You’ve invested heavily in your jewelry collection — now’s the time to protect it. Don’t leave your jewelry collection’s safety to chance. The wrong insurance and the wrong care could mean a substantial loss in value.

For tips on how to properly insure your multi-million dollar jewelry collection, we spoke to two experts, Yamron’s GIA graduate gemologist Melissa Stein and president of jewelers insurance services at JM Insurance Services, LCC, Richard E. Franchi. Here’s their top advice.

How do you determine the value of your collection?

Before you can purchase the proper amount of insurance for your collection, you’ll need to determine your collection’s value, as well as the replacement value.

According to Melissa, you can obtain a replacement value appraisal for your jewelry from any trusted appraiser with the necessary expertise related to the specific items in your jewelry collection. “Replacement value is the most an item of like kind and quality will cost to replace,” Melissa further explains.  

She adds, “Have items re-evaluated for value every five to 10 years, or when a spike in that particular market is noted.”

What kind of paperwork should you keep on hand, related to your collection?

Yamron always recommends clients keep all of their purchase-related and maintenance-related paperwork for their jewelry collections on file, and if they happen to purchase a pre-owned piece, that they request all of the above paperwork before making that purchase. When you purchase insurance for your jewelry collection, this paperwork becomes even more important to documenting the exact value of your collection.

As Melissa recommends, “Have a digital record, as well as hard copies, of all substantive information related to your items, including copies of receipts, appraisals, condition reports, provenance and high-resolution photos. Take special care to clearly capture hallmarks and signatures when possible. Store all documents in a fire-resistant box or a bank deposit box. Compiling an index helps to ensure that every item is accounted for, and related documentation is organized, easily accessible and up to date.”

What type of insurance policy is right for your collection?

“Multiple types of insurance policies exist, from blanket to itemized policies,” explains Melissa. “Discuss with your agent how your items will be worn, stored and cared for to determine the best policy to meet your needs.”

Richard adds, “You should always purchase jewelry insurance by ‘scheduling’ your items. Some companies will offer a ‘blanket’ limit with a limitation per item, but will also extend insurance for more than just theft. Be sure, if blanket insurance is purchased, that it extends all the same coverages as provided by scheduling your items. Many blanket coverage options restrict your loss to only theft, not loss.”

(Not familiar with insurance lingo? Scheduling your items means that each piece of jewelry is insured separately.)

The one thing you don’t want to do? Don’t blindly assume that your homeowners or renter’s insurance covers your jewelry collection. Many homeowners policies exclude items of value such as jewelry, art and furs.

What should you ask before purchasing an insurance policy for your jewelry collection?

Shopping for the right insurance policy for your jewelry collection is every bit as serious as shopping for your next luxury piece of jewelry. It’s a purchase that requires careful consideration and asking a lot of questions. Richard offers a list of the questions you should ask your insurer, before signing on the dotted line:

  • How are losses settled — as a payout or as a replacement?
  • Is the policy a replacement-only policy or is it an agreed value policy with a cash-out option, wherein the insurer pays you cash at the appraised value in the event of a loss?
  • Will the insurance policy cover loss, theft and damage?
  • Does the policy only cover theft?
  • Does the policy cover “mysterious disappearances”?
  • Does the policy have a per-dollar limitation per item?
  • Does the insurance policy include worldwide coverage?
  • Will the insurance policy cover loose gemstones set by your jewelry?
  • If you have a claim, will the policy require that you pay deductibles or other out of pocket expenses?
  • Does the policy cover loss or damage as the result of flooding, earthquakes or other natural disasters?
  • Will the coverage limit fluctuate based on market conditions? If so, does it fluctuate via an automatic value adjustment or a percentage increase?
  • Will the insurance policy provide automatic coverage for newly acquired items? If so, is there a time limit during which the automatic coverage applies?

Additionally, when asking about payouts versus replacements, be specific about the replacement options. Will your insurer provide you with an exact replacement of the exact piece that you lost? Or will you have to settle for a similar piece that’s the same value? That may very well determine your policy for you, if you know you’ll only want the exact piece that was lost, damaged or stolen.

Make sure that all questions of concern or any specifics are spelled out in your insurance policy, in writing. You don’t want to risk your collection, just because an insurer told you one thing, but your policy stated another.

Keeping Your Jewelry Safe in the Meantime

Beyond insuring your jewelry collection, how can you keep it safe in the meantime, both before you purchase a policy and after?

Firstly, always be sure to keep up on your jewelry collection’s maintenance needs. Your go-to jeweler can assist with this, keeping your pieces up to date and ensuring that they’re always in the best condition possible. They can likewise perform thorough, regular inspections to ensure there’s no damage or risk of damage.

Likewise, avoid wearing loose jewelry or jewelry in situations where you know you’re more apt to lose or damage a piece. A strenuous hike while on vacation may not be the best time to wear that delicate necklace, and loose, ill-fitting rings are always a bad idea.

Have a safe place for your jewelry (perhaps, quite literally, a safe). Don’t leave pieces lying around and be careful with how you store your jewelry.

Choosing the Right Jewelry Protection for Your Collection

If you’re ready to begin shopping for the right policy for your collection, start with creating a record of your pieces — including compiling all of the paperwork, as well as the photos, suggested by Melissa above. Then, ensure that your appraisals for all pieces are up to date. Then, you’re ready to begin shopping for a policy. Not sure where to begin? The team at Yamron can assist with recommendations to meet your needs.

For all of your luxury jewelry needs, talk to the team at the Yamron showroom in Naples. Whether you’re just building your luxury jewelry collection with a few first pieces or you have a substantial collection that’s ever-growing, we can help you not only continue to refine that collection, but also help you keep it at its top value. For inquiries, call us at 239-592-7707 or email contact@yamron.com.