Insuring Your Jewelry
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A family heirloom, wedding rings, an engagement ring, a gift celebrating a special occasion: Your valuables are invaluable. But you should still put a price tag on your jewelry, which is why appraisals are important.
A jewelry inspection performed by a professional appraiser can give you a fair and accurate idea of how much your jewelry is worth. That way, you can be sure your jewelry insurance covers the value of your high value items in case they’re lost or damaged.
Here’s what you need to know about appraisals, appraised value and how to get your fine jewelry inspected.
You can find a qualified appraiser certified through the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) or the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers. Some fine jewelry stores have appraisers on staff, or your home insurance agent can recommend one.
An appraisal is the document stating the piece of jewelry’s worth. The appraiser determines that worth through careful inspection of your jewelry’s condition, including its gemstones, settings and metals.
Then the appraiser studies the market prices of those materials (gemstone and precious metal values can fluctuate) and considers the sale prices of similar types of jewelry. This information determines what your piece of jewelry is currently worth. The appraiser draws up documentation of that worth—the appraisal—that states the value and the criteria used to determine it.
You can use this documentation to confirm whether you have enough insurance coverage for your jewelry. Or if you’re looking to sell the jewelry, this documentation can help you get a fair price.
One other note: It’s important to remember that most standard homeowners insurance and renters insurance policies don’t cover the total cost of replacing fine jewelry. It’s important to know the limits of your homeowners policy so you can be sure you’re adequately covered in case of a jewelry theft, loss or mysterious disappearance.
Costs vary based on the complexity of the work and how long it takes. A typical rate for professional jewelry appraisal, though, often ranges between $50 and $150 an hour. Before the appraisal begins, request an estimate of time and costs. Your jeweler can often help you procure an estimate.
Also, avoid appraisers who charge a fee based on the value of jewelry items appraised because it can lead to unethical actions like overvaluing the item to get a higher fee.
Some insurers require that jewelry be appraised every year. For those that don’t, getting appraisals done with some regularity (such as every few years) can help ensure that your jewelry is accurately valued in relation to changes in the market. That way, your insurance premiums and coverage limits stay in line with your jewelry’s worth.
Your appraiser can likely recommend how often to get an item reappraised so your jewelry coverage is always accurate.
Just as important, frequent jewelry inspections can spot wear and damage. For example, the prongs in an engagement ring that hold the diamond in place can get bent or broken, potentially leading to a lost gemstone. Regular inspections of the diamond ring can catch these issues early and help you keep your valuable jewelry as good as new.