If you possess valuable items, you need to make sure you've got jewellery insurance that's up to the job. This can be done by adding your valuable possessions to your existing home insurance policy or by buying specific jewellery cover.
We're not just talking about the super-rich. Many of us have belongings of significant value, from engagement rings to iPads and from inherited antiques to designer handbags.
So what would happen if they were stolen, lost or damaged?
Getting the right cover
We buy contents insurance to provide funds to replace items if there is a problem. But policies vary widely, so you need to get one that offers adequate cover, particularly if you have a lot of valuable items. Otherwise, you could end up out of pocket in the event of a claim.
Standard contents insurance covers your belongings up to a certain limit, often calculated according to the number of bedrooms in your home.
Your policy might, for example, offer cover up to £40,000. In other words, if all your belongings were destroyed, you could claim a maximum of £40,000.
What is single item limit?
The single item limit is a clause within most home insurance policies that refers to the maximum amount an individual item (such as a ring) will be covered for should you need to make a claim.
The single item limit is typically between £1,500 and £2,500.
Let's say your home insurance policy has a single item limit of £2,000. You could still lodge a claim for a total of £40,000, but the most you could claim for any one item would be £2,000.
So, if your gold ring is worth £2,500, the insurer would only pay out up to £2,000.
However, there are ways of protecting your more valuable items, as we explain below…
Engagement ring insurance
Engagement rings can be among the most valuable items of jewellery in a collection, and that means they bring the ‘single item limit’ on a standard home contents policy into play.
The single item limit relates to the value of individual possessions. If something is worth more than the limit, it needs to be listed separately on the policy.
You can do this when you run a quotation on our site, or you can phone up your insurer to discuss the matter.
The same applies for wedding rings. It’s important to remember that, if you’ve had these items for many years, they’re probably worth more now than when you bought them. Precious metals and stones have increased in value over the years, so it’s worth get them valued before taking out a policy.
These means you’ll be insuring them for an accurate amount, and won’t be disappointed if you have to make a claim.
If you own a large collection of expensive jewellery, you might have to pay extra for a policy with higher overall contents and single item limits.
Alternatively, you can get separate engagement ring insurance through a specialist insurer – you’d have to find one via a broker or by searching the internet.
A number of specialist companies offer ring or jewellery insurance and you can typically insure one or more items. The single item limits are usually high if you take out specialist cover – and some policies do not impose single item limits at all.
For example, the insurer might cover jewellery worth up to £50,000, whether it be one ring or a whole collection.
Most separate policies cover the ring at home and abroad, though there might be some conditions attached to worldwide cover. For instance, if you are abroad, the insurer might insist that you wear your ring at all times, or keep it in a locked safe.
Don’t forget to check that your ring is insured against accidental loss or damage. You would then be able to make a claim if you accidentally dropped the ring down the plug hole or stepped on it and broke the setting.
Finally, make sure the insurer will let you choose your own jeweller if you need to replace a lost, damaged or stolen ring. Some policies give you vouchers that can only be redeemed at high-street jewellers, which is no good if your ring is custom-made.
Whatever the item, take a photograph of it to assist with the claim.
If you’re lucky enough to own an expensive watch such as a Cartier, Omega or a Rolex, then you’ll want to consider taking out insurance so you’re not left out of pocket if you lose it or it’s stolen.
Despite a large number of fake watches in the market, luxury watches can be easily spotted and therefore could make you a target for criminals. Rolex, along with other luxury watch brands, also increase in value over time, so don’t assume a watch you bought 10 – 15 years ago is worth the same today.
Make sure valuations are up-to-date – and store the certificates in a safe place. Expensive jewellery and watches should be valued every two years by a jeweller accredited by the National Association of Goldsmiths.
Watch winders are also something to consider in this instance as this will keep the lubricating oil within the watch evenly distributed when not in use and avoid any costly repair bills.
Depending on the value of your watch, you might be able to insure it on your home contents insurance, although an expensive item will have to be listed separately on the policy, either when you take out cover, or through a conversation with your insurer.
Alternatively, you can get separate watch insurance through a specialist insurer – contact an insurance broker for advice, or search on the internet.
Personal possessions cover
Whatever you decide, make sure your contents policy includes 'personal possessions' cover as this will ensure your valuables are protected outside your home.
For example, you might take your expensive camera to a friend's wedding, only for it to be damaged beyond repair. Again, you should check that the single item limits on your policy are adequate.
Of course, you only know if a limit is adequate if you also know how much your possessions are worth. The price of gold has soared over the past few years, which means your jewellery could also have risen in value.
Antiques, art and other collectibles also vary in value according to market and economic conditions.
Experts recommend a jewellery valuation every two years so you don't get caught out by rising prices.
An outdated valuation can lead to disappointment if you have to lodge a claim. For example, if your engagement ring was last valued 10 years ago at £1,000, it could now be worth £2,000. But the insurer might stick to the original valuation.
Or, the new value might breach the single item limit, leaving you out of pocket.
The insurer could also quibble the claim if there is no up-to-date, accredited valuation document.
How to protect your possessions
Always tell your insurer about any items of particular value. Otherwise you could end up with an insurance shortfall, or even invalidate the policy.
- Keep receipts for valuable items as proof of the purchase price.
- Make sure valuations are up-to-date – and store the certificates in a safe place. Expensive jewellery should be valued every two years by a jeweller accredited by the National Association of Goldsmiths.
- Take photographs of your valuable items as they can help insurers to process your claim more easily.
- Keep valuables in a safe or lockable cabinet when not in use to deter thieves. This does not mean hiding them under the bed as this is one of the first places a burglar will look.
- Don't leave or display valuables where they can be seen by opportunist thieves.