You may not leave home with jewellery that is as elaborate or expensive as Elizabeth Taylor’s or Kim Kardashian’s. However, you can use their situations to understand why the right insurance needs to be in place when you travel.
Taylor’s 69-carat, pear-cut diamond
In 1969, actors Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor purchased this amazing diamond, and Taylor wore it briefly as a ring before having it reset as a necklace. It was originally owned by Harriet Annenberg Ames, who was said to have sold it because she felt as though she couldn’t wear it in public for fear of being robbed and because letting it sit in a bank vault was a waste. And while Taylor may not have been afraid to show off the diamond, due to the terms of Burton’s million-dollar insurance policy, she could only wear it 30 days out of the year. The rest of the time it needed to stay in a secure bank vault, and when she did go out in public with it on, she had to be accompanied by armed guards.1
Kardashian’s 20-carat, emerald-cut diamond ring
While staying at a VIP apartment in Paris in 2016, Kim Kardashian was robbed and briefly held hostage at gunpoint. The perpetrator took an estimated US$10 million in jewels, including her diamond engagement ring, valued at US$4.49 million. While her insurance company paid out over US$6.1 million to compensate her for the loss, they sued to get the money from her security team, saying they were negligent in their duties.2
The questions you need to ask about your jewellery insurance:
Like Taylor and Kardashian, you need to make sure that you have enough insurance and that you’re following the policy parameters in order to maintain full protection on the item. Here are a few questions to ask before you travel with your jewellery:
Do you have valuables coverage? In most cases, your homeowners insurance policy will not cover the full loss of an expensive piece of jewellery. Look for a policy that has relatively high sub limits for jewellery under the contents coverage, and a separate valuables cover for jewellery items you have in excess of these limits.
Is the coverage worldwide? Not all policies offer coverage overseas. Look for one that allows you to travel with your jewellery.
Is there a deductible? Some policies will provide coverage for most causes of loss – including “mysterious disappearance” – without a deductible.
Does it include inflation protection? Look for a policy that may pay a higher amount to account for inflation.
Does it include newly acquired pieces? If you plan to purchase additional pieces, you will want a policy that automatically covers your newly acquired jewellery, for up to 25% of your itemised limit, for 90 days if you already have jewellery coverage in place.
Do you have an up-to-date appraisal? The more information you can provide to your insurance company, the better they can assist you if you lose or damage a piece of jewellery. Keep an up-to-date appraisal in a secured area, that includes the type of jewellery, what it’s made of, the gemstones used and how they are graded. Make sure the condition of the piece is included and check with your policy expert to keep pace with market fluctuations if you have a rare piece or large collection.
Are you taking safety precautions? Regardless of the jewellery’s value or the specific terms of the policy, always adhere to these general safety rules:
- When traveling, keep your expensive items with you at all times or use the hotel vault to store them (not a room safe).
- Don’t pack jewellery in your checked luggage or wear it in less secure areas like the pool or beach.
- Consider investing in “travel jewellery” – Elizabeth Taylor had a replica of her renowned diamond made for US$2,800, which was a fraction of the cost of the real thing, but probably made her trips more carefree.1