Considering the current gold market, everyone who has their jewelry insured (for most people, this would fall under your homeowner’s insurance) should be aware that your insurance levels may no longer adequate, even if you have the type of policy that raises the values automatically over a period of time— especially if any of your jewelry was purchased some years ago. Just for fun, if we look back 10 years, gold was approximately $625.00 per ounce (about half of what it is now), so the replacement cost listed on your insurance policy would have little resemblance to the actual replacement cost today. The solution is to have your jewelry re-evaluated to reflect today’s gold market prices, and this is especially important if a great portion of the value of any given item is gold. At this writing, gold is approximately $1350 per ounce, and at that level, the difference in the cost of a gold chain, gold bracelet, gold ring, or even a pair of gold earrings will be dramatic. (Platinum, too!)
The easiest way to upgrade your insurance is to contact your jeweler, and have your existing appraisals corrected to reflect the current market. It then becomes your responsibility to get a copy of the new appraisal to your insurance company, so your policy can be adjusted accordingly. If you own gold jewelry and are not presently insured, this would be a good time to consider adding your jewelry onto your current insurance, since most gold items purchased only a few years ago would now be valued at (in many cases) 70% higher than they were when they were bought, and you should definitely reconsider insuring (or re-insuring) anything that had been purchased ten years ago or longer.
Q: I want to insure an old ring that my grandmother left to me, and I understand that I need to have an insurance appraisal. Can any jeweler do that?
A: It depends on the nature of the ring. Many jewelers are well qualified to do insurance appraisals, but an item that’s very complicated may require someone with specific training, such as a CGA (Certified Gemologist Appraiser) or a jeweler with AGS (American Gem Society) credentials. A bona fide antique (100 years old or more) may need to have someone who specializes in that kind of jewelry to do the appraisal.
Q: The pearl necklace from my mother that I’ve been wearing for several years is still listed on her insurance policy, but someone told be that if it was lost or stolen, it wouldn’t be insured. Is this true?
A: Definitely. You need to have the piece listed on your own policy. The existing insurance only covers loss if the necklace is in your mother’s possession.
Q: I recently discovered a gold bracelet (that was listed on my insurance policy) was missing, but my insurance company has refused to cover me for the loss. If it was on my policy, don’t they have to pay me for it?
A: Not necessarily. If it simply “turned up missing”, that would be considered an “unexplained loss”, and without substantiating evidence (such as a police report) few insurance companies will cover you under those circumstances. Check your policy.
Joe Brandt is a local resident, and President of J.L. Brandt Company, offering diversified fine jewelry advisory services to the general public since 1928. Readers are invited to submit questions or comments to [email protected] Names or contact information will not be used for publication, and all inquiries will be answered promptly.