Valentine’s Day: Stolen hearts are one thing, but stolen jewelry is no fun

Valentine’s Day is a tradition going back to 496 A.D, with its actual origins tracing back to St. Valentine’s execution 269 AD for marrying couples against the mandate of the Roman Emperor. Since then, Valentine’s Day has become a gold mine for retailers. According to the US Census Bureau, jewelry stores sold $2.27 billion in merchandise in February 2011. While that number might seem staggering, the National Retail Federation is expecting jewelry sales to hit $4.1 billion this year. Their survey results show that over eight in ten men are expected to buy jewelry for their significant other this year, the highest amount their survey has ever reported, leading to the purchase of lots of expensive jewelry that could easily become lost or stolen.
Contributing to “the big spend” is the fact that Valentine’s Day is the third most popular time for couples to get engaged, lagging behind only Christmas and New Years. According to a survey conducted by Bride’s Magazine last year, the average cost of a wedding ring is $4,647. In today’s tough economic times that would not be easy to replace, nor would any of the other lavish gifts couples buy this time of year.
Jewelry is popular with thieves
If you do splurge for the holiday, or have a lot of expensive jewelry lying around already, it might not be a bad idea to investigate your insurance options. Most burglars are looking for accessible items of value that can be easily transported, making jewelry a prime target since items are often left out or kept in easy-to-grab jewelry boxes. The Insurance Information Institute offers the warning that jewelry and other expensive gifts may only have minimal coverage under standard homeowners insurance policies and offers tips for how to properly insure your valuables.

Lingo watch: endorsement

An endorsement or a “rider” is an optional, written addendum to a basic insurance policy that modifies the terms of the insurance contract. Generally, an endorsement would be added to protect the insured by expanding or limiting the coverage in some defined manner. An endorsement or rider can occur at the start of a policy or can be added midterm.
Example: for a standard homeowners policy, common endorsements might include coverage for a home business, coverage for damage incurred during natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods or windstorms, coverage for property’s replacement value rather than cash value or an endorsement might expand coverage limits for valuables.
A specific endorsement may not be available from every insurer or in every state. A good insurance agent will likely inform you of any common policy options, but when discussing a specific type of insurance with your agent, ask if there are any options that would expand your coverage.

Make sure your expensive gifts are protected – insure those valuables!

Was Santa good to you over the holidays? If you received any valuable gifts, you may want to review your insurance coverage to make sure that these items are adequately protected in the event of a loss. Standard homeowners, renters and condominium insurance policies will generally cover personal items, but policies often have limits of $1,000 to $2,000 on the dollar amount for certain valuables. You may also want to check your deductibles. It’s a good idea to review your policy to be sure of the extent of your coverage and to check with your insurance agent if you have any questions or doubts. You may want to add an endorsement (also called a rider) to give you additional coverage for valuable possessions.
Here’s a list of some potentially high-value items that you may want to consider for additional coverage:

  • Expensive jewelry and precious stones
  • Original art and custom or handcrafted items
  • Musical instruments
  • Antiques and heirlooms
  • Crystal, china, silverware
  • Furs
  • Collectibles and special collections
  • Computer equipment

It’s a good practice to keep a home inventory and to update it periodically. The Insurance Information Institute offers guidance on taking a home inventory, along with free downloadable home inventory software. The inventory is stored on your computer but it’s a good idea to keep a back-up copy in a safe location on a CD or a portable flash memory stick.
Additional reading
Insurance Information Institute: Jewelry and Other Expensive Gifts May Require Special insurance Coverage
South Carolina’s Insurance News Service: Insuring Gifts This Holiday Season.
FiLife: Valuables Insurance Guide: The Basics