Very few items are quite as valuable as a woman’s engagement ring or a family heirloom, for both monetary and sentimental reasons. Jewelry can be a hefty liability, especially if you live in an area in which theft or natural disasters are common. If you have a homeowners insurance policy, you’re probably wondering if your personal property is covered, and if so, how much is covered. Not every type of incident is covered by your homeowners insurance policy and your policy may set a cap for the amount of coverage you’ll receive for the damage or replacement costs.

Before filing an insurance claim on damaged jewelry or other personal property, you need to decide if the cause of this loss is covered by your homeowners policy. What are the perils that your homeowners insurance policy protects you against? According to the Insurance Information Institute, the following disasters are generally covered by most insurance policies.

 

  • Fire and lightning

  • Windstorm and hail

  • Damage caused by vehicles or aircrafts

  • Smoke

  • Vandalism and theft

  • Falling objects, like trees or telephone poles

  • Frozen pipes

  • Volcanic eruptions

  • Water damage, as long as the incidence did not occur as a result of negligence

  • Explosions

 

If the cause of the damage is not listed here, there’s still a chance that your homeowners insurance will cover it. Speak with an agent to make sure you can file a claim on the losses.

When will your basic homeowners insurance policy not offer assistance? If your jewelry or personal property experiences damage as a result of flooding, you will only receive coverage if you have purchased a flood insurance add-on to your policy. Filing a claim after a flood will result in otherwise costly repairs and replacements of the structure of the home itself as well as any personal property put at risk during this disaster, including jewelry. If you’ve misplaced a piece of jewelry without an explicit cause, you may not receive coverage. For example, if you’re washing the dishes and your wedding ring slips off your finger and goes down the drain, you won’t be reimbursed with any replacement costs from your insurer. If your insurer can make an argument that the loss or damage was due to negligence or irresponsibility, you will need to handle these repair and replacement costs out-of-pocket.

Your homeowners insurance policy will have a maximum limit of coverage on personal property, as decided by you and your insurer. If you don’t have adequate coverage, the theft of your great-grandmother’s priceless brooch may only receive coverage to a certain extent. If this is a concern to you, you may want to speak with your insurer to negotiate adding value to the minimum property coverage that your insurance company will protect. People with expensive art, furniture, collections, or jewelry often have higher premiums due to their valuable personal property.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, most general homeowners insurance policies cover 50-70% of the insurance you have on the structure of your home. For example, a home with $100,000 worth of insurance may have personal property coverages between $50,000 and $70,000. If you feel that your personal property, including your jewelry, exceeds your home’s insurance costs, you may want to purchase an insurance floater to cover these added expenses. Generally, people with expensive jewelry collections purchase floaters in addition to their insurance policy to preserve the worth and safety of these valuable items.

Perhaps rather than purchasing a floater, your insurance company suggested that you invest in jewelry protection insurance. Unlike going through the process with a floater, when reporting your lost or destroyed jewelry, you will not need to file a claim through your homeowners insurance company. In addition, jewelry protection insurance covers you against all causes of damage or loss, not just the listed perils. If you have valuable jewelry but may not want to purchase a floater, jewelry protection insurance may be a desirable option.

The best way to keep track of the items in your home and their costs is to create a home inventory sheet. Keeping receipts with this information will add to your case. While you won’t have a receipt to prove the worth of a family heirloom, a receipt of the bracelet you received for your 10th wedding anniversary may be worth keeping.

If you’ve experienced a theft or natural occurrence that resulted in the loss of jewelry, make sure you contact your homeowners insurance company as soon as possible. If your jewelry was stolen or vandalized, you may want to file a police report. Just remember that if you file a claim on these items, you will need to pay a deductible, so it’s only worth filing the claim if the costs of the destroyed or lost items exceed the cost of your deductible.