The saying goes that diamonds are forever, but that isn’t always the case. For engaged Michigan couple Sarah Klinger and Travis Ackerman, a weekend hike at Huro National Park ended with devastation when they returned to their car to find the windows broken and Klinger’s engagement ring stolen.
And the loss was even more poignant: the ring was a family heirloom, passed down to generations of brides. Currently, a $500 reward is being posted, but there’s no way of knowing if the couple will see the ring again.
But Doesn’t Home Insurance Cover Engagement Rings?
Sadly, Klinger and Ackerman are not the first to suffer a devastating loss on their personal property. From damage to theft to merely getting lost, things can and do happen to engagement rings. But when it comes to ensuring engagement rings, there’s a lot of confusion.
As some couples may be aware, regular home insurance and renters insurance does in fact sometimes cover items like fine jewelry. However, there are a number of stipulations (which do vary by plans and providers). Here are some of the most common:
- Theft is usually covered up to the value of $1,500 to $2,500
- Coverage is typically for explosions, fires, or theft
- Lost jewelry is not covered
Reading between the lines, this means that engagement rings at values above $1,500 or $2,500 would need additional insurance to be covered. That’s where jewelry insurance comes in.
What exactly is Jewelry Insurance?
Jewelry protection insurance is exactly what it sounds like: extra coverage for expensive jewelry, most commonly used for extra protection of your engagement diamond ring or necklace you’ve inherited or any other wedding ring you have. It is also typical for possessions such as collectibles and fine furs.
While in some instances you can raise the limit of liability on your homeowners insurance, floater policy, or separate so-called jewelry insurance, will cover more types of losses, including incidental accidents, and expensive items loss like the jewelry of course.. It’s more expensive, but likely you’ll have an easier time getting the limit you need, plus it offers extra assurance that no matter what, your valuable item (your ring or other jewelry) is secured.
How much will it cost?
There’s no doubt that insurers for jewelry will cost you a bit more than raising the limit on your homeowner’s policy would.
The Knot estimates that specialized jewelry insurance costs an average of $1 to $2 for every $100 that would need to be replaced. Deductibles might vary widely, as might costs depending on the plan and multiple other factors.
What steps do I need to take?
Like shopping for any insurance, selecting the right insurance takes some time. Before you start looking at providers, though, you’ll want to have your ring appraised.
Get an appraisal:
- Confirms and documents the value of the ring
- Should provide a detailed description, limiting conditions, disclosure statement, and signature of the appraiser
- Is better done by an independent appraiser, who belongs to a professional group
A note of caution: The Gemological Institute of America does not train professionals to be appraisers, so anyone who claims they are “GIA” certified may not necessarily be a professional.
The best way to find an appraiser? These three organizations are reputable:
- The National Association of Jewelry Appraisers
- The American Society of Appraisers
- The International Society of Appraisers
Ask the Right Questions while you search:
After getting your ring appraised, it’s time to start researching your options. And that starts with knowing what you want, and need.
- What does coverage include? Are there any types of loss or damage that wouldn’t be covered?
- What would my deductible be, if there is one?
- What type of payments are offered for loss or damages (is there a cash option)?
- How is my insurance policy limit calculated?
- What is the process for filing claims?
- Will this policy also cover other valuables? (single vs blanket)
Whatever jewelry insurance company you select, they should be able to answer all of these questions with detail. And when in doubt, get printed statements and policies in writing. Like any insurance, it’s essential you fully understand the terms and conditions of what you’re purchasing.
Even after you’ve asked some essential questions, it’s always a good idea to comparison shop to make sure you’re getting a plan and provider that fits your needs best.
When you do select a provider, make sure you keep documentation and copies of the policies and agreements the insurance agent gives you, should any situation or disagreement arise. Without documentation, it’s your word against theirs. Also, make sure that you keep updated on appraisals: some insurers may request you renew your appraisal every three to five years.
What are the Best Companies to Insure an Engagement Ring?
The best ring insurance companies, as you can imagine, comes to a matter of preference, need, and circumstances. With all that in consideration, let’s delve into some of the most popular options and see which engagement ring insurance is best for what type of buyer.
Perhaps the best known on our list, Jewelers Mutual works with a great deal of both traditional and online jewelry retailers, which could be seen as a positive or a negative thing. One one hand, the company is credible enough to be trusted with a good deal of business, but on the other, it also is highly integrated with the commerce of some very popular jewelers.
That’s makes it easier, maybe, to work with, but there are always mild concerns about conflicts of interest: is Jewelers Mutual being promoted because it works with these companies and vise versa, or because it is genuinely one of the best companies for insuring an engagement ring?
You can make payments, sign in to your personal account, or file a claim (which also can be done through a hotline). There’s also a “get a quote” feature which estimates your rate, free of charge so that you can anticipate your costs.
A blog, FAQ section, and policy details are succinct but easy to find.
About the Jewelers Mutual:
Jewelers Mutual started its business in 1913 and is currently headed by CEO Scott Murphy. Partnerships include:
- American Gem Society
- Canadian Jewellers Association
- Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America
- Jewelers of America
- Canadian Jewellery Group
- Jewelers Security Alliance
- Jewellers Vigilance Canada
You can view their annual report which notes both charitable contributions and profits and expenditures.
