Question: Dear Noel,
I received a valuable piece of jewelry for my birthday and would like to know if it is covered on my homeowner’s policy.
Answer: Happy belated birthday and thank you for the question.
Many people think that a homeowner’s policy fully protects them from a theft, damage or disappearance of jewelry. The fact is homeowner’s insurance is often not enough. Generally speaking, homeowner’s policies treat jewelry as costume items with coverage limits from $1,000 to $5,000. If policies are written in this manner, in the event of damage or theft, claims may be settled on an actual cash basis, subject to a deductible and depreciation. Accidental or “mysterious disappearance” loss is generally not covered.
The best way to insure valuable jewelry is to list each piece on a schedule. The advantage to a schedule is in the event of a loss, the settlement will generally be for the scheduled value of the item(s) without a deductible or depreciation. Coverage is often worldwide, so if the item is lost away from home, then they (it) will be covered.
Another way to cover jewelry is by a “blanket” endorsement in which there is a total (aggregate) value of coverage, instead of insuring each piece individually. Blanket endorsements may have no deductible and may not be subject to depreciation. If, for example, the blanket has a limit of $50,000, then all of the items covered by that endorsement will be covered up to that limit. Maximum per-item limits may apply.
Please contact your agent with details about the jewelry piece to make certain that your valuable articles are properly covered, whether they are to be scheduled or covered with a blanket endorsement. It is important that you review your valuables (including jewelry, works of fine art, wine collections, china, crystals, rare coins and cameras) with your agent on a regular basis as the values might have changed.
Noel Harris is the owner of Wall Street Insurance Inc. in Edwards. He and his team of highly specialized agents have been serving the insurance needs of the local community and vacation owners for the past 30 years. For more information, call Wall Street Insurance at 970-926-4900 with any of your insurance questions or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.