Does Your Homeowner's/Renter's Insurance Cover Your Jewelry?

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I happened to read that most insurance policies only cover pieces of jewelry up to $1,000 USD (and/or $2,500 total for a jewelry collection) — but then I happened to read that the current average price of an engagement ring is over $5,000. My guess is that even if your home is well-insured, a theft or fire could leave you with a tiny fraction of the price of your jewelry collection. Are you covered?

Now, my personal jewelry collection is worth far less than $2,500 (unless we're talking sentimental value), but I've heard such sad stories. A friend of my mom had a collection of jewelry built up over her lifetime, and her mother's lifetime, and it was all stolen except for what she happened to be wearing. Not only were some of those pieces irreplaceable heirlooms, but the settlement was far too tiny to replace even the things she could still buy. And have you heard this nonsense about how diamonds can just pop out of their settings and roll away? Crazy! Let's look into getting all your sparkliness protected..

Allstate recommends a "floater" policy: "Floater policies are also known as Scheduled Personal Property coverage. They basically let you increase the amount of insurance coverage for an individual piece of jewelry — or any other valuable possessions, for that matter." The additional coverage will definitely cost you more, but it will protect your jewels not just from fire and theft, but from forgetfulness, drain-dropping-down, and diamond-popping-out.

State Farm offers Personal Insurance Policies: "You may have more valuable possessions than you realize. Your homeowners' policy offers great coverage, but with deductibles and limitations. State Farm personal insurance can provide the additional coverage you may need."

Kiplinger recommends appraisals, but notes the actual coverage is cheap: "To raise your coverage limit and ensure that you're protected in case of loss as well as theft, contact your insurance agent and ask either to add a rider to your policy or to "schedule" the item. (You may need a written appraisal, although a detailed receipt may suffice.) Once you set a value and schedule the item, you're covered for the full amount if it is lost, stolen or destroyed." The coverage might cost approximately 85¢/$100 of value, meaning that you can insure that $5,000 engagement ring for $42.50.

Travelers Insurance doesn't add a deductible: If you have a policy through Travelers, you can add on either a Personal Articles Floater or a Value Item Plus, neither of which come with a deductible.

SF Gate has insider tips: "A detailed, properly written appraisal from a certified appraiser, updated every two to five years, can make the difference between a pleasant claim experience and not receiving enough money to replace your stolen, lost or damaged jewelry. Documentation — the original appraisal and videotaped or photographed records of your valuables — can make the claim process smoother. You can lower your premiums by storing expensive pieces in a hidden safe or a safe deposit box and installing a home security system." Finally, an excuse for a wall safe hidden behind a painting!

What has your jewelry insuring experience been like? Or are you like me, and think to yourself every six months, "Oh, right- I should probably get on that. La-dee-da..."?

(Image credits: House Tour: Suzannah & Jason's Did-it-Themselves Townhome)

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