Although a typical home insurance policy will not cover lost jewelry, it will usually cover jewelry that is damaged or stolen. Here’s some insight into some common coverage rules, along with some examples of where you are most likely to encounter policy limits.
What Kind of Coverage Should I Expect?
While there are a variety of homeowner's insurance options on the market, most people have HO-3 plans. These insurance policies will usually cover jewelry for specific "perils" including:
- Hail and windstorms
- Lightning and fire
- Civil commotion and riots
- An explosion
- Damage related to aircraft
- Vehicular damage
- Smoke damage
- Volcanic eruptions
- Weight of sleet, snow, and ice
- Damage due to a falling object
- Damage relating to water heaters or air conditioners
- Steam or water damage unrelated to floods
- Damage from electrical surges that are artificially generated
If you purchase jewelry and it’s ultimately damaged or destroyed due to any of the above, you can expect to be reimbursed by your homeowners' insurance policy. That said, there are some key limitations you should be aware of. For example, if your jewelry is damaged or destroyed during an earthquake or flood, it will usually not be covered by homeowner's insurance.
Also, you should bear in mind that while policies often set personal property coverage limits at 50% of the individual dwelling coverage; they also come with coverage sub-limits that can limit coverage for jewelry. A common example of this is a $1,500 to $2,000 limit for stolen watches, jewelry, precious gems, and stones.
Some Notable Exceptions
While homeowners insurance can help you recoup the costs of lost or damaged jewelry, there are exceptions. These usually include:
- Theft committed by the policyholder or another person listed on the policy
- Theft or damage occurring while the home is under construction
- Theft from campers, trailers, semi-trailers, and watercraft
- Theft occurring in a rented portion of the property
Getting More Coverage
If you are worried your home insurance won't provide enough coverage for your jewelry, you can purchase scheduled property insurance. Also called a rider, floater or endorsement, this option increases your coverage limits on specified items of greater value. You should consider acquiring scheduled property insurance if you own jewelry that's more valuable than your existing home insurance policy limits. Start by having your jewelry appraised to see exactly how valuable it is. Bear in mind that you may need regular coverage adjustments and appraisals since jewelry can increase in value over time.
To get scheduled property insurance for your jewelry, you will need to provide the insurance company with a receipt for each piece of jewelry or a professional documented appraisal.
Are There Other Options?
In addition to scheduled property insurance, you can also acquire jewelry protection insurance. Similar to a scheduled property rider, this option provides coverage for issues related to theft and fire. It also provides coverage if you accidentally lose your jewelry. Unlike a scheduled property rider, however, jewelry protection insurance is provided as a standalone policy. This means any claims you make will not impact your homeowner's insurance rates.
If you own a lot of jewelry or an especially expensive piece, it's generally a good idea to get additional insurance coverage. For instance, if your wedding ring is damaged or destroyed, you will only usually receive no more than $1,500 in compensation. That may be fine if it only cost you $1,000. If it cost more than $1,500, however, you will end up having to pay out of pocket to fund a replacement.
How to File a Claim for Damaged or Destroyed Jewelry
Whether you have traditional homeowners insurance, a floater or an additional jewelry protection plan, you should file a claim in the following manner:
- If your jewelry was vandalized or stolen, call the police and file a report. You should then get a copy of that report and include it when you file your insurance claim.
- Get in touch with your jewelry protection insurer or insurance provider the moment you realize your jewelry has been damaged, lost or stolen.
If you own a lot of jewelry, you may want to create an inventory or checklist detailing each piece. You should also check regularly to make sure that each piece is where it belongs. It's also a good idea to keep all your receipts to streamline the claims process and ensure that you get the compensation you expect if something unfortunate occurs.