My stepdaughter got engaged recently and the whole family is super excited! I mean, how can someone NOT be excited about young love and the blending of two families? They have been building this foundation; this relationship- upon which their new family will be built- and eventually, hopefully, they will be blessed with children that my husband and I will be able to spoil.
And with all the excitement of an engagement comes… ta da… the RING!
Rings- symbols of commitment and faithfulness.
Rings- can also be expensive investments, so it’s important to make sure they are protected.
Your homeowners, condo, or renter insurance policy should have some protection for your engagement and wedding rings- or any jewelry for that matter. Some being the important word. It would be heartbreaking, after a home robbery to find out that all your jewelry was stolen- including your wedding ring/engagement ring and an expensive heirloom necklace your mother gave you. Adding insult to injury to find out that your insurance will only pay out $1,000 per item, despite the fact that your wedding/engagement set is valued at $7,000 and your necklace is valued at over $10,000!
There are a few simple ways to check into whether your insurance has your special pieces of jewelry protected fully or not.
First- do you have homeowners, renters, or condo insurance? For purposes of this blog, we will assume you have a place to live and therefore have protected it with some kind of insurance. If this is not the case, please consider insuring your property with one of these policies. If you need to be convinced of the benefits of having the appropriate policy for your living arrangement- please click here.
Now that we have that established- what does your specific policy include? Your policy will include a section for your personal contents. Personal Contents includes everything that would fall out of your dwelling if it was somehow picked up and shaken (clothing, appliances, electronics, furniture, etc). Your jewelry definitely falls into this category, so this is where your jewelry insurance coverage would fall. Insurance agents are great at interpreting fine print- so if you can’t understand your policy; just call your agent.
Your insurance coverage on your home (or apartment/condo) covers a variety of “perils”- meaning, things that can go wrong. If a tornado strikes your home- your personal contents will be covered up to the limits stated on your policy (you pick the limit when you buy the policy). If there is a fire, same goes. If there is a burglary- same goes.
Some items- such as jewelry and fine art- have special limits. This is mostly due to the fact that these items are stolen so often and during a burglary are the most likely things to be stolen. In fact, statistics show that in 78% of home burglaries, jewelry is taken, which makes it the 2nd most likely thing- next to cash, to be stolen. Jewelry is very easy to pawn which makes it almost a “must steal” to robbers. One last stat for you- only 4.2% of jewelry in a robbery is ever recovered.
What these “special limits” mean to you in plain English is that the jewelry on your policy is covered 100% for everything other than theft. But when it comes to theft- you have to really look at the limits on your policy- and different companies likely do it differently, so if you are getting a quote, make sure you ask specifically about what it covers, otherwise you won’t be able to compare apples-to-apples. If you’re checking on your existing policy, then call your agent to have him or her explain it to you.
Let me give you an example of how it works with one company. If you have a Homeowners policy with no special jewelry provisions, you may have a maximum coverage of $5,000 for all of the jewelry, but a $1,000 limit on any one piece of jewelry.
If you have a $2,000 piece of jewelry and it was stolen- even though you have coverage for $5,000 for all of the jewelry in your jewelry box, you are still limited to $1,000 on any single item. In this case, your $2,000 claim would only be resolved by paying out $1,000.
No one wants this to happen. So you would need to increase your coverage. Understand that this will likely increase your cost. There are a couple of options to fit your budget.
You usually have two options. You can get a rider on your policy (extended limits of coverage) or you can purchase an insurance policy for your item specifically.
When you purchase extended limits, you will usually wind up adding to the amount of coverage you have for all of your jewelry and the single limit. For instance the company might start out with an option to have a coverage of $6,000 for all of the jewelry but keep the $1,000 maximum per item- if you just have a lot of other jewelry in your jewelry box that adds up to a lot of value. Or, you can bump it up to an aggregate amount of $30,000 for all of your jewelry and a $5,000 single limit. There are many steps in between to meet your needs and price point; as long as your item is less than $5,000. In our example of the $2,000 piece of jewelry, this coverage would work perfectly- because our item is less than $5,000- so we would just find the step in the middle that works for us and away we go!
For people who need more than $5,000 worth of coverage on a single item; scheduling an item on your homeowners, renters, or condo insurance is very easy to do. In this case, you would need to provide an appraisal that shows information about the piece of jewelry as well as the price or value. Your insurance company may have specific rules on the appraisal, such as how old it can be, etc.
Assuming you have your appraisal- or if you are newly engaged, you likely have just received your paperwork from the jewelry store- you just bring it in to your agent and have them add it to your insurance package. Your scheduled item will have its own separate little policy and/or line item. You can choose to have a deductible or no deductible and it will be covered for the amount you put on the policy. Be prepared, obviously, the more expensive your item is- the more it will cost to insure it.
Lastly, here is a tip you may not have thought of: The person in possession of the ring is the person who needs to carry the insurance on it. All of your anxious people eager waiting for the perfect moment to pop the question- should be carrying the insurance on it- at least until your intended has accepted your proposal and has taken custody of the ring. At that time, the new owner of the ring would need to get insurance on it and the former owner of the ring can call their insurance agent and remove coverage.
Getting engaged or married is a great time to make sure that your insurance is up to par with the special pieces you have accumulated so far- but it’s also a great idea to do an annual review with your insurance agent to update this coverage. Many times, people avoid doing those “pesky” reviews and then wonder why 10 years go by and they don’t have the right coverage. Don’t let that happen to you- a good insurance agent should be your trusted advisor.
In summation, love is precious. Your ring is not only a symbol of that love- but a symbol of the blending of your families and the family that you are starting together.
Make sure you treat that symbol as preciously as you treat your vows. And once you have your ring (and any other jewelry) all safely squared away with its insurance coverage- let’s move on to something even more important in building a life and marriage…