Jewelers Mutual Ratings:
Jewelers Mutual holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, which is always a reassuring sign. Notably, there are only 5 consumer reviews: 2 positive, 2 negatives, and 1 neutral, so it’s hard to get an accurate sense of how satisfied customers are. On Consumer Affairs, Jewelers Mutual fares almost as well, with an average customer rating of four and a half stars. The only notable complaint concerned a need for the company website to be updated.
The company itself appears to be reputable, but, of course, reading the fine print is always key. Here are some of the main policies:
- Appraisals determine policy limit, but no other information is provided
- You can preview a sample policy–which is always a good idea.
- There is no specified timeline for claims
- The following losses are not covered: civil authority (seizure/confiscation); gradual deterioration; intentional acts; rodent damage; military/war action; anything involving illegal money.
- Wear and tear payments are limited to prong retipping, bent prongs, broken earring posts, clasp replacement, stone tightening, and stringing loose pearl strands
- Temporary coverage lasts 30 days
- Coverage does not exceed your insurable limit
- Losses shared with other parties will not be paid
- A suit must be filed within one calendar year of the loss
Jewelers Mutual has a long company history, solid partnerships, and good ratings. Most of the policy details seem reasonable, though it is important to note there are a fair number of exceptions for losses and damages they will not cover. The biggest cause is the lack of information regarding policy limits, claim timelines, and other details about coverage, which may simply be because it relies heavily on what plan you are offered.
Overall, this is a solid choice.
On the first impression, Lavalier’s website is more modern and easy to use. An attractive interface, with easy tabs and plenty of colors makes it both warmer and inviting than Jewelers Mutual is upon the first impression. Of course, appearances aren’t everything, and when it comes to looking for insurance, professionalism and transparency matter most.
Front and center on the homepage is the option to get a quote “under a minute” by entering your zip code. You’re then taken on a second page, where you provide your appraisal amount. With a few easy steps, you’ll be provided with a deductible and total yearly premium.
You can purchase policies online, report a claim, make a payment, and read the blog all the same features offered by Jewelers Mutual, if with a more updated interface. Finally, you can request changes to your policy through an online form.
Lavalier, unlike Jewelers Mutual, does not provide information much about the company’s history, or any partnerships. This notable absence is a bit concerning, though it does not mean the company itself is not trustworthy–you may have to inquire about these details.
What is given instead is a chart comparison of their coverage versus typical home insurance, which is useful in general, but not as much for learning about who they are as a company?
Records off-site indicate that the company was founded in 2011 (so it’s fairly new), is headquartered in California. Its top competitor is Jewelers Mutual.
Lavalier is not BBB rated. It is, however, rated as one of the second best jewelry insurance through Consumer Affairs, and has an average rating of four out of five stars. There was high praise for the company regarding customer repairs, affordable rates, and overall coverage.
While not being accredited by the Better Business Bureau should give a customer some pause, there are enough positive reviews, on other sites as well, to offer some reassurance.
One way Lavalier makes up for some of its faults in other areas is its transparency: you are provided with a lot of answers and policy details without looking too hard. The upfront nature provides some confidence in their policies and who they are as a company.
- All jewelry except for men’s and women’s watches are covered, which are covered on a case by case basis
- The maximum coverage limit is $50,000 on an item, though more coverage is possible with an underwriting review
- Your appraisal must be $5,000 or more
- Manufacturer defects, intentional losses or damages, and military/war activity are not covered
- This is an “all risk policy”: everything that is not explicitly excluded is covered
- You may insure gifts
- Worldwide coverage is provided
Lavalier vs Jewelers Mutual
Lavalier has a lot offer. Customer satisfaction at least appears to be high, and worldwide coverage, what appears to be slightly more flexible plans, and specific details provided before you begin are all advantages over Jewelers Mutual.
Also an advantage: an “all risk policy”, which means you won’t have to read between the lines as much as you might with Jewelers Mutual. Still, we can’t discount two setbacks: for one, the company is relatively new (about 7 years old), and, more importantly, it is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau. Nonetheless, with a decent amount of information and reports available, this is still a reputable company.
These companies were also rated highly by consumer affairs:
To make sure you’re getting the best insurance for your engagement ring, ask each company a setlist of essential questions, ask for sample policies and quotes, and invest in the plan and provider that makes the most sense for your situation and needs. Ultimately, the best insurer is one you feel comfortable with.
Answer: Yes, jewelry insurance is worth getting because it usually costs 1% of your secured item like a wedding ring, necklaces, and in case they get stolen or damaged, the insurance pays you off the amount these are worth, so you can replace them.
Answer: Yes, almost all online jewelry companies allow you to sign up for insurance online, and they will calculate how much your jewelry insurance will be even if it’s for one piece only.
Answer: Jewelry insurance companies will charge you a 1% fee for securing your jewelry, and in return, if you lose it, or damage it or the item gets stolen, the company will provide you with the full amount the jewelry was worth it, so you can replace it.