Love may be Priceless, but Valentine’s Day Gifts can be Costly: I.I.I.

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

NEW YORK, Feb. 1, 2005 — If you receive an engagement ring or other piece of expensive 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 from $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.

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.

Floaters and endorsements are available as additions to home and renters insurance policies. Some companies also offer a stand-alone policy to cover jewelry without having to purchase home or renters policies.

“While there is no way to insure the sentimental value of jewelry, having it properly insured will provide financial protection in the event it is lost or stolen,” says 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 the appraised value and in the event of a claim, be compensated for this dollar amount.

  • 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 with 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.

  • Update the value of your jewelry
    Expensive items can 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 choose, where you live and where the item will e kept.

  • 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.

  • Add the item to your home inventory
    Everyone should have an up-to-date inventory of their personal possessions. This can help purchase the correct amount of insurance and speed up the claims process when there is a loss. To make creating a home inventory fun and simple, the I.I.I. created free, downloadable software located on www.knowyourstuff.com. You can add a digital photograph of your new gift and save scanned receipts. Computerizing your inventory also makes updating it faster and easier.

For more information regarding insurance, access the I.I.I.’s website at www.insurance.info. There is a link on the front page of the site to the taking inventory software and information on all aspects of insurance including home, auto, life and disability coverage. In addition, the media can download broadcast quality sound bytes for this release at www.insurance.info/media/radio/jewelry/

The I.I.I. is a non-profit, communications organization supported by the property/casualty insurance business.