Appraisals and Insuring Jewelry
Expensive jewelry is rarely covered under the standard general personal property insurance as they may cover part of the cost if any. To ensure that it’s being insured at its correct value, an appraisal needs to be done by a certified gemologist from a widely recognized and reputable gemological laboratory. A couple of the most reputable and well renown gemological laboratories include GIA, AGTA, EGL, and AGL.
The most important information for a thorough jewelry appraisal includes:
- Purchaser/Owner’s full legal name
- Type of jewelry being appraised
- Description of jewelry attributes; dimensions, materials, settings, design details
- Description of each gemstone shape/cut, measurements, carat weight, color, clarity, polish/symmetry, and number of stones (More on the 4 C’s)
- Weight and type of metals used in the jewelry
- Laboratory grading report Information if available
- Origin of gemstone or jewelry if available
- Name of designer or type of craftsmanship
- List of any markings or manufacturer’s information
- Appraised value at current market prices
- By certified gemologist: sealed, stamped, signed, and dated
The most important information for a thorough precious gemstone appraisal Includes:
- A gemological grading report from a reputable Institute
- Name and location of gemological laboratory
- Grading report number
- Gemstone origin (if available)
- Gemstone shape
- Gemstone measurements
- Gemstone carat weight
- Gemstone color
- Gemstone clarity
- Gemstone cut (if available)
- Gemstone polish (if available)
- Gemstone symmetry (if available)
- Gemstone fluorescence (if available)
- Gemstone characteristics (if available)
- Gemstone treatments/enhancements (if any)
- Appraised value at current market prices (based on most recent similar gemstone selling price)
How Insurance Companies View Jewelery Appraisals
The underwriters or adjusters at Insurance Companies are skeptics when it comes to estimating the value of your jewelry; even a sales receipt that clearly states its price and what you’ve paid is not enough for them. They require a written appraisal from a reputable source with certified gemologists and tend to base the insurance premium based on the appraised value.
Remember that fluctuations in market prices could alter the value of your jewelry; hence, your policies should keep pace and change at least every 2-4 years. Going a step further, apart from keeping the policy, documentation, jewelry and appraisal together in a safe place, taking pictures of the pieces and including them in the written appraisal is an added safety measure.
Even after having done all that, when you lose your jewelry and file an insurance claim, it’s not always easy to have your jewelry replaced, or the cost reimbursed. This is where regularly updated appraisals can help as the appraiser can testify regarding their valuation. Having jewelry evaluated over a period strengthens ownership credentials, and the claim is somewhat easier to prove.
Check the Appraisers Credentials
One thing that you must remember is to choose a certified appraiser with real experience and valid credentials. Some people profess to be appraisers, but without the right credentials and knowledge, they are just glorified gemologists who can identify gems and precious stones but don’t have the skills to appraise jewelry. Moreover, they are often ignorant about the jewelry market and lack the expertise to evaluate jewelry. Also, many appraisers are not familiar with either how insurance works or what documentation they require. This means that some appraisals are incomplete and can cost you money during a claim. Therefore, it’s wise to research your insurance companies requirements to ensure that the professional appraiser you choose is trained and properly certified for the task.
So the next time you do buy jewelry, get it appraised at the same time; this will help to ensure two things: current market prices are reflected and that any distinct characteristic that it may have will reflect in the appraisal report.
Don’t forget to do your homework before choosing your jewelry appraiser.
Interested in an appraisal from Towne Jewelers?Schedule an Appraisal