The concept behind the popular television series Antiques Roadshow is a compelling one. Many of us have knick-knacks in our parents’ basement or things we’ve picked up in garage sales that look like they might be worth something. And every so often, we hear a story about an ordinary-looking vase turning out to be a priceless artifact, or a painting someone picked up from a thrift store for $5 was painted by David Bowie and is now worth a fortune.
While most of us are not lucky enough to discover hidden treasures, it’s not as uncommon for us to own jewelry or art worth more than our home’s contents insurance will typically cover. But what happens when a recent appraisal results in a steeper valuation than you can afford to cover? What are your options for insuring these items?
Know your home insurance policy limits
Start with your insurance company and determine how much coverage your home insurance provides for jewelry, art, and other higher-value items, such as antique furniture, and under what circumstances — as this can vary greatly between providers. For example, you may be covered for theft inside the home, but not if you lose your engagement ring on the street. Some policies may cover up to $6,000 or more for jewelry, while others might cover only $1,500.
Consider insurance riders for high-value items
Find out what things are worth by having an expert do a valuation to help determine the coverage you should have. Don’t forget to have these items re-appraised occasionally to ensure you still have adequate coverage.
Because home insurance might have a coverage cap or limit, taking out a separate insurance rider can help replace lost, stolen, or damaged items. An insurance rider, also referred to as an endorsement or personal articles floater, is add-on coverage to your policy. It can help ensure you receive the full value of an item, not just costs for a replacement.
Explore specialized jewelry and art insurance providers
Some experts recommend going with an insurance provider who focuses on protecting art or jewelry and buying a separate policy for these items.
These companies have specialized knowledge of specific care and perils and the appropriate insurable value.
What if you can’t afford to insure all your jewelry and art?
Insuring all your higher-value items is highly recommended, but it can add up in the form of your premium. If you feel you cannot afford to cover all of them, consider taking out coverage for the most valuable items or, in the case of jewelry, for the pieces you wear the most, such as an engagement ring. You can keep other pieces in a safe or safety deposit box. You may even get a discount on insurance if you keep your jewelry in a safe, or have a home security system to help protect your art.
Other tips for keeping items safe (besides insurance) are:
- Regularly check your jewelry for loose stones and broken clasps.
- Keep art away from windows, heat, sunlight, and out of view from the street.
- Make sure jewelry fits properly, as loose rings and bracelets can slip off.
- Don’t wear expensive jewelry when travelling, especially in high-crime areas.
- Refrain from posting about high-value possessions on social media.
- Take off jewelry before swimming, gardening or doing home repairs.
- Take pictures of art and jewelry to have an inventory, and keep receipts if possible.
Whether you decide to increase your home contents insurance, add an insurance rider, or shop for a specialized insurance provider, compare quotes to ensure you get the best rate.
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