Most people assume that their jewellery is covered in their travel insurance, but this is rarely the case. High excess costs, low valuables pay-outs and strict rules around valuation mean that prized possessions could be lost forever should they be misplaced, damaged or stolen while on holiday.
Reading the fine print is essential when choosing an insurance policy, or you may get stung when it comes to making a claim.
In our experience, a travel insurance policy is generally not the best option for jewellery, with specific jewellery insurance providing more comprehensive cover for valuables.
To help you chose the right policies for your jewellery, Nick Whittington – managing director of vintage jewellery specialists William May – lets us in on the insider questions you should be asking yourself before making the decision.
How much is your jewellery worth?
Generally, travel insurance comes with a maximum pay out limit. There’s also often a specific ‘valuables’ pay out, and this could be a lot lower than you’d expect. For example, if you lose a £1,000 ring and your policy has a maximum pay out of £600, unfortunately you’ll be losing out on £400 when it comes to making a claim.
Be extra careful when looking at some of the lower-end policies, as some of these come with no personal belongings protection whatsoever.
How much is the excess charge?
Another thing to be wary of is the excess charge your policy expects you to pay should you make a claim.
Going back to the £1,000 ring, even if the policy’s maximum pay out was £1,000 for valuables, a £200 excess charge would see you only receiving £800 in the case of anything happening.
Many jewellery-specific insurance policies don’t charge an excess, so these are often the better option if this is something you want to avoid.
What kind of holiday are you going on?
Some unexpected things can cause damage to your jewellery, and most travel insurance policies don’t cover them.
For example, the salt and chemicals in pools and the sea can be particularly hazardous to precious metals, and while some insurance brokers may offer cover for wedding rings damaged in this way, few cover anything else.
If you’re thinking of spending most of your time by the beach, you may be better off saving your prized pieces for evenings out.
Does your hotel provide safe storage?
Most hotels have a combination safe in each room for you to store your valuables, but if yours doesn’t, it could mean your travel insurance is null and void if anything gets stolen.
It’s common for travel insurance policies to include a caveat that excludes theft coverage unless the jewellery is on you at the time it’s taken, or if it was in a safety deposit box.
Make sure your room comes with safe storage, and use it whenever you take your jewellery off.
Do you have proof of value?
As you’d expect, insurers generally need you to present proof of ownership and proof of value. If you don’t have these things, you could find yourself in a tough spot when it comes to making a claim.
It’s a good idea to take photos of your pieces and write up a list of them before you go away. Leaving a copy at home and taking a copy with you means you can be doubly sure you have proof of ownership.
Choosing the right jewellery insurance policy for you
Whether you’re on holiday or at home, ensuring your jewellery is protected is incredibly important.
When choosing a jewellery insurance policy, make sure your maximum payout covers the total cost of your items, and that there isn’t an excess charge to eat into your claim. Then check the fine print for any other surprises that might make things difficult should anything go wrong.
Overall, specific jewellery policies are the most comprehensive, and are definitely preferable to most travel insurance. While we unfortunately can’t offer insurance ourselves, we can wholeheartedly recommend the services of TH March, who are regarded in the industry as the ultimate providers of jewellery cover.
main image: Jewellery, image by The Invincible Mum, Flickr creative commons