As thoughts turn to gift-giving and holiday cheer, it’s a good time to talk about valuable articles, those special objects that represent an expression of love, an appreciation of beauty or a store of value. More specifically, valuable articles are jewelry, fine art, collectibles (like stamps, coins or wine), silver items and furs. Because we have an emotional attachment to our valuable articles it always hurts to lose them, but believe me it will hurt more if they are not properly insured.
My first tip is don’t lose them! Store jewelry in a safe deposit box or home safe. If you are away, have your home alarm on and make your house look occupied. When traveling, dress down and don’t put valuables in checked luggage.
If you do have a loss, your reimbursement will depend on your insurance coverage and your documentation.
The coverage for valuable articles under a standard homeowner’s policy without endorsement is very limited. Your losses are limited to $1,000-$5,000 per category depending on your carrier, and the loss terms are restrictive (e.g. on premises only, exclude disappearance/breakage). If you have valuable articles, you need an endorsement.
The endorsement can either be blanket (covers all items but has a per item max…good if you have a large number of lower value items) or scheduled (covers each item to value but generally requires periodic appraisals…good if you have some high value items).
Premium carriers like Chubb and Pure don’t require appraisals (except for very high value items like single jewelry items above $100k). They also offer coverage enhancements like world-wide offsite coverage, pair and set coverage, mysterious disappearance and inflation adjusted limits.
If you have significant valuable articles, an appraisal is a good idea. First, if an item was a gift, inherited or bought years ago, you may not have any idea how much it is worth today. Second, even if your carrier doesn’t require an appraisal, you still need to establish a value for insurance purposes. And third, it’s my experience that an appraisal will make any claims experience go more smoothly. Every valuable article claim requires some sort of documentation…an appraisal is best but if that’s not required you still need an original receipt or some other form of documentation. A quality appraisal will be in a bound volume with a page on each item with a photograph, professional opinion and value estimate. It can be quite enlightening for you now, and the book can be used to document and store receipts from other acquisitions. And in the far future it will prove useful to your heirs.
If you’re interested in having your jewelry collection appraised, Desert Insurance Solutions endorses Lurisha Finger, a GIA Certified Gemologist who is based in San Diego but makes frequent trips out to the Valley. Lurisha is a GIA graduate gemologist, graduate pearl grader, graduate bench jeweler and GIA tutor. She has ten years of experience in as an expert gemologist serving multiple retail jewelry stores and private jewelers in California. Her unique combination of skills allow her to assist clients with all areas of jewelry asset management, such as providing appraisals, overseeing repairs, assisting with new purchases, assisting with re-designs of existing jewelry, and helping with unwanted items. A jewelry appraisal costs roughly $75 per item, but Lurisha offers a 10% discount to Desert Insurance Solutions clients. To arrange an appraisal, contact her at (858)775-1272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions about your valuable articles insurance, or anything else for that matter, feel free to call me. And if your friends have insurance needs, perhaps a good holiday gift for them would be my contact information, lol!
Have a safe and wonderful holiday season!
This site is informational and not a substitute for professional advice. Insurance coverage is subject to the language of the policies as issued.