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Diamond Appraisal & Insurance

The key word in independent diamond appraisal is independent. When people think about getting a jewelry appraisal for insurance purposes, or to find out if their diamonds are real, they don't give enough thought to who is going to do it. Most will find the easiest and most convenient source, but that may not always be the best decision.

Many jewelry stores have appraisers but remember that many jewelry stores are in the business of selling and buying stones (and jewelry) so you can never be too sure of what factors went into your appraisal or their motives for giving the appraisal that they did.

That's not to say that there aren't lots of good and honest independent appraisers out there who work in stores, there are, but it is something to consider.

Diamond and jewelry appraisal is important for two reasons.

The first and most obvious, especially when it comes to diamonds, is so that you know exactly what you have—particularly if your stone didn't come with any GIA type of certification. Is it a real or fake diamond? What's the size and grade?

Engaging Tip:  Always buy a diamond that comes with a certificate, especially if it's larger than .30 carats. It isn't necessary for smaller diamonds that are part of the setting because the value is always in the center stone.

The most reliable and fastest way to validate any doubts regarding the authenticity of your diamond engagement ring is with an independent diamond appraisal (or jewelry appraisal).

The second reason is for insurance purposes because all good jewelry is a financial, as well as, emotional investment and it needs to be protected. That's why we always recommend engagement ring insurance and insuring any other precious jewelry you may own.

We'll say it again, if you paid a pretty penny for your engagement ring or other jewelry make sure that, at the very least, it's covered by your existing insurance policy. Ideally, you want a separate jewelry insurance repair and replacement policy that will cover you in the event of loss, theft, and damage. And a proper jewelry appraisal specifically done for insurance purposes is the only way to start.

Getting A Jewelry Or Diamond Appraisal

The best way to ensure you find an independent jewelry appraiser that you can trust is through a larger association that upholds its members to strict standards and ethics.

In the U.S., check out the American Gem Society (AGS). Their website is terrific and lets you search for an accredited jewelry appraiser by state or by zip code:

AGS logo

For Canadians, the Canadian Jewellers Association (CJA) has a similar search. You simply enter your location and they bring back the results for your city or town. By the way, AGS also offers a Canadian search.

Canadian Jewellers Association

For those of you who live in other parts of the world, the main diamond certifications come from IGI (International Gemological Institute), the EGL (European Gemological Laboratory) HRD Antwerp so there is a good chance your diamond appraisal may come with a certificate from one of these organizations.

You can also do a quick search online to find a comparable organization in your country if none of these service your part of the world. Pricescope.com is also a good resource for finding appraisers worldwide.

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Whether you go through one of the more official organizations (which is what we recommend) or find your own appraiser, here are a few things to consider:

  • Call ahead and check to see if you need to schedule an appointment or if you can just drop by.
     
  • Ask about their fee. On average it should fall between $45.00-$80.00
     
  • Check to see if they're able to appraise the diamond in front of you, especially if you haven't gone through one of the recommended associations. If the appraiser says they won't, find another appraiser.

It isn't necessary that they evaluate your engagement ring in front of you, if you trust your appraiser. If you prefer, you can just drop it off and pick it up once the diamond appraisal is complete. That's what we did and we had no problems but thought we should mention it.

Finally, diamond appraisal and jewelry appraisal in general can have different values assigned to it depending on the purpose of the report.

The value assigned for insurance purposes will factor in all aspects including raw materials, workmanship, detailing and rarity while a standard appraisal focuses on the value of raw materials and what the piece is worth. So, make sure that you talk to the appraiser and tell them purpose of the appraisal before they start.

 

Engagement Ring Insurance

Engagement ring insurance is very important and should be factored in to the cost of buying the ring. You need to protect your financial investment and more importantly, the emotional one that comes along with an engagement ring.

Generally speaking you have a few options.

You can add the ring to your existing renter/homeowner insurance policy or get a Personal Articles Floater Policy which means that your engagement ring or any other pieces of jewelry are insured separately.

