Are you adequately covered in case of loss, theft or damage?
This is very important! You are covered only as well as your appraisal report is written and by the qualifications of the appraiser. Dollar amounts, if higher than warranted, are not necessarily the amount you will be awarded in case of loss, theft or damage. You have to understand your individual policy and how you are covered. Do not rely on inflated and often fictitious dollar values, or on appraisals with very little information. This will benefit your insurer and cost you money in premiums — but may not “make you whole” in case of a loss.
Decide what type of policy fits your needs. Scheduled policies offer “all risks” usually through your homeowner’s policy. Your premium is set by the appraised value. Make sure this is a realistic figure. Agreed Cash Value policies will cost much more in premiums. These are recommended for unusual high-end collectibles which may not be able to be replaced in today’s market. Unscheduled policies are a part of your homeowner’s policy and may not provide the coverage you may require. The limits are very low. You may be surprised to find out your most valued possessions are not covered adequately. In any case, you must provide proof of ownership. A current detailed appraisal, written by a professional, is vital. Also, don’t forget a deductible may be involved.
In addition to your homeowner’s insurance, you can explore coverage through Jeweler’s Mutual or Touchstone Insurance. They will provide coverage just on your jewelry items.
The Watch Market: You must be aware that if you have a 10-year-old high grade watch, the insurance company may replace it, if lost or stolen, but it may be with “like merchandise”. This means a secondary market piece or a used watch. If you want it replaced with a new watch, you had better make your agent very aware of it. This has got to be made perfectly clear to your insurance company.
Questions to Ask Your Insurance Agent
- Is an appraisal necessary for full coverage?
- Will my claim – and the replacement value – be more readily accepted if the appraisal has been done by an Independent Gemologist Appraiser or Advanced Personal Property Appraiser?
- What is the difference between scheduled and unscheduled coverage?
- Is there a deductible? If so, how much? Do I have the option to increase the deductible and thus lower the premium?
- Is my policy all-risk (partial loss, damage, theft, mysterious disappearance & other perils)?
- Am I still covered if there is negligence or carelessness involved?
- Is the item covered if lost, stolen or damaged while in the possession of someone else?
- If there is a loss, do I have a choice of a full cash-out or will I have to accept less?
- Can I go to whomever I wish for replacement?
- If a loss has been replaced through an insurance company source, will I be allowed to verify proper replacement by an independent firm or accredited appraiser of my choice?
- Is there a difference in limitation between jewelry and silverware?
- Are there any geographical limitations to my coverage?
- What is the premium rate per thousand dollars of value for full coverage?
- Is depreciation ever imposed to anything?
- How often should I have an appraisal update?
- Am I limited to the appraisal value should there be a sizable increase in the value?
- If there is damage to a piece, can I replace it or will I be limited to repair?
- What if the lost item is irreplaceable, like an antique?
- Are there any security precautions required? If not, would there be a premium savings if special precautions were taken, e.g., the items kept in a home safe or in a safety deposit box when not being worn?
- What proof is needed in reporting a loss?
- Are there different kinds of jewelry insurance available?
- Are there any exclusions?
- What is the pair and set clause? Will the insurance cover an additional amount for matching a missing item in a set if it hasn’t been computed and stated in the appraisal?
- What types of property are not covered?
- Will you show me the actual language in the policy, which addresses each concern I have expressed?
- Will the occurrence of an insured loss affect my continuing coverage?
- Does all of your insurance charge the same rate per thousand?
- Does “inflation guard”, if any apply to my insured jewelry?
The American Gem Society’s appraisals committee prepared these questions.