Insuring your valuable jewelley and watches

  • 2014-05-27


Diamonds, gold, silver, emeralds, rubies … it’s lovely owning your own little treasure chest, isn’t it? And it’s even more fun wearing and showing it off! Did you know, damage caused by the normal wear and tear of your jewellery is not covered by your short term insurance company. It is your responsibility to provide your insurance company with all the details of your jewellery and watches if you want these to be covered against accidental loss, theft or accidental damage.

What do you need to know about you jewellery and insurance? Take the time to understand your insurance policy. Contents insurance covers you for loss of or damage to the contents of your home. All-risks cover typically covers you for loss or damage to valuables, even when outside your home – i.e. personal belongings that are usually carried outside the home.

Have your jewellery valued on a regular basis since precious metals and gemstone prices fluctuate over time and depend on currency exchange rates. Valuations are very important as firstly they confirm the value of the items in question and more importantly, at the time of a loss, they confirm to the insurers that the client did in fact own the lost or stolen items.

In our experience, it happens in far too many instances where jewellery is inherited or given as gifts where the person has no record of ever having owned the items, that the claim will not be settled to your satisfaction. The only other way some insurers are able to get the client to prove their loss, is by a picture of the item. This is certainly not the best way to provide absolute proof of ownership and some insurers do not accept photographs as proof! Trying to determine, or confirm the value of an item by studying a photograph can vary drastically from the real picture – how big was that diamond exactly, and was that a silver ring or a platinum ring?

The actual value of your items also has a direct bearing on your monthly premium. If you have overvalued your jewellery, you’re paying too high a premium. No benefits will accrue at the time of claim – hence this is over payment without corresponding benefit.
If your jewellery is undervalued or have not been valued by an appraiser for a long time, you may not have enough cover and you will end up not being able to replace those items. You, the insured will end up receiving a settlement which would be substantially less than the full settlement of the claim thereby defeating the very purpose of taking insurance.

For your own peace of mind and to enable any future claims to be processed smoothly, it is well worth getting an expert valuation.
Use an expert. Is the appraiser or valuer reputable, registered with an industry body such as the Gemology Institute of Southern Africa or Jewellery Council of South Africa etc. Professional companies like ourselves will levy a nominal fee for jewellery valuations – it takes time, expertise and effort to systematically inspect, check, assess and document the details of every jewellery item or watch,
Insist on detail. If you’re using an expert then this goes without saying, but if not, make sure whoever is undertaking the valuation provides you with a highly detailed, typed description of your pieces, including everything from weight and dimensions to hallmarks, settings and types of precious gems. The more details the better – the only way to prevent a misunderstanding. Those “earrings set with 0.20ct diamonds”, were they 0.10ct each, or 0.20ct each? What were the colour and clarity of the diamonds?
Kill two birds with one stone. Get your valuer to inspect your jewellery for damage. It is always a good idea, especially with rings, to get an expert to check for loose stones, damaged claws etc. on a regular basis.
Get it done regularly. Opinion is varied whether jewellery should be valued every two or five years. It depends on the size and value of the collection and whether you are insuring new for old, all risks etc. With many policies being purchased online or telephonically these days, there is often no longer a broker reminding you that your annual review is due, so if in doubt, get it done.
Don’t assume that your household policy will cover it. In many cases it will, but you should always check. Many insurers will ask for items over a certain value e.g. R5000 to be listed as such and may increase premiums accordingly. It is also possible that your policy include a Rand limit per item on valuables. Read the small print or check with your insurer if in doubt.

We at Bresco Diamonds know exactly what these pitfalls are and can assist you – we are an accredited supplier to all major insurance companies. For instance, we’re a supplier to Santam for 30 years already. Beat that!