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Question: Do you know how your insurance company would behave in the event that you had to make a claim for your jewellery?

Yes? If you do, it’s probably because you’ve already had to go through the trauma of making a claim.

If you’re lucky enough not to have had to make a jewellery insurance claim before, read on!

Over the last two or three years we’ve had a few would-be clients coming to us, looking to replace an item of jewellery that has been lost or stolen. We have discussed the design of the missing piece, costed up all the different materials and hours required in making it and provided a quote to remake it, as per the insurance company’s request.

Then it all goes downhill from there!

The insurance company will then go to their preferred jewellery stores and ask them to provide a quote too. The reason these stores are preferred is because they do so much business with them, they can offer a discount to the insurance company. The insurance company, looking for the cheapest quote will then tell the customer which jewellery store they have to use. If the customer wants to use a jeweller of their own choice, the insurance company may agree, but they’ll get a much reduced cash payout if they do. This link to a forum discussion on the topic is a prime example of what we mean.

But if your jewellery was handmade or antique, you won’t get a like-for-like replacement at any of the usual jewellery stores. So what should you do?

Firstly, you should ensure you have an independent valuation certificate of your jewellery – and this is what we tell clients when they come to collect their new jewellery. If you’ve bought the jewellery from us, the valuation should reflect the fact that it is handmade or antique.

If you’re in Australia, you can find your nearest independent valuer on the National Council of Jewellery Valuers.

Next, double check what and how much you’re insured for with your insurance company and then find out what their replacement policy is – as we did with ours. If you don’t like their response, change your insurance provider.

Bottom line is, if your valuation specifies that your jewellery is antique and/or handmade (if it’s antique then it’s likely to be handmade) or custom made, then it’s certainly a one-off that can’t be replicated by the usual overseas-made rubbish and you can argue your case, if necessary. However, you’re more likely to not need that argument in the first place if your individual items are specified on your policy. But that will cost you more to insure – of course!

Ask your insurance company how often you should get your jewellery valued too as the cost of gold and gemstones changes all the time with exchange rates and commodity prices.

Let’s hope you never need to make a claim, but if you do and you’re a previous client who hasn’t been able to obtain a valuation in time, please note that we do keep photos and invoices for all the jewellery Siobhan has made and are of course happy to provide them as necessary.