Shopping for insurance sounds about as exciting as doing your taxes, but when it comes to wedding jewelry – engagement rings and wedding bands – securing sufficient coverage can prove as essential as any other wedding-related task.

In 2014, couples spent an average of $5,855 on engagement rings. Add to that the cost of wedding bands for both the bride and groom and it’s clear that the average $1,500 to $2,500 of jewelry coverage available through renter’s and homeowner's insurance is insufficient for most couples.

Assess Your Existing Coverage

While renter’s and homeowner's insurance policies cover the value of items in your home, jewelry included, coverage only goes up to a certain dollar limit, and circumstances like loss and damage are usually not included.

Engagement and wedding rings can be covered more comprehensively with the purchase of a rider or extension to your current policy – also called “scheduling property.” Scheduled personal property goes over and above the typical renter’s or homeowner's policy so that the full value of the designated, high-priced item is covered in the event of a claim.

If you don’t have a renter’s or homeowner's policy, or the coverage through your existing insurance provider is insufficient, you can purchase a separate policy specifically for your rings. Ask your jeweler if the company offers or recommends a certain policy, or shop around to find an insurance broker with jewelry coverage that suits your needs.

Read the Fine Print on Potential Policies

When it comes to choosing a provider and policy for your ring insurance, the fine print matters. Here’s what to consider:

• Coverage. A good policy should cover all contingencies, from theft to damage to an accidental drop down the garbage disposal. Make special note of anything that isn’t covered.

• Replacement. How will the insurance company replace your rings? Will you have to obtain your replacement rings at a certain jeweler? Will you receive a check as compensation? Will repairs or partial loss be covered? Evaluate the replacement policy against your fiscal and sentimental concerns.

• Assessment of Value. How will the insurance provider assess the value of your ring for reimbursement? Will it use the current appraisal value or will it only consider the price at purchase?

• Documentation Requirements. Note all of the required paperwork for your policy so that should you need to file a claim, everything is readily available. This typically includes receipts, photos and up-to-date appraisals.

Speaking of appraisals…

Know the Value of Your Rings

A professional jewelry appraisal can help you make sure your rings are insured at their proper value. Choose a gemologist-appraiser to verify facts about the ring while also assessing its value. The American Gem Society has a directory of qualified professionals that can be searched by zip code. Appraisal rates range from $50 to $150 an hour. Be sure to ask around for estimates before committing.

Cost Considerations

It’s important to compare not just the cost of one insurance provider to another, but also the relative cost to the relative coverage, as both vary greatly from provider to provider and even from policy to policy.

The general rule of thumb for insuring wedding and engagement rings is $1 to $2 for every $100 of value, paid annually. A $5,000 ring, for example, would cost around $50 to $100 per year to insure. If you live in a city where the risk of theft is higher, you can expect to pay a bit more for your coverage. However, you can reduce costs by installing a home security system or by using a safe to keep jewelry protected when it’s not being worn.

In addition, some policies have deductibles, others don’t. Those without deductibles have higher premiums. In the case of a deductible policy, look to see what types of repairs can affect your coverage costs.

After you’ve combed through the policy fine print, assessed the value of your rings and compared relative costs, you should have enough information to choose an insurance policy that meets your needs. Don’t wait too long to secure coverage, though. You’ll want to make sure you’re protected in the event that anything happens in the days after your purchase or receipt of the ring.

Once You’re Insured…

• Keep all insurance-related documents in a safe place. By this point, you should be familiar enough with the details of your policy to know exactly what documentation you need to keep on file – a written appraisal, ring receipts, photos, gem certificates, etc. Also make sure that any policy details you’ve discussed with your insurance agent are included in the paperwork. All promises need written documentation.

• Consider having an appraisal done every two to three years – even if your insurance policy doesn't require regular appraisals – to ensure that your insurance coverage is still adequate. This is particularly important for vintage, antique and/or collectible rings. Values of precious metals and fine jewels change frequently. Bring a copy of your original or most recent appraisal each time so that your appraiser can work from that rather than starting from scratch each time. This can help reduce your costs.

• Make sure your ring fits. It might sound obvious, but getting your ring properly sized can reduce your chances of ever having to file a claim with your insurance company.

The Bottom Line

If, how and where you decide to insure your wedding rings will depend largely on your specific needs and assessments of value. By doing your due diligence in combing through the fine print of potential policies and comparing true costs and coverage, you can ensure you’ve made a proper assessment in protecting jewelry that has both monetary and emotional value.

See How To Insure Non-Traditional Assets and Making Sure Your Jewelry Is Insured.

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