As rocketing gold prices make protecting jewellery collections new and old more important than ever, these are the questions to ask when choosing a policyDecember 4, 2020 By Annie North
You’ve made the leap and invested in a piece of fine jewellery. While thoughts might turn to where to wear it and how best to show it off on Instagram, there is something else you should consider – jewellery insurance.
Often, it is assumed that jewellery is covered by household insurance, but this might not always be the case, or if there is jewellery cover it may not offer sufficient cover and you could have to pay a high excess (the first part of any claim to be paid). This is why, when insuring your jewellery collection, a specialist jewellery insurer is the best bet.
“Anybody can sell motor insurance – there are hundreds of policies for sale out there – but when you’ve got items like jewellery, with huge amounts of sentimental and emotional value attached to them, it’s important to feel like there’s care included with your insurance policy,” says Joanna Hammett, a personal insurance team leader at TH March.
Specialist jewellery insurance broker TH March has been offering tailored packages for individual jewellery items and collections since Queen Victoria was on the throne. Established in 1887, the business began when Thomas March, the son of a Hatton Garden diamond merchant, realised that the trade coming through his father’s business was largely uninsured.
The dangers of uninsured jewellery
Though we now appreciate the importance of insurance, many still run the risk of not protecting precious jewellery collections. The consequences of such gambles were exposed starkly on the world’s front pages in 2015, when it was revealed that much of the jewels in the infamous £200 million Hatton Garden heist were not covered by insurance.
Whilst none of us like to imagine the worst happening, neither would we want to face such a gut-wrenching experience of losing valuable and sentimental jewels with absolutely no recourse. Buying a jewellery insurance policy is in no way compulsory, although Joanna at TH March says that it can bring “peace of mind”.
Firstly, and most importantly: get your item or collection of jewellery valued by your jeweller. Investing in making sure this is done properly is well worth it as it will determine the settlement of any future claims.
Have your collection valued regularly
Valuations are something that should be done regularly, as jewellery tends to appreciate in value as the prices of precious metals and gemstones rise. The price of gold, for example, hit an all-time high this year of more than $2,000 an ounce – 70% higher than it was five years ago.
“Let’s say you have your £5,000 ring,” says Joanna, setting the scene. “You’ve insured it for five years and we’ve recommended you speak to your jeweller about revaluation. But, you’ve thought, ‘Well, it costs a bit of money so I’ll leave it.’ If in five years’ time the ring is worth, say, £6,000, you would need to make up the shortfall in any claim, as your insurer would only cover the amount it has been most recently valued at, not the true value.”
There may be some exceptions to this with certain high-value home insurances, so it is important you check how your current insurer would deal with any claims.
Establishing a trusted relationship with your chosen jeweller is important and you should keep in regular contact with them as they can advise how often you should have your jewels revalued.
How to get a jewellery insurance policy
Valuation in hand, it is time to select a policy, and this can often be done fairly simply online. TH March, for example, has an online quote service where you can arrange insurance within minutes.
In some instances, however, insurers may have follow-up questions, particularly if your jewellery has some bespoke elements. There may also be further questions asked for certain occupations and high-value collections that may result in additional conditions being placed on the insurance.
“If someone wants their watch insured and we find out they’re a builder, the insurer may not want them to be wearing it on the building site,” explains Joanna. “We explain to the customer at the start of the policy, before they take it out, that this condition exists and must be adhered to at all times.”
Be transparent with your insurer from the start
Other common questions you might face could be how often you intend to wear your jewellery, and how it will be stored when not worn. Such ironing out of the more bespoke elements of your jewellery insurance policy at the beginning could make all the difference later down the line should you need to make a claim. “Honesty creates the best policy,” quips Joanna.
Another thing to consider when choosing the right insurance policy to cover your jewellery is how attached you are to your collection. In the case of a claim, many insurers will hand you a cash voucher that only allows you to choose a new item from a jeweller of their choosing. If you have a standard design, such as a solitaire diamond ring, and no preference for a particular jeweller, this may work for you.
If, on the other hand, what you want to insure is a contemporary item of jewellery by an independent designer, such as the designs stocked on The Jewellery Cut Shop, or you would like the option of being able to go to your own jeweller, it would be best to seek out a more flexible jewellery insurance policy.
Flexible insurance policies for designer jewellery
At TH March, for example, they always look to arrange for lost or stolen items under their policies to be replaced with an exact like-for-like item or, where this is not possible, an item of equivalent quality to the one lost or stolen. Wherever possible, TH March aims to allow the claimant to replace the item through their jeweller.
“We do pride ourselves on our customer service; that’s what we’re best at,” says Joanna. “We’re great at providing a good product and our claims service is, I think, second to none. We exceed people’s expectations and we go above and beyond sometimes what’s needed.”
One thing is certain when it comes to choosing jewellery insurance: always read the policy carefully. Our advice, when it comes to choosing jewellery insurance, is to select a quality insurer that fits your needs for your collection and then – should disaster strike – a horrible situation will be made that little bit more bearable.
To arrange your jewellery or watch insurance policy, or get a quick quote, visit TH March