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June 2018

Do you need your jewelry appraised?

I’ve heard from 2 customers recently that their experiences with insurance on their jewelry didn’t go well. A woman lost her ring and filed a claim with the insurance company. She was dismayed when the check she received would not come close to allowing her to replace the lost ring. The insurance company had an old appraisal from 20 years ago. They insured her ring for that amount. They did not ask for a more current appraisal any time since originally writing the policy, which meant they never increase the policy to match current replacement costs. So, if the ring was insured for $2000.00 based on the 20-year-old appraisal, that’s all they would pay her for the ring if/when lost, meaning $2000.00 for a ring that would cost considerably more today.

The second customer recently changed insurance companies. He had appraisals from about 10 years ago. The insurance company asked for current appraisals. When new appraisals were not issued, the insurance company dropped the coverage and sent the customer a refund on that part of the policy, leaving him without any coverage for the many pieces of jewelry he owned.

In each of these instances, the customer was grossly underinsured and one was not “made whole” while the other would not have received anything if a loss occurred.

While I’m not an insurance agent, and don’t have a current license to sell insurance and cannot offer insurance advise, I will give you some ideas to ask your insurance professional about.

Most insurance companies expect that your jewelry appraisals are updated every 3 to 5 years. The prices of metals and gemstones fluctuate, going higher or lower by the day. Gold, for example, is nearly $1300.00 per ounce today, June 8, 2018. Over the past 10 years, gold was as low as $709.50 and as high as $1900.30 per ounce. Gemstones have similar cost changes.

Some questions to ask your insurance professional to be sure your jewelry is covered correctly in case of loss are:
• Ask how often you should have your jewelry appraised? Be sure to adhere to their guideline so your coverage is correct.
• Does your policy have a “cost of living” clause so your coverage increases as inflation increases?
• Does your policy cover against, “loss of, or damage to the diamonds or gemstones?” I’ve heard of diamonds falling out of the mountings and, since the client still had the mounting, the loss was not covered.
• Is there anything else you may need to insure your jewelry?

Please, do not have your jewelry insured for any phony original price from the stores that “give” you 40, 50 60% or more off the price. Your coverage should be for about what you paid for the jewelry because that’s the real price of the jewelry. Almost every insurance company I know will not pay you that phony retail if you lose the jewelry. They will only pay you what they, themselves can buy it for, and then give it to you.

There are other pieces of wisdom your insurance professional can give you, just ask them. When you need an updated appraisal, that’s where I can help you. As a Gemologist, I’m approved by my insurance company to do appraisals for you. I appraisal your jewelry here in the store when you need it, not when someone else comes into the store. I’ll first inspect your jewelry while you’re here. I’ll thoroughly clean your jewelry so I can see what you have. I’ll measure and grade each stone, determine an insurance replacement price for the jewelry, then print 2 copies of your appraisal; one for you and one for your agent. It’s that easy!

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