A diamond engagement ring, your grandmother’s crystal, a piece of fine art displayed in your living room – think about the personal items you own that carry special meaning to you and your family. What would happen if these items were lost, stolen, or destroyed?
Too often we hear people say ‘I have a homeowner’s policy, my personal items are protected.’ While that may be true in certain situations there are exceptions. Most standard homeowner policies will protect personal items from losses resulting from fire, lightening, wind, hail, vandalism and other losses. Theft is also included, however most homeowner policies come with a limit on the amount coverage provided. That limit is usually between $1,000 to $2,500 total and in many cases, especially when we’re talking about jewelry, memorabilia, or fine art collections, it’s not nearly enough to cover the cost to replace the items.
Standard homeowner policies also do not provide coverage for lost items or mysterious disappearance, common situations include a diamond ring that is no longer where you left it or a stone that falls out of a bracelet or necklace.
When we talk to clients about their most valuable personal possessions our agents often recommend adding ‘scheduled coverage’. Scheduling specific items provides extra coverage that goes beyond what’s available in a homeowners’ policy. Scheduling is also the most effective and accurate way to get the very best valuation for your items.
Common personal items that people schedule include: Jewelry, China or Crystal, Firearms, Coins, Musical Instruments, Fine Art, even Wine Collections! Prices are surprisingly affordable and vary depending on the item and the insurance company.
“Scheduling” includes making a detailed list of each item you want to add to the policy. In order to make sure the right amount of coverage is provided insurance carriers will ask for a current appraisal. Like many things, not all appraisals are equal. Finding a reputable, established appraiser is critical and the price you pay for an appraisal is usually representative of the appraiser’s experience.
According to Andy Cline of Cline Jewelers in Edmonds, quality appraisals generally start out around $90 per piece of jewelry and they include more than just a replacement amount.
It’s important each appraisal contains a detailed description, grading, and measurement for every piece of jewelry. Cline says expert analysis and measurement of each gemstone is a critical component of the appraisal process and he always includes high quality photos of each item. Once analyzed, a quality appraiser will develop a replacement valuation for each item.
Working with an independent insurance agent who thoroughly understands scheduled coverage ensures you find the very best solution to fit your needs. While it may seem impossible to put a dollar amount on something that means so much to you and your family, knowing what you have, what it’s worth, and that it’s properly protected will help provide you peace of mind to last a lifetime.