If a thief breaks into your apartment and makes off with your flatscreen TV, your apartment insurance will cover it. Not so if your $15,000 engagement ring or Rolex disappears too.
“Renters, co-op, and condo insurance policies aren’t much help if your jewelry is stolen or lost. Most put strict limits on jewelry coverage, paying as little as $500 total,” says New York City apartment insurance broker Jeff Schneider of Gotham Brokerage. “If you have jewelry worth more than a few thousand dollars, getting jewelry insurance is always a smart idea.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Q. How much does jewelry insurance cost?
In New York City, rates vary by borough and are based on decades-old statistical loss data (which may be too old, in some cases), Schneider says.
Interestingly, Manhattan is the cheapest. Annual rates range from $13-$25 per $1,000 of appraised value, Schneider says. In Brooklyn, it’ll cost you two to three times as much to insure your baubles. Insurers charge $35-$45 per $1,000 of appraised value.
“To insure a $10,000 diamond ring or watch, expect to pay $130-$250 a year in Manhattan, and $350-$450 a year in Brooklyn,” he says.
Q. Will I be covered if my jewelry is lost, or only if it’s stolen?
Unlike your items under your renters insurance or co-op/condo insurance, jewelry is covered whether it’s lost, stolen, or, in some cases, damaged.
“The most common situation is theft from residence, where someone like a contractor or babysitter has access to your apartment and your jewelry goes missing,” Schneider says. “Since you’re covered whether it’s lost or stolen, you don’t even need to make a specific accusation.”
Loss-wise, Schneider says, “we’ve had rings lost in the sand in the beach and dropped down subway gratings. People take off their watches on airplanes when washing up. Earrings, especially clip-ons, just fall off."
Note: While insurance covers a chipped diamond—for example, if your ring gets caught in door jam—it won’t cover a diamond that cracks because of an internal flaw.
Q. I have a lot of jewelry. Do I have to insure each piece individually?
Blanket coverage—which means you don’t need to identify each item in advance of a loss—is fine if you have a number of less-expensive items.
If you own items worth several thousand dollars apiece (or more), it’s best to get specific coverage, where the appraisal is written into a separate jewelry policy, Schneider says. If something happens to your jewelry, claims resolution will be much easier with specific coverage.
“In addition, make sure to get an ‘agreed value’ policy, so that you are entitled to receive the appraised value if it’s lost or stolen, versus the replacement value, which could be substantially lower,” Schneider says.
Q. How often should I have my jewelry reappraised?
Though many insurers adjust coverage each year to account for inflation, they don’t require reappraisals. However, it’s smart to have expensive items reappraised every five years or so to account for changes in market value.
Another factor to confirm in advance is how you will be reimbursed for a loss, Schneider says. Some insurers may simply mail you a check for the appraised value, while others set prices based on their lists of approved vendors.
It helps that appraisals tend to be somewhat inflated to begin with.
“If you buy a ring for $8,000, the jeweler will probably give you a $12,000 appraisal on the spot,” Schneider says, “so you will probably have a bit of a cushion should market values shoot up between appraisals.”
Gotham Brokerage Co., Inc., an insurance brokerage, has been serving NYC renters and co-op and condo owners for over 45 years. For a free quote, click on over to Gotham Brokerage or give them a call at (212) 406-7300.
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