Did you know your home insurance policy could have you covered if someone broke into your gym locker and stole your shiny new watch or diamond ring? Home insurance can cover you in more ways than you'd expect, especially when it comes to reimbursing you for any damage or loss to your jewelry, collectibles, family antiques, and other high-value possessions — but it's important to understand your policy's limits and exclusions. Plus, it helps to take a few simple steps to protect your irreplaceable belongings and prevent a loss before it happens.
Know your limit
Your home insurance policy can protect your high-value items no matter where in the world you are when the loss or damage occurs — at home, on the road, and everywhere in between. While some coverage for expensive valuables, like jewelry, is built into most home insurance policies, it's important to review your policy limits from time to time and let your broker know of any changes to your collection so you can be sure that all of your expensive possessions will be covered if they're lost or damaged.
Your policy likely has a specific coverage limit for the combined value of your high-value items — and you might be surprised just how quickly your collection can add up and exceed it. The average coverage limit for a homeowner's jewelry, watches, gems, antiques, and fur or fur-trimmed garments (yes, these are often grouped together) is between $3,000 and $6,000. And if your belongings in this category add up to a higher amount, you should consider purchasing extra coverage.
In certain circumstances (if damage is caused by fire, lightning, or an explosion, for example), your limit for valuables coverage, which is usually located in the "Special Limits of Insurance" section of your home insurance policy, could be waived (which means you could get the full replacement cost or predetermined value of your high-value items, even if it goes beyond your limit). In these situations, your overall policy limit will still apply.
Want to make sure your jewelry and other prized possessions will be covered if they're lost, stolen, or damaged in a fire or other home emergency? Follow these five steps:
- Keep your receipt and snap a photo. If you ever need to make a claim, it helps to have proof of how much you paid for something — especially if it's valuable. It doesn't hurt to keep a photo on file, too.
- Have your jewelry, antiques, and collectibles appraised by a pro. To find out the true value of a specific piece, you'll need to have it appraised by a professional appraiser in Canada. Keep the appraiser's report on hand — you may need to show it to your broker later.
Before you take your jewelry to an appraiser:
- Ask for recommendations from people you trust
- Research the appraiser’s credentials and make sure they’re certified
- Remember, you get what you pay for — if an appraiser offers their services for free, their work might not be of the same quality that you'd get from one who charges a reasonable rate for a job well done
- Take a full inventory. Be sure to keep your home inventory up to date and include a detailed record for each of your valuables, including appraisal amounts for your pricier pieces.
- Review your policy limits. Once you've noted each high-value piece in your home inventory, add up the total value and check your policy's valuables limit to make sure it will cover your collection.
- Talk to your group's broker. If the total value of all of your jewelry, watches, gems, and fur garments adds up to an amount that's higher than the limit noted in your policy, you'll need to reach out to your group's broker and add additional coverage for each specific item in your collection. This additional coverage will likely include a rider or floateropens a pop-up with definition of rider or floater to your home insurance policy, which will cover the value of your priceless artwork collection or gems.
Protect your precious stones
Just as you take steps to protect your home from break-ins, fires, and floods, it's important to protect your watches and jewelry, too. Here are three simple steps you can take to keep your valuables safe and sound:
- Lock it up. For valuables like watches, jewelry, or furs, be sure to store it somewhere safe, where it can't be seen or stolen if you have to take them off while you're out and about (at the gym or your office, for example). Lock it up with a secure, high-quality lock.
- Or better yet, leave it at home. Many gyms and other fitness facilities warn their members against leaving valuables in the locker room, whether they're locked up or not — even high-quality locks aren't thief-proof, and your gym probably won't reimburse you for stolen items.
- Protect it from the elements. Whenever you're not wearing your prized possessions, store them in a secure space, away from extreme heat and moisture. Consider placing high-end jewelry or heirlooms in a fireproof safe.
Whether that special someone has finally popped the question with the perfect ring or you've inherited a priceless family heirloom, take stock of your high-value collection and talk to your group's broker to make sure you have the right coverage for each precious piece.
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