It often seems there’s an insurance policy to cover just about everything you own. You can cover your home, the contents of a rental home, your car, your business, your health, and even your life. But when it comes to insuring expensive jewelry and valuable items, things get a little bit complicated. Now: Part of that complication is due to the way jewelry and valuable items are insured. Unfortunately, the most common and least expensive types of coverage are usually not the best. Let’s take a look at the best ways to insure expensive jewelry and valuable items, and see which policy will work best for you.

The Best Ways to Insure Expensive Jewelry and Valuable Items

There are several ways to insure expensive jewelry and valuable items. Exactly which you choose will depend on how valuable the item is. The more valuable it is, the more deserving it is a dedicated individual policy. But let’s look at each type of coverage, how it works, and whether it will be suitable for your valuable items.

Homeowner’s insurance

A homeowner’s insurance policy will generally allow you to cover expensive jewelry and other valuable items, such as family heirlooms, or expensive computers and business equipment. However, this is not necessarily the best way to cover a particularly expensive item.

The problem

Homeowner’s insurance policies typically have limits on how much they’ll pay for a loss, as well as very specific requirements for the events that cause the loss. They’re also very unlikely to cover damage to a particularly expensive item. In a typical homeowner’s policy, there will be a set limit for theft or loss of valuable items, generally no more than $1,500. You can at least partially get around this problem by adding additional coverage, known as “floaters”. These are riders you add to a homeowner’s insurance policy that will cover specific items. The additional coverage will obviously increase the cost of your policy. Particularly expensive items, like high-cost jewelry, will need to be appraised. If you don’t handle valuable items in this manner, you may get into a disagreement with your insurance company over exactly what was in your home at the time of the catastrophic event.

Wider coverage

The other option with the homeowner’s insurance policy is to purchase broader blanket coverage for certain categories of valuables. That may include jewelry, heirlooms, collectibles, or artwork. The individual items will need to be listed specifically as property on your policy, also known as “scheduled”. It’s less expensive than adding a floater to your policy, and it generally works better if you have a large number of valuable, but relatively inexpensive items. However: A homeowner’s insurance policy, in general, is not the best way to cover jewelry and other valuables. Because such policies are broad in nature and cover the entire contents within your home, disputes can arise between you and the insurance company over both the items covered and their value.

Renter’s insurance

A renter’s insurance policy can cover jewelry and valuable items much the same as homeowners insurance can. But it’s also subject to the same limitations. First, if you rent, you absolutely must have renter’s insurance. Your landlord undoubtedly has insurance coverage on the building itself. But any personal contents you have within the home, including furniture and other valuables, will not be covered under the landlord’s policy. You’ll need a separate renter’s policy for such coverage. Much as is the case with homeowner’s insurance, you will need to list any expensive items you have in the home in the policy. Unfortunately, jewelry and other valuable items can be a bit of a gray area when it comes to renter’s insurance. If the items are particularly valuable, you’ll be far better off having a separate policy on those items. When it comes to valuables, renter’s insurance may be better than nothing, but it’s far from the best type of coverage to have. You can look into adding a floater to a renter’s policy, if your insurance company offers such an option. If not, you’ll have to look into other insurance.

Other insurance

You can actually purchase jewelry protection insurance. it’s a standalone insurance policy meant specifically to insure your jewelry. One of the big advantages with jewelry protection insurance is that it insures beyond common perils. That is: It will provide coverage under a broader number of circumstances. It can cover everything from theft to destruction due to floods and earthquakes. One of the biggest advantages of this type of coverage is that if you do need to file a claim it won’t be charged against your homeowner’s insurance. That’s because if you file a single claim on your homeowner’s insurance policy, your premium could skyrocket. And of course… You may have difficulty filing a homeowners claim if the loss of jewelry or valuable item is the only loss. The homeowner’s policy may only cover the loss if it’s part of a bigger event. Still another advantage is that a jewelry protection insurance policy can also cover damage, and not just loss.
For example, let’s say your valuable was damaged in a fire or a flood. The jewelry protection policy would pay to have repair work done by a professional jeweler, and generally at the same quality of the original piece. This could be especially important if the item is an heirloom, like an engagement ring.
As is the case with other types of insurance, any loss would be subject to a deductible. However, the amount of the deductible will be established at the time you take the policy. You can choose to take a high or low deductible, depending on how much you want to pay for the policy. In most cases, you will have to have an appraisal of the jewelry to establish its value.

Buyer’s protection plans

Valuable items, particularly jewelry, often come with an optional buyer’s protection plan offered by the merchant. Whether or not you should sign up for this option will depend on the provisions of the plan. Since there are thousands of different merchants, there are literally thousands of different buyer’s protection plans available. Just as you would with any other type of insurance policy, you’ll have to make sure the buyer’s protection plan covers the types of events that are likely to occur. This can include theft, loss, and damage, either partial or total. A good buyer’s protection plan is going to be better than either homeowner’s insurance or renters insurance for covering high dollar valuables. Do note: You’ll have to compare the cost of the plan with an individual policy. The terms can vary considerably from one merchant to another.
For example, one merchant may offer the protection for a flat fee paid up front. Such a policy will typically have a term limit, such as two or three years. Another might offer continuous coverage for annual premium payments.
The advantage with the buyer’s protection plan is that the merchant already knows the retail value of the item, and will generally cover it up to the full amount. The disadvantage is that there may be certain escape clauses that enable the merchant to avoid payment. Since there are so many different merchants, and buyer’s protection plans, you’ll need to read the fine print carefully. Also, go on the web and do some investigating. Find out what the history of coverage under the merchant’s buyer’s protection plan has been, and if there are a significant number of complaints. You should also check with your local Better Business Bureau.

Credit card purchase protection plans

We’re discussing this method only because it may be a question on some people’s minds. But generally speaking, credit card purchase protection plans are not suitable for insuring expensive jewelry and valuable items. First, they often exclude the exact type of property you’re trying to protect. Typically, that includes jewelry and antiques. That alone should take credit card purchase protection plans out of contention. But if that doesn’t do it, understand that such plans are very temporary. Most will cover expensive items for a limited amount of time after purchase. That’s generally no more than 90 or 120 days. That being the case, cross this strategy off your list as soon as possible.

How to File an Insurance Claim for Lost or Stolen Jewelry and Valuable Items

The most important first step is to contact the police and report the theft. That will give you access to a police report, that will act as confirmation of the loss. Next, you need to contact the insurance company, who will almost certainly ask for a copy of the police report. That procedure will help you in the event that an item is stolen. But if it’s damaged, it almost certainly won’t be covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy. If you have a separate jewelry insurance policy, that includes repairs, you’ll have to take photographs of the item and send it to the insurance company. They may even request a physical inspection. Once again: Whichever method you use to insured your items, there will almost certainly be a deductible you will need to pay. To avoid your basic policy premium being increased as a result of the claim, you should first consider paying for the repair out of pocket, if it will cost less than your deductible, or only slightly more.

Final Thoughts

Exactly which type of insurance policy you’ll use to insure your expensive jewelry and valuable items will depend on the value of those items. As a general rule: If you have a large number of valuable items, they can be covered under homeowner’s insurance or renters insurance. But that’s only if they collectively come within the coverage threshold of valuable items for that policy. For more valuable items, the ones that exceed the coverage limits in your homeowner’s or renter’s policy, you should first look into a buyer’s protection plan from the vendor. If that’s not suitable, or the time limit for coverage has passed, you may have to get a separate insurance policy on that item. It’ll be more expensive, but it’ll do exactly what you want it to.