Protect Your Jewelry, Stones and Precious Metals

MAY 7, 2024

More than $100 million worth of jewelry, stones and precious metals are stolen in the U.S. each year.1 Criminals use the items to launder proceeds for their activities like drug trafficking and terrorism.2

If you collect jewelry, stones and precious metals, it’s important to properly protect yourself from financial loss.

Know Your Limits

Homeowners policies commonly place coverage restrictions on jewelry, stones and precious metals. Check the “special limits” portion of your homeowners policy to see if you have adequate coverage in the event your jewelry, stones and precious metals are stolen or mysteriously disappear. An example of the coverage limits are:

  1. Money, bank notes, bullion, gold, silver, platinum, coins, metals, stored value cards (gift cards) and smart cards (debit/credit cards) are limited to $200.
  2. The limitation for jewelry, watches, furs, and precious and semiprecious stones for the peril of theft is capped at $1,500.3

Further, this coverage is subject to your homeowners deductible. So, for example if you have a $2,000 watch that mysteriously disappears and your homeowners deductible is $5,000, you will not receive payment from your homeowners policy, as the loss does not exceed your deductible. To avoid this claim situation, you should consider a valuable articles policy.

What Is a Valuable Articles Policy?

A valuable articles policy protects collectibles such as jewelry, fine art, wine, antiques, coins, memorabilia, and others. In the event of a loss, the policy makes you whole and is usually not subject to a deductible. Not all valuable article policies are the same. Policies differ by insurance carrier in terms of requirements and exclusions.

Scheduling Collections

Scheduling involves creating a specific list or “schedule” of valuable articles and itemizing the replacement cost and description of each piece to be insured within the collection. This allows you to insure each item at its exact value. It also permits you to segregate high-value items that exceed the homeowners policy sublimits and obtain broad coverage with enhanced protection for those items.

The benefits of scheduling are:

  • Worldwide coverage, whether the item is being worn, in transit, or kept in a safe
  • No deductibles, so you don’t have to pay out of pocket to have your piece replaced or repaired
  • Automatic coverage for newly acquired items
  • Coverage for pieces on loan or consignment (typically with prior approval)
  • Increased coverage due to market appreciation
  • Coverage for theft and mysterious disappearance

Certain policies require appraisals. In some cases, policies require appraisals for items with values as low as $5,000 and as high as $50,000. While it is best to reappraise items every three to five years, USI Insurance Services recommends updating values more frequently, even if not required by the insurance carrier.

Blanket Coverage

Obtaining appraisals and scheduling each piece of your collection may be a great deal of work. Other alternatives for coverage do exist. You may wish to consider blanket coverage. Blanket coverage allows you to insure multiple pieces of your collection with a preset amount of coverage.

For example, if you own 10 rare coins, rather than obtaining appraisals for each coin, you provide the insurance company the amount it would take to cover the collection in the event it is stolen — let’s say $100,000. If the coins are stolen, you will receive a check from the insurer for $100,000 with no deductible. If, however, it turns out the coins were actually worth $1,000,000, you would receive a check for the $100,000 because this is the amount you originally assigned to the collection.

Another thing to keep in mind with blanket coverage is the per item limit. Let’s use our coin example above, except this time, only one coin valued at $50,000 is missing. If your policy contains a per item limit of $10,000, the maximum amount you would receive per coin is $10,000, even if the value may be $50,000.