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Did you know your home insurance policy could have you covered if someone broke into your gym locker and stole your shiny new Rolex or diamond ring? Home insurance can cover you in more ways than you’d expect, especially when it comes to protecting your jewelry and other prized possessions — but it’s important to learn about your policy’s limits and exclusions. Plus, take a few simple steps to protect your precious jewels and prevent a loss before it happens.

Know your limit

Your home insurance policy can protect your jewelry no matter where you are when the loss or damage occurs — at home, on the road, and everywhere in between. While some jewelry coverage is built into most home insurance policies, it’s important to review your policy limits from time to time and let your broker know of any changes to your collection so you can be sure that all of your cherished jewels will be covered if they’re lost or damaged.

Your policy likely has a specific coverage limit for all of your jewelry combined — and you might be surprised just how quickly your collection can add up and exceed it. The average coverage limit for all of a homeowner’s jewelry, watches, gems, and fur or fur-trimmed garments (yes, these are often grouped together) is between $3,000 and $6,000. And if your belongings in this category add up to a higher amount, you should consider purchasing extra coverage to make sure you’re fully covered.

In certain circumstances (if damage is caused by fire, lightning, or an explosion, for example), your limit for jewelry coverage, which is usually located in the “Special Limits of Insurance” section of your home insurance policy, could be waived (which means you could get the full replacement cost or predetermined value of your jewelry, even if it goes beyond your limit). In these situations, your overall policy limit will still apply.

Be prepared

Want to make sure your jewelry and other prized possessions will be covered if they’re lost, stolen, or damaged in a fire or other home emergency? Follow these five steps:

  1. Keep your receipt and snap a photo. If you ever need to make a claim, it helps to have proof of how much you paid for something — especially if it’s valuable. It doesn’t hurt to keep a photo on file, too.
  2. Have your jewels appraised by a pro. To find out the true value of a specific piece of jewelry, you’ll need to have it appraised by a professional jewelry appraiser in Canada. Keep the appraiser’s report on hand — you may need to show it to your broker later.
  3. Take a full inventory. Be sure to keep your home inventory up to date and include a detailed record for each of your valuables, including appraisal amounts for your pricier pieces.
  4. Review your policy limits. Once you’ve noted each piece of jewelry in your home inventory, add up the total value and check your policy’s jewelry limit to make sure it will cover your collection.
  5. Talk to your broker. If the total value of all of your jewelry, watches, gems, and fur garments adds up to an amount that’s higher than the limit noted in your policy, you’ll need to reach out to your broker and add additional coverage for each specific item in your collection.

Protect your precious stones

Just as you take steps to protect your home from break-ins, fires, and floods, it’s important to protect your watches and jewelry, too. Here are three simple steps you can take to keep your valuables safe and sound:

  1. Lock it up. If you have to take off your jewelry while you’re out and about (at the gym or your office, for example), be sure to store it somewhere safe, where it can’t be seen or stolen. Lock it up with a secure, high-quality lock.
  2. Or better yet, leave it at home. Many gyms and other fitness facilities warn their members against leaving valuables in the locker room, whether they’re locked up or not — even high-quality locks aren’t thief-proof, and your gym probably won’t reimburse you for stolen items.
  3. Protect it from the elements. Whenever you’re not wearing your jewelry, store it in a secure space, away from extreme heat and moisture. Consider placing high-end jewelry or heirlooms in a fireproof safe.

Whether that special someone has finally popped the question with the perfect ring or you’ve inherited a priceless family heirloom, take stock of what’s in your jewelry box and talk to your broker to make sure each precious piece is protected.