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A Love Hate Relationship

Updated: May 7, 2021

I recently renewed my homeowners insurance with my rockstar agent. I could not have been less excited about anything in my life. Since he is more of a broker, he shops around to see who’s got the best deals. Fortunately I had a great experience and was able to save some money. Wouldn't it be great if insurance was always like that; as easy and peaceful as this photo?

Insurance for nearly anything pretty much sucks. We pay thousands of dollars a year for coverage on nearly everything. We complain about premiums and how much money we are spending. Yet, no matter when (not if) something happens we are sure glad we had it in the first place. It’s the epitome of a love hate relationship. We’ve heard horror stories from family and friends (and even experienced it ourselves) when we didn’t have it. I would argue the vast majority of those instances, regret was felt. “I just lost my diamond ring, but I’m sure glad I didn’t have it insured” said no one ever!

I recently renewed my homeowners and personal articles policy (aka the jewelry/other valuables part). But I learned a lesson….DON'T just roll with the renewal. My agent, shops different companies for the best deals and this year I made a switch From one big player in the game to another, I was able to save nearly $2,000 this year. I can’t imagine how many people just auto-renew or don’t look at the renewal policy and shop it around. The jewelry in particular was another area where I was able to save. The company I was switching to wanted to charge a very higher than normal rate for my personal jewelry items. I declined their jewelry policy and just took advantage of the homeowners savings.


Now that you have your policy in front of you, calculate what you are paying in relation to what you have covered. To do this, take your premium and divide it by the total value of items. Let’s say you pay $1,000 a year in jewelry insurance for $50,000 worth of jewelry. Your math would look like this:

$1,000/$50,000 = 0.02 or 2%. That is a fair market rate for jewelry coverage today which can range from 1.5% to 2%. Many jewelry policies include a zero deductible at this rate. So what should you be on the lookout for? Rates significantly higher than 2% and policies in that fair market range with deductibles (and high deductibles).


My jewelry rate is too high. What do I do?

Ask your agent if it’s time to change the policy. They may be able to find you a different policy with a better rate on jewelry. If not, go the DIY route. Jewelers Mutual only does jewelry insurance. Their website is super easy and quick to give you quotes. They even have deductible options that you can change per item. So a pair of $5,000 earrings you may want a zero dollar deductible but your $25,000 ring you may be ok with a $5,000 deductible for some savings. The flexibility here is unlike anyone else doing jewelry insurance.

Do I really want a deductible?

This can depend on the item. Be careful what you insure and its deductible. You may not want to insure your $2,000 earrings if you policy comes with a $1,000 deductible. Earrings are most often lost one piece at a time so it’s a lose lose (replace one earring for $1,000 but you have a $1,000 deductible).

My ring which was originally insured for $10,000 is now listed on my policy for $15,000. What’s that about?

We have seen this from time to time and it’s usually a bad thing. Some companies believe to have a secret algorithm they use to try and keep an items value up to date. The problem is there are simply too many variables and every item is different. In my opinion, it is mathematically impossible to be accurate in this auto-adjust situation. In some cases, we have seen clients who have not noticed these changes until years later and all of the sudden, their items are so over-insured it’s ridiculous. Why do insurance companies do this? To up revenue by increasing premiums. So check your policy. Make sure what you insured is still insured for the same amount.

So my items are still insured for the original amounts but it’s been a long time since they were appraised. What do I do?

Now is the time to get those values checked. Pricing on diamonds, gemstones, metals, inflation, etc all impact pricing. It is recommended to have these values checked every 3-5 years. In most cases you will be required to get a new appraisal when switching to a new company as well.

Tell me more about the appraisal process?

We charge a flat appraisal rate for nearly all items. Occasionally the charge can be more for incredibly intricate pieces (i.e. Grandmas three piece convertible diamond brooch with 300 diamonds and 50 sapphires). Sometimes we are able to do appraisals in store while you wait. However, anything over 3 pieces usually requires the items to be left. But do not worry, our turnaround time is super fast at around 3-5 days. Items in need of repair or that are in un-gradable conditions (aka dirty) will need to be dropped off and cleaned before being graded. It is best to set up an appointment for an appraisal and you can do so here.

I have quite a bit of jewelry but I’m not sure what to appraise or insure. What do I do?

Book your appointment and we’ll walk you through your items. We can isolate items of little or no value (i.e costume jewelry) and focus on the higher value items. From here, we can offer guidance on what may or may not be worth insuring. For family and jewelry estate purposes, we will often appraise everything. This serves as more of an inventory of the family's jewelry collection. You could then opt to only insure some of the items as you are not obligated to insure everything that is on the appraisal.

My friend has an appraisal for her ring and it’s three times what she paid for it. What’s that about?

Not all appraisers or appraisals are created equal. Fortunately, you have found us. On the vast majority of our appraisals, the value we list is a current market replacement value. This value should put you in a position to replace the item comfortably without having to pay anything out of pocket. This is the sole purpose of an insurance appraisal. Appraisals like your friend has, are done to give the illusion of value. But it’s just that, an illusion. Be wary of appraisals that are significantly higher than their purchase price.

My siblings and I have all of our Mom’s jewelry but we don’t know what to do with it. Can you help?

This is something we are often tasked with and would be happy to assist. In our experience most of these situations call for a liquidation value on the appraisal (as opposed to the replacement value). When siblings need to divide up the estate equally, this liquidation value is most helpful. Decisions likely have not been made on what is going to be done with the jewelry, so it’s much easier to just give everyone an equal piece of the pie. A liquidation value is the value based on the current market climate to sell the item; not replace as in a value for insurance purposes.

I have an old appraisal from Dubin’s Fine Jewelry. How can I get a new one?

You're in luck. We offer complimentary lifetime updates on all of our appraisals. Contact us today to see if we have the appraisal on file, we'll update your contact information and the item's value. You'll have an updated appraisal back from us in 24-48 hours.


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