Written by: Jessica Burke | Photo: Hannah Herpin Creative
Congratulations! You are the proud owner of a stunning engagement ring. You’ve not only hit a major life milestone, you’ve also just made an investment that will increase in value over time. And yes, while your love will grow throughout the years, the investment we’re talking about here is the ring. Many wonderful memories will be attached to that ring, but did you know that fine jewelry (like engagement rings) appreciates in value over time? Have you ever thought about what you’d do if that ring were ever lost, stolen or damaged? No?
The average amount spent on an engagement ring in 2019 was $5,900 (per The Knot’s 2019 Jewelry and Engagement Study). That’s no small amount of money and if you’re like most newly engaged and newlywed couples, losing close to six thousand dollars (or more!) isn’t something that would sit well with your budget. So what are you to do?
We spoke with Sabrina Hernandez of Clockwork Insurance Services in Metairie and learned the ins and outs of insuring fine jewelry and how you can protect your investment.
Many people assume that their fine jewelry is covered under their homeowners or renters policy, and it may very well be. But there are some important questions to ask before you breathe a sigh of relief and move on with your wedding planning.
“Always call your agent and ask these two huge questions,” Hernandez advises. “Number 1: Are there any policy limitations, including per piece limits, on fine jewelry? And Number 2: What is my deductible on these type of losses?”
Hernandez has seen policy caps as low as $2,500 paired with deductibles as high as $1,000 on fine jewelry. “In Louisiana and on the Gulf Coast, high deductibles are the norm,” she says. “If you have a $2,500 cap and $1,000 deductible, the most you’ll receive on a loss is $1,500.” The only way to know where you stand is to call and ask. Every policy is different and you don’t want to find out after a loss that you’re not covered for anywhere close to full replacement value.
To make matters worse, many property policies do not cover damage to jewelry so if your stone is accidentally cracked or shattered or a prong is bent and you lose a stone, you may be paying to repair this out of your own pocket.
In addition to having their jewelry insured for only a fraction of its replacement value, many people don’t realize that they have other options and best of all that they are actually affordable. Hernandez filled us in on Personal Jewelry Insurance repair and replacement coverage by Jewelers Mutual that Clockwork Insurance offers.
“People automatically think it’s expensive,” shares Hernandez, “but in the New Orleans area, for $10,000 in coverage, the cost is about $100 per year. It is extremely affordable.”
These policies cover everything from mysterious disappearances and theft to repairs. Insured jewelry is also covered worldwide, so if you lose your ring while on your honeymoon out of the country, you’re covered. “These are things people just don’t really think about,” says Hernandez. “We think about it for them.”
So what is the process of getting your jewelry insured?
First you must get your jewelry appraised. “If you work with a jeweler, definitely have them appraise the piece,” Hernandez says. “If you don’t have a specific jeweler and your ring was purchased from a big box store you’ll want to have it appraised by an individual jewelry appraiser. If you have a very detailed receipt that includes the karat weight of the diamond and those types of details, we can often use your receipt.”
Personal Jewelry Insurance isn’t just for newly purchased pieces either. “We can insure any jewelry pieces whatsoever. It doesn’t matter if you inherit family pieces, as long as you have a recent appraisal we can insure it.”
Once you have your jewelry appraised, simply call Clockwork and get a quote for coverage. It’s really that easy.
And what about the claims process?
“It’s really easy,” says Hernandez. “Jewelers Mutual has an 800 number with a dedicated claims staff. They do everything through fax and email so there’s no worry about taking time for appointments to meet with them.”
“Many of the jewelers in the New Orleans area are insured with Jewelers Mutual,” says Hernandez, “so that makes it even easier to get your repairs or replacement.” If you’ve lost your jewelry, you’ll need to type a statement saying the date and time of the last time you saw the piece. If your jewelry was stolen, you’ll need a police report. Once you’ve sent these documents in, you’ll go to your jeweler and tell them you’re working with your insurance company and Jewelers Mutual pays the jeweler directly. If you have a repair, you’ll bring the piece to the jeweler of your choice and they work with your jeweler directly.
For Hernandez, helping her customers find affordable coverage is extremely rewarding. “My favorite part is when I get the guys on the phone and they’ve just purchased a ring and it’s a big surprise and they’re worried they’re going to lose it,” she shares. “Whether they spent $4000 or $10,000 it’s a fortune to them and when I tell them their coverage is $75-$150 per year, they’re so surprised and say, ‘Well sign me up now!’”
(Note: This article was originally published in 2016 and updated in 2020; we were unable to reach Clockwork Insurance for updated pricing information for insurance rate ranges for 2020.)