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With the coming of spring -- and wedding season -- many couples will be exchanging rings, necklaces and other keepsakes. However, precious jewelry is often lost or stolen.

Protecting a treasured piece of jewelry is likely a top priority for you and your partner and this article provides information to help you get the coverage you need.

If you have home insurance, a condominium owners policy or renters insurance, your policy is likely to include at least some coverage for jewelry that is stolen. In order to keep insurance rates affordable -- and because jewelry can be easily targeted for theft -- most insurance companies provide modest coverage for jewelry inside a standard homeowners or renters policy, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

But if your ring or other precious item is lost, a claim against a standard home or renters policy is unlikely to provide coverage. And, if your item is stolen, you may not receive much more than $1,500, even if the jewelry’s value is much higher.

Basic personal property coverage provides one relatively low amount of protection that applies to all jewelry you own. Consider the combined value of all your jewelry before deciding whether a standard policy provides enough coverage.

“Beyond the sentimental value of jewelry, they are often some of the most valuable items in a customer’s home and it is important to ensure that they are protected,” says Sarah Jacobs, Nationwide’s vice president of personal lines product development. “An agent can help you understand how jewelry is covered under your homeowners or renters policy, as larger items like engagement rings may exceed the basic limits.”

Nationwide and other insurers offer optional coverage that can provide additional protection for the loss of jewelry. If you need more coverage, you have two main options for getting it:

Add jewelry coverage through an endorsement

An endorsement or special schedule can give you significantly more coverage. Depending upon your preference, you can choose to insure the total value of all your jewelry or establish an amount that is significantly higher than what is included in a standard homeowners or renters policy. Typically, the insurer requires you to have the item(s) appraised before extending this type of coverage.

As with any type of insurance, the cost of a floater endorsement can vary among insurers. Many plans charge between 1% to 2% of the scheduled jewelry’s value. For example, it might cost $50 annually for an endorsement on a $5,000 ring. However, the deductible assigned to particularly expensive pieces of jewelry might be higher than that for other personal property.

Raise the limit of your liability coverage

Another way to make sure your jewelry gets additional protection is to simply raise the amount of overall liability coverage on your homeowners or renters policy.

However, the Insurance Information Institute notes that there may be a limit to how large a loss you can claim on any one piece of unscheduled jewelry. For example, you may be able to claim no more than $2,000 per piece of jewelry, with an overall limit of $5,000.

Finally, take a few minutes to review your insurance coverage for all your valuable items, including computers and electronics. Compare costs for various policies quickly using a home insurance calculator.

Handle jewelry 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 potentially dislodge a stone from its setting.

A jeweler can polish your wedding bands, but it's best to avoid scratches and nicks when you can. It's a good idea to have a jeweler inspect your ring every year for loose prongs or stones. It costs little to replace a prong — and you might 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.

Best practices for safekeeping jewelry

A little common sense and a healthy dose of extra caution can go a long way toward protecting your jewelry so you never have to make an insurance claim. Here are some tips for keeping your jewelry safe:

  1. When you take off your ring, always put it in the same place. A ring-holder can be helpful.
  2. Don't place your ring on the counter next to the sink when you wash your hands — unless the drain opening is covered.
  3. Sunscreen is slippery, so consider leaving your ring at home when going to a beach or pool.
  4. Resize a ring that doesn't fit. Whether you are newly engaged or have experienced weight gain or loss, it’s important to have a properly fitted ring for comfort and to reduce the risk of losing it.

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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