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Do you know the true value of your jewellery?

The major risk facing clients is being unknowingly underinsured – whether it relates to rebuild values, overall contents levels or increasingly more common, valuables, such as art, jewellery, or watches.

It’s is the role of any risk protection adviser to anticipate these challenges and support clients by ensuring their cover is maintained at the correct levels.

One area where it has become increasingly important is the watch market, where historically clients who owned a Rolex or a Patek Philippe watch were advised to have valuations updated every 2-3 years. Now, due to the significant increases in value, we are recommending watch valuations for specific brands are updated every six months.

To help our clients and forming part of our professional ecosystem, Doerr Dallas Valuations are a specialist independent valuation and advisory business. Their team includes some of the most renowned and internationally recognised specialists working throughout the UK and Europe covering all areas of fine art, antiques, silver, jewellery, watches, classic cars, books and manuscripts, and other collectables.

Here, Rachel Doerr, Founder and Managing Director advises on why you should consider an independent and up-to-date professional valuation for your jewellery and watches.

Why do you need a professional valuation?

Insurers require you to specify the valuables you have in your contents separately to general household items, including listing individual items worth over a certain amount. If this is inaccurate, in the event of a claim, it could lead to only a partial pay out (which could mean you cannot replace the item) and can even lead to full rejection of the claim.

Ask yourself the question: do I know the true value of my items if they needed to be replaced? Are the figures you have given to the insurer accurate replacement values – or a best guess? If the answer is a guess then, based on our experience over many years, it is highly likely you are under-insured.

For insurance purposes, you will be looking for a value that will enable you to replace your treasured piece. Many insurers apply a ‘New for Old’ replacement clause to jewellery and watches. If your ring is antique or discontinued, your valuations will need to reflect this and base the value on either a second-hand replacement value or secondary market replacement.

When a professional valuation is not available, insurers often use claims management specialists to try to find the value of jewellery after it has gone – an unsatisfactory process known as a post-loss valuation. Valuing something after you have lost it often results in an under-assessment of the lost item’s true value or not having your claim paid at all.

What does a professional valuation contain?

In the unfortunate situation that you do suffer a loss or damage and need to make a claim, the three questions you will need to ask yourself are:

  1. Do I have a detailed description and photograph of the item?
  2. Do I have proof of ownership e.g. purchase receipt clearly listing the item? If the item is very old, inherited, or a gift you may not have this.
  3. Do I have evidence of current replacement value?

A professional valuation will provide you with a comprehensive document that includes:

  • An overall description of the item, including dimensions and overall condition
  • Details of the stone(s), including size and quality. If a stone is certified, the report number and date should be noted within the description, as well as the name of the grading laboratory.
  • The metal and overall setting
  • Any marks (such as hallmarks or maker’s marks)
  • A value, which should be dated and confirm the purpose/type of valuation

Many insurers have a “clasps and settings” clause in their policies – your adviser can advise you if this is the case, and what this means for you. A professional valuation should check the clasps and settings of your jewellery and will provide evidence that this has been done.

For further advice on the right insurance policy for your collection please reach out to your Partners& adviser.