Renters insurance provides financial reimbursement for your belongings when they are stolen or destroyed in a peril covered by your renters insurance policy. Virtually everything you own is covered, including stuff you keep outside, like your bicycle, and stuff that’s very far away, like your kid’s laptop when he or she is at college. When something is not covered, your policy will explicitly say so.
Renters insurance covers jewelry, but only up to a limited amount, usually $1,000 or $1,500, and only in specific circumstances. If you need more coverage for your jewelry than that, you’ll need to purchase a rider or endorsement for your policy.
Read on to learn more about how renters insurance covers jewelry:
Your renters insurance policy covers at least part of the value of your belongings wherever they are in the world, unless a given item is specifically excluded in the policy. Jewelry is not typically excluded from a renters insurance policy, and you should be able to reclaim some of the value of your jewelry if it’s lost or destroyed.
Under renters insurance coverage, you can usually claim losses or damage for many different kinds of covered perils (also known as “named perils” or “perils insured against”), including, but not limited to fire, wind, falling objects, weight of snow, or vandalism. Unless explicitly stated in your policy, your items will be reimbursed regardless of the type of peril that caused the loss as long as the peril is named by the insurance.
However, basic renters insurance policies usually only reimburse losses for jewelry if the jewelry was stolen. That means if your jewelry was lost in any other covered peril, you won’t receive a payment from the renters insurance company.
You may purchase a rider – coverage added to your policy that modifies the coverage of the policy itself – that extends the list of covered perils to any covered peril, although this will increase your premiums.
Your renters insurance has an aggregate amount of coverage per losses incurred during the policy year, the maximum of which is called the limit of liability, meaning the insurer’s liability to you. If you purchase $50,000 in renters insurance coverage, you’re covered up to $50,000 in losses, but not a penny more.
Many high-value items, like guns, coin collections, and important data, have separate limits of liability, which are called sublimits. Sublimits do not increase the policy’s total limit of liability. Coverage for jewelry typically has a sublimit of $1,000 or $1,500, depending on your insurer. If you file a claim for $3,000 worth of jewelry and the policy’s limit of liability for jewelry is $1,500, you’ll only be eligible to receive $1,500, and that amount will be further reduced by the deductible you owe.
As with covered perils, it’s possible to purchase a rider that increases your limit of liability for jewelry. The higher your limit of liability – meaning the more the insurer is required to pay after a loss – the higher your premiums will be. A representative from Policygenius can make it easy to navigate the various renters insurance companies and the riders they offer for your high-value items.
Since jewelry coverage in a renters insurance policy may not be high enough, jewelry owners may need to purchase a rider (also known as an “endorsement” or a “floater”) to enhance the coverage for jewelry in the policy. Adding a rider for your property, including jewelry, is called adding a schedule, or scheduling.
Some insurers may require you to schedule different high-value items under separate riders, so if you have a schedule for your watch or your fur coat – both frequently covered like jewelry in a renters insurance policy – you may still need to purchase additional riders for your jewelry. Some insurers even require you to insure distinct pieces of jewelry under different schedules, such as an engagement ring under one rider and a necklace or earrings under another.
There are a number of reasons to purchase a jewelry schedule for your renters insurance policy, such as:
As it stands, your jewelry may only be protected from theft. With additional coverage, your jewelry will also be protected from certain kinds of weather and elemental damage, other kinds of malicious activity, and contact with a vehicle or aircraft, among other perils.
Since coverage for jewelry is often capped at no more than $1,500, any value in excess of that won’t be covered without a jewelry schedule.
In some cases, if you only care about the peril of theft but still want higher limits of liability, you may be able to purchase just a rider for the latter concern. Since the covered perils would be unaffected, such a rider could cost less to add than one that combines increased limits of liability with extended coverage to other perils.
When adding increased limits of liability, knowing each item’s true value will you determine how much coverage you need. You should keep your receipts for your jewelry, and it may be worthwhile to get your jewelry reappraised.
Renters insurance policies have two main ways of calculating how much a given item is worth before reimbursing you. If your renters insurance subtracts depreciation from the item’s value, you have an agreed-value policy. You should be able to add a rider to change the policy to replacement-cost reimbursement instead.
Replacement-cost renters insurance pays out the value of an item if bought new, but it may not automatically apply to jewelry unless you also purchased a jewelry endorsement. Check with your insurer to confirm that your jewelry is covered at an amount that suits your needs.
There are a few conditions under which a loss for jewelry won’t be covered, even if the jewelry is otherwise covered by the renters insurance policy. Some of those conditions are:
The loss was caused by a peril other than theft, unless your policy states that other perils are eligible for reimbursement, or if you add a schedule to include other perils.
The jewelry was stolen from a room rented to a subletter or guest. Your renters insurance’s theft provision doesn’t apply to any items that are stolen from that section of the home.
You, someone who lives with you, or one of your household employees stole the jewelry.
Diamonds or other precious stones fell out of the jewelry’s setting and were stolen.
Additionally, even after purchasing a rider or adding a schedule, some exclusions to jewelry coverage still apply. Any loss caused by one of the following may not be eligible for reimbursement:
Wear and tear, or gradual deterioration
Insects and vermin
Mechanical breakdown or inherent vice (an aspect of the jewelry caused its damage)
Seizure or destruction because of a government quarantine or customs laws
Your renters insurance policy covers your spouse as well as any family living with you, including if your kids are away at college but otherwise a member of your household. Any property they own is covered by your policy in the same way property you own is covered, including any jewelry you bought for them.
However, if you live with a domestic partner who is not your spouse, jewelry or any other property he or she owns may not be covered unless you specifically add him or her to your policy as an additional insured.
Many insurers offer jewelry insurance. Some smaller insurance companies offer only jewelry insurance, and nearly all major insurance carriers may offer you a type of property insurance specifically for your jewelry.
However, the coverage offered from standalone jewelry insurance may be nearly identical to that offered by jewelry endorsements attached to your other policies. For that reason, it may not make a lot of sense to buy a separate jewelry insurance policy, but your methods may vary. Compare costs for separate jewelry insurance policies with the cost of simply adding a rider your existing renters or homeowners insurance policy, and be sure to talk to your insurer about your options before signing up.
Policygenius can help you get a quote for jewelry insurance.
Personal articles insurance is coverage for your high-value property, which includes jewelry and for which is coverage is limited in basic renters and homeowners insurance policies. If you’re only worried about jewelry coverage, or if you already get enough coverage for your stuff from your renters or homeowners insurance policy, personal articles insurance may not be for you.
Zack Sigel is a SEO managing editor at Policygenius. He covers personal finance, comprising mortgages, investing, deposit accounts, and more. His previous work included writing about film and music.