Love May Be Priceless, But Valentine’s Day Gifts Can Be Costly

Protect Diamond Rings and Other Expensive Jewelry With Appropriate Insurance, Warns I.I.I.

NEW YORK, Feb 5, 2003 — While a diamond may last forever, you may not be lucky enough to hold onto it that long. If you’ve received an engagement ring or other piece of jewelry on Valentine’s Day, make sure you have the necessary insurance, advises the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

Standard homeowners and renters insurance policies include coverage for personal items such as jewelry. However, many policies limit the dollar amount for theft of valuable personal possessions such as jewelry, furs, and precious stones to $1,000 to $2,000.

“To properly insure jewelry and other expensive items, consider purchasing additional coverage through a floater or an endorsement,” says Jeanne M. Salvatore, the I.I.I.’s vice president of Consumer Affairs. “If your ring is lost for any number of reasons, you will feel bad. Why risk feeling even worse if you have to dig deep to buy a new one?”

In most cases, you would also be covered for “mysterious disappearance.” This means that if your ring falls off your finger or is lost, you would be financially protected. With floaters and endorsements, there are no deductibles and frequently you will get the option of having the insurance company replace the item for you, according to Salvatore.

To make sure your jewelry is adequately protected, the I.I.I. suggests:

  • Contact your insurance professional immediately
    Let your agent or company representative know that you are now in possession of an expensive piece of jewelry. Find out how much coverage you have and if additional insurance is needed.
  • Have the item appraised
    Heirlooms and items that were purchased several years ago will need to be appraised for their dollar value. Ask your insurer for recommendations regarding a reputable appraiser. It is important that expensive items are appraised properly. If you purchase a floater or endorsement, you will pay premium based on this amount. In the event of a claim, you will be compensated for this dollar amount as well.
  • Keep a copy of the store receipt
    You will need to forward a copy of the receipt to your insurer so that the company knows the current retail value of the item. Keep a copy for yourself and include it to your home inventory.
  • Store valuables in a secure location
    Protect your jewelry by storing it in a secure location in your home. If you don’t plan to wear the item regularly or are holding it for a child, consider keeping it in a safe deposit box. You may save money on the cost of insuring it, as some companies offer “in vault” coverage. If you want to wear the jewelry for a special occasion, many insurers will offer the option of purchasing additional coverage for the time it is out of the bank. You would, of course, have to notify your insurer ahead of time.
  • Take a picture of the item or collection
    Get into the habit of keeping a visual record of all of your personal possessions. This helps to document your loss and speed up the claims process. It is also useful to document antique and unusual pieces of jewelry.
  • Update the value of your jewelry
    Expensive items go up or go down in value. Talk to your insurance professional about how to make sure the dollar amount of your floater or endorsement reflects these changes. Prices for floaters and endorsements will vary depending on the type of jewelry, the insurance company you chose, where you live and where the item will be kept.

“There is no way to put a dollar value on sentiment,” cautions Ms. Salvatore. “In these cases, it’s important to know what you have, what it’s worth and have proper insurance coverage.”

The I.I.I. is a non-profit, communications organization supported by the USA property/casualty insurance business. Their Web site for more information is at www.insurance.info.

For more information regarding insurance in Canada, visit the remainder of the Insurance-Canada.ca Web site Consumer Information at http://www.insurance-canada.ca/consinfogeneral/consuminfo.php including links to industry organizations. For specific advice, speak with your insurance broker or agent.