Gotham Brokerage: Precious Jewels Need Their Own Insurance

Standard renter’s policies don’t fully cover jewelry value

If you have expensive jewelry, ask your insurance agent to make sure it's covered. (Photo courtesy of Jim Harper via Wikimedia Commons)

Along with that overplayed Mariah Carey Christmas song, you might be getting a little tired of the endless procession of jeweler commercials that have aired since Thanksgiving. Kay, Zales, Tiffany and Cartier are saturating the market for a reason: Nearly 30 percent of marriage proposals happen between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, the time jewelers refer to as “engagement season.”

What they don’t tell you is that jewelry is often the most expensive set of items in a home, a natural lure for thieves and hardest to replace if it’s stolen, lost or destroyed in a fire or flood. That’s why it’s harder to insure than your other items, which usually are fully covered by your homeowner’s or renter’s policy.

Jewelry is a different animal. Homeowner’s and renter’s policies usually “cover” jewelry but often set limits on reimbursement for loss or theft, sometimes as low as $500 or $1,000 — nowhere near what the items are worth.

In general, people who own expensive jewelry should ask their insurance companies about endorsements or floaters that pay out the full replacement cost if the item is stolen or damaged. Some firms offer stand-alone policies just for jewelry.

A few other tips, since Valentine’s Day will be here before you can say “replacement value”:

  • Ask your insurer about the best coverage for your jewelry.
  • If it’s an heirloom or antique, have a reputable appraiser assess its value. That determines what your policy will pay on a claim.
  • Keep jewelry in a secure location. Owners who don’t plan to wear it but pass it to a child as part of an inheritance should think about storing it in a safe-deposit box, which can mean a lower insurance rate for “in-vault” coverage.
  • Photograph your valuables. This can help speed up the claims process after theft or loss and help establish value, especially for rare or antique pieces.

Gotham is a family-owned business serving the five boroughs for over 50 years. We know New York City inside and out and work hard to make sure all of our customers have the best possible coverage at the lowest possible cost. We want your business for the next 50 years, and the only way to earn it is to make sure you sleep well at night knowing you are covered. Fill out our quote request form or give us a call to learn more about how we can help you insure precious jewelry.

Get a Free Quote

"*" indicates required fields

Step 1 of 2