I’ve briefly touched on insurance needs before, but a recent email from a friend had me considering some other aspects of insurance issues that can arise, despite having coverage.
First, if you haven’t checked your homeowners or renters insurance for a coverage cap on certain items such as electronics or jewelry, please do it immediately! I learned this the hard way – by having my jewelry box stolen out of our house while on vacation. Luckily, I was wearing my wedding ring set and my Grandmother’s irreplaceable wedding band, but there were some other heirlooms that were lost. Plus, I used to work in a jewelry store, so I had accumulated quite the collection of lower-end items. When I added these items up, they were worth much more than the $1,000 cap that our renters insurance covered. My engagement ring is on a separate personal policy, but it never crossed my mind to add anything else to that list since none of the items were worth a significant amount individually. I know better now and we have since listed more items on the personal policy to make sure we are covered.
Here is an easy guide to jewelry insurance and questions to ask about it. Also, if you have expensive computers or electronics, your policy may only cover up $3,500 to $5,000, so check that out as well.
Second, every few years you need to get your high value jewelry appraised. Honestly, as budget and insurance savvy as I like to think I am, this hadn’t crossed my mind at all! But think about it… My engagement ring is insured based on it’s appraisal from when my husband bought it for me 6 years ago, so if it’s increased in value, which is likely, I will not be able to replace it with the same quality of diamond if something happens to it. My friend Melinda McHugh, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ in Boca Raton, FL, had her wedding set appraised last week and her engagement ring had DOUBLED in value since 2006. She sent me a courtesy reminder that spawned this entire post! : )
As I’ve been looking into this topic, there are definitely some processes worth noting. How often you get your jewelry appraised is totally up to you, but The Insurance Institute of America recommends every 2 years and most jewelers suggest every 2-3. Currently there is no certification, licensing, or education required to call yourself an appraiser, so be sure to do your research! You should look for an independent appraiser with legitimate professional designations (such as an American Society of Appraisers Master Gemologist Appraiser) and specialty education. Also, it will cost you a fee to have them appraised, which should be a flat fee per piece or hourly, NOT a percentage of the value. Also, it is safest to stay with your jewelry as it’s being appraised, but most appraisers will let you drop off your jewelry for a few hours while they work if you are comfortable.
I know there is a lot of information here, but the main point is to make sure you have proper coverage and keep it updated. Set a reminder on your phone to check coverage and appraisal value every year because it’s so easy to miss. I’m going to start searching for an accredited appraiser now and get my jewelry in the works, since I am definitely past the 2-3 year recommendation on a few items!
And speaking of wedding bands… Happy 5th Anniversary to my amazing husband!