Insurance is regulated by insurance departments of the individual states, and state laws differ. For example, some states allow each company to write contracts with its own language, while others tightly regulate contract language. This site, therefore, offers only basic insurance information and general advice. We encourage you to discuss your insurance needs with your agent. Find an agent.
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Insuring jewelry is not difficult. If you have homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance, you already have jewelry coverage because unscheduled personal property includes jewelry. However, in most policies not all perils are covered. Also, these policies have severe limitations on coverage for theft, sometimes as low as $500.
For higher-priced jewelry, most insurance companies offer scheduled jewelry insurance to cover specific items. This is done through a Personal Articles Floater, which can be written as a stand-alone policy or attached to a homeowner’s policy. Here the coverage is generally very broad, covering all risks worldwide, with only a handful of exclusions.
Premiums vary from state to state. They can also vary among companies serving the same area. Rates are usually quoted per $100 of insurance, and most policies have just one rate. Some, however, have graduated rates, charging a higher rate on more expensive jewelry than on lower-priced jewelry. In effect, this penalizes you for insuring expensive jewelry! You can avoid paying excessive premiums by comparison shopping.
In all likelihood, you will get the best rates by insuring jewelry with the same company you use for insuring your home or auto. If that proves not to be the case, consider moving all your policies to another carrier, as you may be overpaying on all premiums.
Loss Settlement Options
If you file a claim, the insurer may
- repair the jewelry
- replace it with “like kind and quality”
- pay you the actual cash value (ACV—see discussion below)
- pay you the amount equal to the “cash equivalent” had the company secured repair or replacement, or
- pay you the item’s scheduled amount.
Not all policies offer all these options. For instance, a policy may allow only repair or replacement, not a cash settlement. Such policies are typically sold or recommended by jewelers because they are to the jeweler’s advantage. Be sure to discuss with your agent the specifics of your policy.
Many people assume that the scheduled amount — usually based on the appraisal — is the amount of cash they will receive if the jewelry is lost. This is not the case. The scheduled amount represents the company’s maximum limit of liability — the most it will pay out.
A loss payment is based on actual cash value (ACV), which means replacement cost (less depreciation) at the time of loss. Since ACV is determined by the value of gold, silver, diamonds, etc. at the time of loss, there is no way to predict what you will receive if a loss occurs some time in the future.
What To Bring to the Agent
Have copies of the sales receipt and appraisal for the insurer to keep on file. The appraisal should describe the jewelry in detail and give a valuation. (If the selling jeweler gave you an appraisal with your purchase, you may want to have the jewelry appraised by another appraiser, to verify the qualities and valuation).
Ideally, one appraisal should be on ACORD 78/79, the insurance industry’s standard for appraisals, prepared by a Certified Insurance Appraiser. If there is no CIA in your area, at least be sure the appraiser is a Graduate Gemologist who uses gem lab equipment and has prepared an ACORD 805, a Jewelry Sales Receipt for Insurance Purposes. The appraisal is a record of the quality of your jewelry and will be used by the insurer to determine both the premium charged and the amount of loss to be paid.
Appraisals are often accompanied by a detailed photo of the piece. If this is lacking, take a photo of the jewelry yourself and bring it along. (Some agents will digitally photograph your jewelry as a free service.) Also bring any other documentation you may have, such as a GIA Diamond Report.
We strongly encourage working through an insurance agent. Many agents have received specialized jewelry insurance training, enabling them to evaluate jewelry appraisals, help you through the insurance process, and direct you to the coverage that best suits your needs.
Use this form to locate a specially trained agent in your area. When completing the request form below, please be sure to include your complete phone number (with area code). Also, please double-check your email address — if it is not entered accurately, we will not be able to provide you with the contact information for jewelry insurance specialists!
Be sure the jewelry policy you buy has a "cash-out" provision — that is, be sure it allows you to elect to get a cash settlement rather than replacement.