When you bought home insurance, you did so to protect your finances should something happen to your most valuable assets. For starters, of course, the policy helps repair or rebuild your house, which is probably your largest investment (or, at least, one of your largest) from a covered claim. But your home insurance policies extend beyond covering your house.
You also get personal property coverage, which can replace your possessions from incidents like fire damage or theft. That means you get coverage for your electronics, clothes, furniture and more. But does that include jewelry? Yes — but there are caveats you should know. And that can be a problem since jewelry is usually both expensive and easily stolen or damaged.
To help you better understand when your homeowners insurance covers jewelry, it can help to first dig deeper into your personal property coverage in general.
How much personal property is covered by home insurance?
Your personal property coverage typically offers coverage up to a percentage of your dwelling coverage, which is the amount for which your house is insured. The Insurance Information Institute (III) says that most insurance providers offer personal property coverage totaling 50-70 percent of your dwelling coverage.
Review your policy details to find out how much personal property coverage you have. If your dwelling is insured for $300,000 and you have 50 percent personal property coverage, your policy could pay up to $150,000 to replace your belongings after a covered loss.
Jewelry is included in that personal property coverage but usually only up to a specified dollar amount. Because jewelry is both valuable and easy-to-steal, insurance companies usually cap jewelry coverage at a relatively low dollar amount. The III says a $1,500 policy limit is common for jewelry.
So if your jewelry is destroyed in a fire or stolen by a thief — basically, if a peril your policy covers affects you — your home insurance will pay out for it, but only up to your policy limits. And if you have expensive pieces or an extensive jewelry collection, that limited amount of coverage probably will not be enough.
Does home insurance cover lost jewelry?
No. Because losing items is not a peril covered by homeowners insurance policies, you cannot call on your home insurance policy if you misplace your jewelry.
That said, you do have options to replace your jewelry against loss. You can buy a specific jewelry insurance policy, and most of these policies insure lost items. You can also see if your insurance company will add an endorsement for your jewelry to your existing policy and, if so, if that endorsement will cover lost items.
How do you increase insurance coverage for your jewelry?
If your existing personal property coverage’s limit on jewelry is close to the amount you need, you can call your insurer to see if it would increase that policy limit. If you have $1,500 of jewelry coverage right now, for example, you may be able to raise that limit to $2,500.
What if you still lack sufficient coverage? To provide homeowners with the right coverage for their jewelry (and other high-value items like art, collectibles, rugs and firearms), many insurance companies offer endorsements. Also called riders or floaters or referred to as scheduling the item, these are add-ons to your existing home insurance policy.
These endorsements specifically call out the pricey item — in this case, your jewelry — and its value, offering coverage for the item’s appraised or purchased value. In some cases, endorsements will offer broader protection, including coverage if you lose the item.
Adding an endorsement to your policy will raise the cost of your premiums. The amount of that increase generally depends on how much coverage you add with the endorsement; more coverage costs more, as you probably expect.
To see if your insurance company will offer an endorsement for your jewelry, call and speak with your agent. Generally, you will need to get the item appraised or show proof of purchase so your insurer can verify the item’s value and insure that amount.
If an endorsement is not available for you, you can also look into getting a jewelry insurance policy.
What kind of insurance policies are available for jewelry?
Generally, you have two options:
Homeowners insurance endorsement
As mentioned, this policy add-on — also called a floater or a rider — adds the specific jewelry item(s) to your policy and extends coverage for their appraised or purchased value.
If the item is destroyed by a covered cause, stolen or lost (if your endorsement covers lost items), you would file a claim just like any other home insurance claim. Depending on the specifics of your endorsement, you may or may not need to pay a deductible.
Certain companies also offer stand-alone jewelry insurance policies. Some companies specialize in these types of policies, like Jewelers Mutual, while some major insurance carriers offer jewelry policies, like Geico. The benefits of a jewelry insurance policy are that it should cover lost items and may not require a deductible. The drawback is that you then have a separate policy to manage — and pay for.
Will homeowners insurance cover lost jewelry?
If you need to rely on your standard personal property coverage, the answer is probably no. If you have added an endorsement for your jewelry to the policy, you may be in luck. Review your policy details to see if your endorsement covers lost items.
What is jewelry insurance?
Jewelry insurance is a stand-alone insurance policy that does exactly what you probably expect: it insures jewelry. These policies usually list each insured jewelry item, along with its appraised or purchased value, and insure against damage, theft and accidental loss. Jewelry insurance policies may or may not come with a deductible.
Is jewelry insurance expensive?
No. Usually, insuring your jewelry costs just 1-2 percent of its appraised value each year. And considering the major expense you can avoid by not having to pay out-of-pocket if something happens to your jewelry, many people consider that cost well worth it.