Here’s how you can protect your precious gems.

By Kristine Gill
February 19, 2021
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You've heard of homeowners insurance, rental insurance, pet insurance, and car insurance. Maybe you even have something called long-term care insurance for your future retirement needs. But what about jewelry insurance? Do you have it? Do you even really need it?

Here, two experts weigh in on the service and how jewelry insurance can (and can't) help protect your valuables and your keepsakes. 

Credit: Getty Images

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If you’re still in the costume jewelry phase, purchasing jewelry from fast fashion stores, or from marketplaces such as Etsy where many items aren’t made of precious metals or stones, you probably haven’t considered jewelry insurance. But if you’re in the market for something more valuable, like a diamond, then you’re surely well aware of the price tag on these items.

“We always hear about the four Cs,” says Bryan Howard, director of product management at Jewelers Mutual, a jewelry insurance provider. “We can’t forget about the fifth one, and that’s coverage.”

While jewelry insurance is available for anyone who wants it, it’s mostly used to replace items in the event of loss, theft, or damage. If losing your $25 earrings isn’t a big deal, you can pass on jewelry insurance. But if you’re purchasing something more significant, perhaps an engagement ring or wedding band, you’ll want to consider it.

“It’s actually very important to have, and it’s great if you have jewelry that would actually be very expensive for you to replace,” says Kimberly Palmer, a personal finance expert with money site Nerdwallet. “If you have anything of significant value, you do want to get coverage, and it’s actually really affordable.”

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If you already have homeowners or rental insurance, Palmer suggests starting there.

“If you have renter’s insurance or homeowners insurance, you can usually just add it on for say, $50 a year,” she says. “And it does vary a lot. So you want to ask in advance about how to list each item on a policy and see whether it would cover your items when you’re traveling, for example.”

Howard cautions that adding your jewelry to an existing policy usually requires that you list every item individually. Forget a piece and you could be out of luck. In addition, some policies specifically exclude high-value items such as jewelry or artwork, so read the fine print.

If you want a separate policy, traditional jewelry insurance will give you more flexibility to list individual values for each item and to provide proof of purchase or worth based on appraisals—a must for anyone with an extensive or antique collection of fine jewelry.

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As with other types of policies, your jewelry insurance cost will depend on the value of your jewelry and the extent to which you want it covered. Howard says that’s typically between 1 and 3 percent of the item’s overall value paid each year. In other words, if your engagement ring costs $10,000, you’ll end up paying $100 to $300 for your insurance premium annually. Increase your deductible (the amount you pay before insurance starts paying), and your premium will decrease.

Keep in mind that your rate will vary based on where you live: “There are different laws and regulations in each state,” Howard says. You can get a quick estimate for what to expect in your state on Jeweler’s Mutual’s homepage with its free estimate tool.

If you want the cheapest route, Palmer says adding coverage for a specific item to your current policies as a rider is the more affordable option.

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Most jewelry insurance policies will run the gamut in terms of coverage. Your policy will kick in if items are lost, damaged, or stolen.

“It’s much more comprehensive than just your traditional homeowners policy,” Howard says. “While the majority of those will cover jewelry, it’s usually up to a smaller amount and only if it’s stolen.” That means if you lose your ring on the beach while on vacation with family, you could be out of luck with a traditional homeowners policy, while jewelry insurance would likely pay to replace it.

And while there is no language in most jewelry insurance policies stipulating what you must do in order to avoid theft, for example, Howard says some policies will offer discounts on home alarms or safes to protect those valuables.

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You can get jewelry insurance for new or existing items. If you’re about to make a major purchase, you can insure the item from day one. But if you’ve let your collection build up over time and you’re finally considering insurance, that’s also an option. In that case, you’ll just need to show proof of purchase or have a valuation done if you’ve lost those documents.

“We’re basically looking for documentation that helps support the value you’re using on your application,” Howard says. “There are times when a prior insurance declarations page or other in-depth documentation will work.”

The same is true for heirloom jewelry pieces. While it would be impossible to truly replace your high school ring, you can have the item appraised so that a policy could be purchased for it.

“It’s only going to cover what the item is worth,” Palmer says, “so it might not make you feel better should you lose your grandmother’s jewelry, for example.”

And in those situations, when the item you’re replacing has intangible, sentimental value, you can still get something similar to that item should you ever lose it.

“If it is a one-of-a-kind family heirloom, we do offer an additional endorsement called the Actual Cash Value (ACV) endorsement,” Howard says. “So we have worked with customers who have lost items and we can’t find a replacement, and in those circumstances we can cash out a policy.”

In short, you don’t need to decide the day you purchase a piece of jewelry whether you want to insure it. You can take your time to compare plans, have an appraisal done and look into your options for insuring multiple pieces at once.