Protecting Valuable Articles
Compiled from information provided by Chubb Insurance Company
Protecting Your Jewelry
Many people take steps to protect their jewelry by installing alarms in their homes or having
their valuables checked annually for loose stones. But there's still risk. According to the U.S.
Department of Justice, nearly $1 billion in jewelry and precious metals were stolen in the U.S. in
2001*. To balance your protection efforts, consider the coverage offered by a valuable articles
policy. Here are some reasons why:
• Homeowners insurance may not be enough. Although some homeowners insurance policies
provide more jewelry coverage than others, there are still limitations. To secure the broadest
coverage available, purchase Valuable Articles coverage and have your jewelry "itemized." Each
piece will be separately described and individually valued. With this agreed-value approach, you
receive the itemized amount with no deductible or depreciation in the event of a total covered
loss up to the amount of itemized coverage for that category of valuable articles. You'll also
receive worldwide coverage on these scheduled items, as well as mysterious disappearance
protection. So if your ring is lost or stolen on a trip in Europe, you won't have to worry.
• It's relatively inexpensive. Annual coverage for jewelry worn regularly costs about 1 to 3
percent of its appraised value. If you keep your jewelry in a bank vault, the cost to insure is
greatly reduced-about one-third of the "standard" rate. The higher rate only applies when you
take your jewelry out of the vault to wear it. Considering the peace of mind it provides, jewelry
coverage is relatively inexpensive.
• It's not complicated. We only request appraisals for items valued at $10,000 or
more. For jewelry valued at less than $10,000, all we need is a detailed description and value.
(An appraisal is still recommended).
Understanding Jewelry Appraisals
An accurate and detailed jewelry appraisal will provide you and your insurance company with
the information necessary to settle a claim fairly and quickly. For insurance purposes, you will
want a "replacement cost appraisal", which can differ from other types of jewelry appraisals,
such as a "fair market value appraisal" and an "estate appraisal". A replacement cost appraisal is
a formal opinion of a jewelry item, offered by a certified gemologist, and it should verify the
authenticity, design, quality and monetary value of the item. Your appraisal should contain the
• A detailed description
• Shape and cut (including measurements and weight)
• Finish (including polish and symmetry)
• Color Grade. Diamond coloration is based on a scale of D (colorless) through Z (yellow).
Since colorless diamonds allow the most light to pass through, they are the most radiant and
the most highly valued.
• Clarity Grade. Almost all diamonds contain small traces of non-diamond crystals called
"inclusions". Most inclusions are not visible to the naked eye and require magnification for
viewing. Diamonds with no inclusions are quite rare and extremely valuable. The diamond
clarity scale ranges from FI (flawless) to I3 (Imperfect: eye-visible inclusions).
• Estimated replacement value
It is also important to note that an appraisal differs from a diamond certificate (also called a
diamond report). A diamond certificate is a document generated by a gemological laboratory that
describes a loose diamond but does not offer any type of valuation. Diamond certificates are not
created for mounted or set stones. The key difference between a certificate and an appraisal is
that a certificate does not offer a value for the jewelry item. For this reason, an appraisal is
needed for insurance purposes.
With Valuable Articles coverage, your jewelry can be itemized, with each piece described and
individually valued on your policy so you don't have to worry about an accidental loss, chipped
stone or stolen item. You can also help prevent jewelry losses or damages by following these
simple tips to properly care for your valuables:
Always separate jewelry items by storing them in soft cloth in a jewelry box or a safe deposit
box. Obtain fabric pouches from a jeweler or retailer. Make sure you leave enough space for
each item in a jewelry box or storage area. Twisting and bending of semi-rigid chains and pieces
can cause permanent damage.
Protecting from Loss
Consider a false-bottom container for storing jewelry. These are empty containers that appear to
be common household items like food cans. Store these items in a practical place and make sure
they are not mistakenly thrown away. Never keep jewelry in the pockets of clothing, often it is
easily forgotten and unknowingly thrown in the washing machine or taken to the dry cleaners.
Guarding Against Theft
It's best not to keep your most precious jewelry in your bedroom or jewelry box. Statistics show
that bedrooms are the first place burglars enter after breaking into a home. For optimum security,
store valuable jewelry in a secure home safe, approved by Underwriters Laboratory (UL). When
traveling, never pack your jewelry in your luggage, and always use a hotel vault or security vault
when you arrive at your destination.
Caring for Specific Pieces
• Watches. Replace broken or scratched crystals immediately – even hairline cracks can allow
dust or moisture into the mechanism, threatening its accuracy. Check your watch clasp
periodically to prevent accidental loss.
• Diamonds. Even though a diamond is the hardest transparent substance known to man, it's still
important to be careful. Be cautious while engaged in rigorous activity and when cleaning the
diamond, use mild detergent or a sudsy ammonia bath. Never let your diamond come into
contact with chlorine bleach, as it can pit and discolor the mounting. Have your prongs and
mountings checked annually and your stone professionally cleaned at least once a year.
• Pearls. Pearls need special care since they can easily dry out and become damaged due to
lotions, cosmetics and hairspray. Have your pearls cleaned and restrung regularly to prevent
pearl strings from becoming stretched, weakened or soiled. Wash pearls with mild soap and
water after each wearing. Over time, perfume, cosmetics and hair sprays can erode the quality
of your pearls.
• Gemstones. Guard against loose settings by having prongs and mountings checked annually.
Because each gemstone is different, check with your jeweler for specific care and cleaning