Most homeowner insurance policies will have limitations on coverage when it comes to engagement ring insurance and only cover you for specific named perils or events so you need to ask your insurance company what is covered and under what conditions.

Engagement Ring Insurance: Floater or Homeowner

The safest and most protected route in our opinion is the separate Personal Articles Floater regardless of whether it is done through a jewelry endorsement for a specific amount with additional and expanded coverage or, if it is a completely separate policy.

The jewelry endorsement is basically an add-on to your policy with specific coverage for you engagement ring rather than being an entirely separate policy.

Beware that an agent might recommend blanket coverage for your ring because it is an easier process for both you and them but rarely will you get the same type of coverage. Blanket coverage will mean that your ring is unscheduled (which means not specifically listed) on the policy as opposed to scheduled (where it would be listed).

An additional benefit of having engagement ring insurance or any jewelry insurance under a separate policy is that it can have no deductible, unlike your homeowner policy which may have deductibles of $1000 or more.

You may pay a little bit more (or you may not, depending on where you live and your insurance company) to have a separate policy but if your ring cost $1500 and your homeowner policy's deductible is $1000 it doesn't make sense to go that route.

Insurance Coverage, Claims & Questions

Whichever way you decide to go, make sure that you are covered for all perils, damage, theft, loss, mysterious disappearance, chips, lost stone, etc. You need to ask your insurance agent specifically about all the coverage they offer because it can vary significantly from one insurance company to the next and from one policy to another.

Make your insurance agent explain to you the difference between replacement cost and agreed value insurance. The latter replaces your engagement ring with cash or an equivalent on a pre-determined agreed value while the other covers you for the cost of replacement on the day of the claim.

It's also really important to find out the procedure if you make a claim. Find out BEFORE you have to because you don't want any nasty surprises when you're emotionally distraught over your ring.

In terms of a claim, you'll want to know if they give you a check for the damages and/or loss or will they simply replace the stone or ring? (We recommend the check so that you know exactly what you are getting since you're in control of the repair or purchase.) Is it replacement cost or the value at the time of purchase?

What is the repair policy? Do you need to go to a specific jeweler or can you take the ring anywhere that you want to? It's important to be aware of the claims procedure before signing any contracts so that you can rest easy knowing that if something happens you are covered the way you want and expect to be.

Steps for Insuring Engagement Rings

As mentioned above, the fist step is to research your insurance options and get an independent jewelry appraisal specifically for insurance purposes. (An insurance appraisal is different than a regular appraisal). With your insurance appraisal in hand you then need to ask a bunch of questions no matter who you decide to go with or what type of policy you choose.

  • What kinds of policies are available to me?
  • How much does the policy cover towards the ring's value? (All of it or only a portion?)
  • What exactly and specifically am I covered for?
  • What, if anything, am I not covered for?
  • What's in the policy's fine print (which I will read) but should be aware of?
  • Are there any circumstances that could affect my coverage?
  • What if the ring appreciates in value, will I only receive what we paid for it?

These are the types of questions you need to ask your agent and it is there job to explain all of your options and answer all of your questions. It's mutually beneficial for both of you to be open and honest about everything.

If your agent isn't able to provide you with the type of coverage you need, try Jewelers Mutual, they are probably the best known and most respected jewelry specific insurance company in the U.S.

Insurance Cost

Generally speaking, engagement ring insurance policies will cost somewhere between 1 and 2 percent of the value of the ring per year. So, if you paid $5000 for your ring (which is the average cost in the U.S.) you can expect to pay between $50 and $100 per year for insurance on average. The cost of insurance can vary significantly depending on the country, state or even city that you live in.

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Engagement rings have sentimental value as well as being major investments. Whether you choose an engagement ring insurance policy that is part of your homeowner's insurance, renter's insurance, or one from an outside jewelry insurance company, it's important to protect its value and you can only do that with a proper diamond appraisal.

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