Department of Insurance; and CONFIRM the company or
agent offering insurance is legitimate and licensed in Louisiana.
If you have questions, are confused about your insurance policy,
or need more information about auto, home, life and health insurance
options, contact the Department of Insurance for assistance. Visit
www.ldi.state.la.us to find answers to your questions or call toll-free