From engagement and eternity rings to diamond earrings and necklaces, heirloom-worthy jewellery has been a fashion mainstay for as long as we can remember. And for those lucky enough to own a piece or two, caring for and getting jewellery insurance for your unique pieces should be top priority to ensure peace of mind.
When Lady Gaga wore a Tiffany’s diamond necklace worth $30 million (£22 million) to the Oscars in 2019, she lamented such pieces as the accessory du jour once more. However, this wasn’t the first time the 128-carat yellow diamond was seen – it adorned the neck of iconic Hollywood movie star Audrey Hepburn during her Breakfast at Tiffany’s press tour in 1966.
Whether it’s a piece that stuns on the red carpet again and again, or something that’s been in the family for 100-plus years, you might be surprised when I tell you that many people either don’t have their jewellery insured at all or it has been woefully undervalued.
For clarity, what do we mean by jewellery? For the purposes of this piece, we’ll take it to mean all women’s jewellery and men’s cufflinks, dress studs, rings, pocket watches and so on. We have written a separate article on watches which you may like to read here.
What is jewellery insurance cover and do I need it?
For illustrations’ sake, let’s take the unlikely scenario that you are about to buy your very first piece of jewellery and want to know how to insure it.
Your first question may very well be, do I need to have my jewellery insured on a separate policy or will it be covered by my current home and contents? This is an interesting question and one that really only you and your insurance adviser can answer.
As insurance advisers we would examine your existing home and contents policy and either recommend adding it to that, or if you were going to be adding a large jewellery collection that’s valued over £10 to15 million, then we’d probably suggest a separate jewellery insurance policy. There is no right or wrong answer to this, but a discussion with an adviser will help you work out which is the best option for you. It will all depend on the current policy you have and the value of the jewellery to be insured. Here are few things you will need to consider.
1. Single Item Limit
If we are going to add it to your current home and contents policy then we’d make you aware that there may be a ‘single item limit’ on the policy, (for example, the maximum financial figure your insurer will pay out for any one single item).
For instance, if your single item limit is £5,000 and the jewellery item you wanted to add is worth £7,000, the maximum you will receive if you make a claim is £5,000, so we would not recommend this course of action. This becomes particularly important when read in conjunction with the next point.
2. Gold prices
Unless you are in the jewellery business or you follow the stock market, you could be forgiven for not knowing that the price of gold has skyrocketed in the past few years. A gold necklace valued at £500 in 2019 could be worth £1,500 now; when a client multiplies this up across their entire jewellery collection, they can quickly find they are underinsured by a third and could easily be pushing the ‘single item limit’ on their policy too.
This rise in prices is particularly relevant for men’s items including pocket watches, cufflinks, and cygnet rings for example, because of the amount of gold used to make them. It’s not unheard of that the gold chain attached to a pocket watch is worth more now than the watch itself.
Getting a jewellery valuation
Before you get your jewellery insured, you and your insurer will need to know that it is worth. Hopefully it came with some paperwork and its provenance is verifiable. If you don’t have any paperwork, then getting a good valuation done by a reputable valuer is crucial. We have trusted valuers that we work with for our clients at Partners&. We recommend a full revaluation of your jewellery collection every three years, especially if you have not had it done since 2019 as your figures will more than likely need adjusting.
Do you have questions about insuring your jewellery? Contact our specialist insurance partner Partners&.
Care and safety of your jewellery
A good insurance adviser will talk to you about the care and safety of your jewellery as much as the value of it. Before we speak to the insurer we will want to know where your jewellery will be kept, if you have locks on all your doors and windows, if you have a safe, what kind of alarm and security systems you have and if the alarm goes through to a central monitoring system or if it is ‘bells only.’ We want to be able to tell the insurer that you are going to do everything you can to keep your jewellery safe, to ensure they will offer you a competitive premium.
We’ll also advise you to have the clasps and claws on your items checked, especially if you wear the items regularly. Essentially, the more you can do to protect your assets the better. It’s also worth noting that if you have say £100,000 worth of jewellery but you only ever have £50,000 worth out of the safe at one time, you should receive a reduction in your premium.
For many, the first piece of jewellery they own will be inherited on the death of a relative. Should you be in that fortunate/unfortunate position, how quickly do you need to get the piece insured and how? We’d say, give your insurer a ring, let them know the approximate value of the item on the day you bring it home, they will add a note to your home and contents policy and you will then have 30 days to get a professional valuation to them (we will always recommend our trusted valuation partners). If it is a very expensive piece, you’ll need special transportation insurance which must be arranged in advance.
More than just an insurance claim
The most frequent claims against jewellery policies are accidental loss or accidental damage, for example, an earring lost at a party or a ring that’s fallen overboard on a boat.
There is a famous story of a man losing his Rolex watch worth £33,000 over the side of a boat; aside from being worth a lot of money, it also had great sentimental value as it had belonged to his father. The insurers were happy to pay for a replacement, but they appreciated the sentimentality of the item so sent a diver to see if they could find the watch. Luckily, with clear waters the watch was found and reunited with its grateful owner.
Similarly, and uniquely, at Partners& we have a Client Proposition fund which we are able to use in certain instances to help our clients keep their jewellery safe, for example helping them fund a valuation or making a contribution to their new safe. With many high-net-worth individuals as our clients, we pride ourselves on building long term relationships and, like the insurer above, ‘going the extra mile’ for our clients when required.
Jewellery almost always carries sentimental as much as a retail value, so we would recommend you talk to an experienced jewellery adviser like Partners& to keep your most precious items safe.
Six things to look for in a jewellery insurance policy
As you go through the details with your adviser, we’d suggest you look out for:
1. The policy must be an ‘All Risks’ policy
2. Make sure you have ‘Agreed Value Cover’ (e.g. you paid £10,000 for the item, you receive £10,000 back)
3. The insurance must be ‘worldwide’, not just the UK
4. Check to see if you have ‘Extended Replacement Cover’
5. Check that there aren’t any limitations of where and when you can wear the jewellery
6. Check you fully understand any security conditions that are a requirement of your policy
By Matthew Mullee, Insurance Adviser, Partners&
Partners& challenge the status quo by delivering insurance advice that makes a difference. Combining technical knowledge with service and intelligent use of technology, they offer clients the confidence and peace of mind that you are protected so with tailored recommendations that are right for you.