Did you get engaged for Valentine's Day? It's one of the most popular times of year for couples to commit. By now, you're probably getting tons of advice—and hopefully some nice messages from the friends who've seen the photo you added to Facebook last night. So, congratulations—and now here's our helpful advice about protecting your new ring.
Check your homeowners or renters policy first
If you have home insurance, a condominium owners policy or renters insurance, your policy will most likely include coverage for a limited amount of jewelry, usually $500 or $1,000. The limit of coverage applies to all jewelry you own, so be sure to consider the value of all your jewelry before deciding that it's enough coverage.
You have two options for buying more coverage than your home insurance offers. You can add more coverage to your home or renter's policy by adding an endorsement to cover the appraised value of your ring or all of your jewelry. This type of policy endorsement is sometimes called a floater or jewelry floater or a personal articles policy. The cost is based on a certain price per thousand dollars of insured value, usually around $2 to $5 per $100. So, the cost to insure a $3,000 ring might range from $60 to $100 a year. If you have a loss, your insurance company has the option of paying you the appraised amount or replacing the ring.
If you don't have home insurance or want to compare rates before you insure your ring, try a jewelry insurance specialist. Many companies will offer an online quote, so you can compare costs and coverage. An appraisal from a certified jeweler will be helpful to establish the value of your ring whether you buy online or from an agent.
Finally, while you're at it, take a few minutes to review your insurance coverage for all of your valuable items, including computers and electronics. If you need help finding out if your valuables are properly insured, contact your insurance agent or insurance company for more information.
Handle with care
You can't insure your ring for daily "wear and tear." So be extra careful while cleaning or doing household chores. Harsh chemicals can damage precious stones and metals, especially platinum, and a rough blow can easily dislodge a stone from its setting. A jeweler can polish your wedding bands, but it's not a free service, so try to avoid scratches and nicks when you can. And, it's a good idea to have a jeweler check your ring every year for loose prongs or stones. It costs little to replace a prong—and you'll avoid an insurance claim in the long run.
Some jewelers offer a service plan to cover wear and tear. These plans are usually either included in the price of the ring or available after purchase for a percentage of the original price. Service plans almost never cover theft, loss, or damage beyond normal wear and tear, so they are not a substitute for insurance.
Hold on tight
OK. These tips might sound like they came from your grandmother, but seriously—who wants to take a chance?
Insurance can never replace the sentimental value of a wedding ring, but it can give you some peace of mind and protect your investment.
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Originally posted September 20, 2004.
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