Most simply, a jewelry appraisal is an evaluation of what your jewelry is worth. You hire an appraiser who inspects your item, looking for key characteristics that may affect the price, such as metal type, gemstones, and other significant aspects of the item’s design. Once finished, the appraiser gives you an appraisal certificate. This certificate confirms the value of the item and acts as proof that you are its owner.
Jewelry appraisals for insurance need to list your jewelry’s measurable and verifiable characteristics, such as its:
Jewelry appraisals should also list your name and contact information as well as the date of the appraisal. All of this needs to be printed on the appraiser’s letterhead. Getting an appraisal allows you to get the protection you desire for an added premium.
Homeowners insurance generally only insure jewelry, watches included, up to a set amount﹘usually between $1,000 and $2,000. That’s fine if you have one nice piece, but it might not cover a collection of valuable watches or one heirloom necklace. To make sure your high-end jewelry is covered, you most likely need scheduled personal property coverage.
But jewelry values can fluctuate, so your diamond ring may be worth more than what you originally paid. Moreover, your insurance company can’t just take your word on what your items are worth. Otherwise, the company risks being scammed by a nefarious person who insures their cheap jewelry for more than it’s worth, only to “lose” the item and collect the insurance. A professional jewelry appraisal makes sure both parties know what’s being insured is worth the insurance being purchased.
Many insurance companies accept a jewelry appraisal performed within a certain period. So if you change insurers, an appraisal from last year might be good enough. Be sure to mention your valuables and your most recent appraisal when getting a quote.
To get an appraisal, you need to go to a professional appraiser. Unfortunately, there are no licenses for appraisers, so you do need to do some research. You can start at jewelry stores or auction houses. Next, make sure that the appraiser is certified with one of the following organizations:
You’ll need to have the item you want appraised with you, and you will most likely have to hand it over to the appraiser for a few days, if not a couple of weeks.
Receipts sometimes work as a jewelry appraisal for insurance companies, but not always. Your insurance company wants to know the value of the piece because it needs to know what it costs to replace your jewelry if it’s lost or damaged. A recent receipt﹘say within the past 12 to 24 months﹘is often fine, especially if it includes details that demonstrate the item’s value.
However, keep in mind that fluctuating values may mean what you paid might not match the cost to replace your item. Even a recent receipt may not sufficiently cover the cost of replacement if you got a good deal.
The cost varies, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $150 per hour for a jewelry appraisal, but some appraisers charge a flat fee and can tell you their price upfront. More unique items, such as heirloom or custom-made pieces, may require a quote from your appraiser.