Everyone dreads the theft or loss of favorite jewelry. It sometimes feels you lost a personal friend, something tangible that becomes part of you. This is the first written report I have ever seen on what you should do in the event of a jewelry theft or loss. Emotional as it may seem, life does go on. The difficult part of losing your jewelry is what to do next. Diamond Inspector helps you so you can get the jewelry replaced with confidence.
STEP ONE: The first thing you must always do is report the loss or theft to the local police department. This is for two reasons. The first is that the missing jewelry may turn up by some honest citizen. Someone may just report your jewelry to the police so that you can get it back. The second reason is that there is an independent record of the event, for the insurance company.
STEP TWO: Review your insurance policy before you call your agent. Most people never read the fine print on their insurance policies. Every insurance policy is different, and every insurance company is different. Each type of policy has its own stated claim policies, which you should know in the event of a theft or loss.
New policies are in plain English, therefore easy to understand. Some policies are in the old Insurance-ese language, which most people don’t understand. Please try and read your policy before you call your agent. If you don’t understand the fine print, call a lawyer to help interpret the policy for you. This will also show your agent that you know your policy. The following information is vital to understand how insurance claims work.
Your policy is either a renters or homeowners policy. If you have your jewelry appraised and insured, then you will have the appraisals attached to each policy. This is called a rider, floater, or personal articles policy. A personal articles / floater will cover your jewelry for the stated appraisal amount. But now is where it gets tricky.
Different insurance companies have different claim policies. Some companies will pay you the exact amount on the appraisal immediately upon submitting the claim. Other insurance companies have the option of replacing your jewelry with like kind and quality, usually at a much lower price than the appraisal value.
If you have a very good appraisal with solid gemological information, then you can be assured of getting a replacement of like kind and quality. If you don’t have a good appraisal, then you are leaving yourself open for a lower quality replacement. The insurance company is only limited to the amount you claim on your appraisal and the quality of the gemological information supplied on the appraisal.
If your policy does not have a personal articles / rider / floater attached, then you will only receive what the limits of coverage are for the insurance policy. Each policy states what the limits are for unscheduled jewelry. I have seen so many people think that they have adequate insurance coverage for their jewelry, only to find out that they were under insured.
Most policies will state that the maximum dollar amount for unscheduled jewelry is $2000, with a deductible pre-chosen when you bought your policy. Most policies have a $250 or $500 deductible. So that would mean that your maximum coverage is really only $1500. Please check your policy to see what kind it is.
Once you have reviewed your policy, then its time to call your agent. Some companies have you call the agent first, while other insurance companies have you call directly to their claims department. It is always better to first call your agent, as they will have the latest information about claim policies at the insurance company. Some agents have the ability to handle the claim right out of their office, while most agents will refer you to the claims department of the insurance company. At this point, you must get a claims reference number for your claim.
Once you call the claims department, you will be assigned the claims reference number for your claim. This number is very important for you, as it allows you to contact the insurance company easily about your claim. You must also be aware that your claim is but one of fifty per day that the claims adjuster handles, that are piled up on the desk waiting to be handled.
You are just another claim on the adjuster’s desk, so please understand that they want your claim to be finished as much as you do. But they are limited to how much they can do in a day, so your help in understanding how the claims process works will help the adjuster go faster. It is important for you to ask specific questions about the claim, so will know what the insurance company will, and will not do for you. The specific questions to ask the claims adjuster are:
Ask the claims agent to confirm the limits of coverage. The limit of coverage is the maximum amount that your policy covers you for any jewelry loss. This is the maximum obligation of the insurance company, which is documented on your policy. Does this information match the research you did before you called the claims department?
The claims adjuster has an obligation to work for the insurance company, not you. It is up to you to make sure you legally know what the insurance company legally is limited to pay you, or replace your missing jewelry. If the dollar amount of coverage does not match your research, you must get the original agent who sold you the policy and the claims adjuster on the phone together.
Ask the claims agent to confirm the insurance company policy for replacing like kind and quality, or direct cash payment. The decision of the claims of agent is based on your policy limits and the policies of the company. If the limits of coverage is $2000, and it costs $3000 to replace, then the company will most likely pay you the $2000. If the insurance company replaces with like kind and quality, with their replacement cost of $1500, then the insurance company will insist on replacing the exact item and save $500.
Once the replacement price is determined by the agent, it is up to you to double check that the replacement price matches the exact like kind and quality of your missing jewelry. You must confirm with the agent that the replacement matches the information found on the gem lab diamond certificate for your missing diamond, or the appraisal with the same information. You must get a second and perhaps a third opinion to verify that the agents replacement quote is correct.
Ask the claims agent what the company’s policy is for payment. Do they mail the claim amount directly to you, or do they send it to the jeweler. Some companies want to make sure you are truly going to replace your jewelry, so they send it to the replacement jeweler with a dual signature for approval. Each company is different, so you need to know this.
Most people have a favorite jeweler, one who they have worked with over the years. The insurance companies want to save money, so they send you to their replacement jeweler. The insurance company gets a greater discount to replace with that jeweler, but you don’t have to accept their jeweler for the replacement (unless stated in your policy).
You can insist, strongly, that you only want to go to your family jeweler for the replacement of the missing jewelry. At that point, they will probably contact your jeweler with the claim information, arranging the replacement process, and insisting that the insurance company can replace your missing jewelry at the other jeweler for a lesser value. Your relationship with a jeweler is important at this time.
Ask the claims agent what extra information he/she needs to approve the claim. Be helpful to them, and they will be helpful to you.