How to Insure Jewelry for Cheap (or Free!)
I won't won't tell you the whole story of how I proposed to my future wife, but with the ring came another expense — jewelry insurance. We wanted to make sure that if it was lost, stolen, or damaged considerably, that we would only be responsible for a fraction of the cost. (See also: Classy Weddings on the Cheap)
I didn't do my research at the time because I was in a rush to get some sort of insurance for it, and now it looks like there are some fantastic options that I passed up. After doing a lot of research, it turns out that jewelry insurance is fairly inexpensive, and in some cases you can get it for free!
There are two ways to insure a piece of jewelry. You can either go to a company that sells specific jewelry insurance, or you can have the piece of jewelry added to a homeowners or renters insurance policy.
If you choose to go with the jewelry-specific option, your choices are limited. There aren't many companies out there that provide personal jewelry insurance, but Jewelers Mutual is the most popular.
Private Jewelry Insurance
As a general rule, you can expect to pay between $1 and $2 for every $100 worth of jewelry you want insured. So a $10,000 engagement ring would cost between $100 and $200 per year. These prices change significantly based on location (in Washington, DC, for example, it would cost $105 per year to insure a ring of that price, but in Los Angeles, the same ring would cost $200 per year to insure).
It's important to review the insurance policy before buying because not everything will be covered. Wear and tear are typically not part of the policy, and a defect in the jewelry wouldn't be covered either (that would have to be taken care of by the jeweler who created it).
Insuring Jewelry With Homeowners or Renters Insurance
The second option is having jewelry added to a homeowners or renters policy. This is probably the cheapest way to go if it's available. Why? While each state has its own rules, a renters policy has to have a minimum amount of coverage, typically $15,000 to $20,000. If the contents of your belongings don't add up to $20,000, then you have some space left over. Let's use an example. If you have $5,000 worth of valuables at home, buy a ring for $10,000, and add it to the renters insurance policy, you'll still be within your limit, and the ring would be covered should something terrible happen.
Which Option Is Better?
If you have renters or homeowners insurance and have the option to add a piece of jewelry onto the policy at no cost, that's definitely the best option! If you don't have renters or homeowners insurance and are deciding between that and private jewelry insurance, take a look at rates for both. It never hurts to compare, and when I looked online for renters insurance rates (just a few days ago because I was curious) in Washington, DC, a $15,000 policy cost just $81 per year. Online I found varying rates (as high as $131 for $20,000 worth of coverage), so comparison shopping is the way to go!
Right now, the ring I bought is insured with a private insurer, but it looks like it's time for me reconsider!
Is your jewelry insured?