Do You Need A Jewelry Appraisal?

How Do You Decide If You Need A Jewelry Appraisal?

First of all, you have spent your time and money picking out nice pieces of jewelry or have been given special items from family members. Your favorite pieces of jewelry reflect who you are and connect you to special moments with the ones you love, so protecting your cherished items from theft, damage, loss, or mysterious disappearance is important.

We have sadly seen many people who have had a loss of their jewelry, only to find out it was not covered by their homeowner’s policy. Most insurance companies require a separate rider attached to the homeowner’s policy for each piece you want covered. The first thing you should do is check with your insurance agent to determine what level of jewelry appraisal you need and what is needed to protect your jewelry from theft or loss.

According to the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers the definition of an appraisal is:

“An appraisal is an opinion of value for a particular market on a particular date. It is usually in document format, describing all qualitative and quantitative attributes necessary to arrive at the value conclusion. “

A jewelry appraisal gives you the information that is needed to replace or repair your item with a current value. Most insurance companies will recommend having your appraisals updated every five years. Be sure and check with your insurance agent for their policies. Each insurance company can be different as to what they will require. Be sure and ask what kind of coverage you are getting, like if it only replaces your piece if it is lost, or if it covers loss of center or sides stone and repairs the mounting. There are choices to be made.

That being said, changes in the economy can mean valuable items may need to be updated more often. Prices of diamonds, precious metals and colored gemstones often change year to year and may fluctuate up and down depending on the market. It is important to be sure you are fully protected in the unfortunate event of a loss. A current appraisal is critical for keeping your jewelry appropriately covered.

An official replacement cost appraisal should contain:

  1. The content and weight of precious metals. (14k, 18k and platinum).
  2. A detailed description of the diamonds and gemstones. (carat weight, cut, clarity , color and measurements when possible)
  3. The description should be detailed enough that a stranger could re-create the item.
  4. A photograph is a great way to help give more details.
  5. An appraisal replacement value of said items.

One concern many people have is whether their jewelry needs to be taken apart for an appraisal. Your diamonds and gemstones do not need to be removed from the jewelry to do an appraisal. Measurements can be estimated to give an approximate yet accurate weight of the gems.

What Should You Insure?

Diamond Wedding Set jewelry appraisal photo
Diamond Wedding Set

Anything you would want to replace or couldn’t re-purchase. You have to keep in mind if you suffered a fire or robbery and all of your jewelry was damaged or gone your insurance company would most likely only cover the items you put on the insurance jewelry rider. Again be sure to check with your agent for their policies.

Even if an item is a one of a kind or can’t be replaced it is still a good idea to have it insured because it will at least protect your asset. Be aware that there are several types of appraisals. Be sure to discuss the purpose of the appraisal, because this will affect the stated value.

This article pertains to jewelry insurance appraisals only, but it is important to understand that the same philosophies apply to all types of jewelry appraisals. There are many types of appraisals, including estate, charitable contribution, equitable distribution and comparison for purchase, just to name a few. It is important the appraiser has the training, knowledge of markets and value definitions to handle these. While I have only addressed jewelry insurance appraisals, you may have antiques and collectibles, fine art, or machinery and equipment that you need appraised for insurance. The appraisal training levels pertain to these fields as well. The qualifications for a jewelry appraisal, is a skilled professional with expertise in the subject and pricing.

Have your agent be specific on what your coverage covers and how often you need to have your appraisals updated. Some insurance companies add a percentage each year to pad for inflation. That can be good but sometimes it can just add to your premium, so to be safe check with your jeweler to verify the need for increasing the values.

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