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Looking to insure your engagement ring? Review your home policy first

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TORONTO - Diamonds may be forever, but most know all it takes is an errant slip or a forgetful wearer for wedding and engagement rings to end up lost for good.

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TORONTO – Diamonds may be forever, but most know all it takes is an errant slip or a forgetful wearer for wedding and engagement rings to end up lost for good.

Before walking down the aisle, many Canadian couples look into insuring their new rock.

“My belief is anything that would be catastrophic to lose should be insured,” said Amy Mandel, a Greater Toronto Area woman who has insurance on the engagement ring she was given in 2019.

A model wears a ring at a bridal shop in Toronto on Monday December 3, 2012. So many Canadian couples are seeking ring-specific coverage or reviewing home insurance policies to protect their new rock on their way to the altar. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

“My attitude is if I have a break-in and if someone says to me ‘give me your ring’ or if I lose it, it’s not a big deal, it’s insured.”

Mandel’s engagement ring coverage was part of her home insurance — a common arrangement.

While many couples may look into ring-specific coverage, experts say most homeowner and renter insurance policies provide coverage for engagement or wedding rings because they treat jewelry as part of the content of your home.

“Generally speaking, fire, flood, theft, damage (example: stone falls out) and mysterious disappearance are covered for jewelry,” Sonja Denobrega, vice-president of personal insurance and underwriting at insurer Aviva Canada, said in an email.

However, homeowner or tenant insurance policies often carry varying dollar-value limits on coverage for jewelry.

For example, the Co-operators’ site shows it has a $6,000 maximum on jewelry, gems, watches and furs with a $4,000 maximum for any one item.

Meanwhile, TD Insurance says under their contents insurance customers with home, condo or tenant insurance have either $5,000 or $15,000 in coverage depending on their policy.

If the amount your insurance offers isn’t enough to cover your ring and the other jewelry you own, Denobrega said many insurers have ways to up the limit or allow you to insure individual items of value like a wedding or engagement ring for an additional cost.

If a ring is worth more than what is automatically included in someone’s policy, TD will let them add additional coverage in increments of $5,000 up to $20,000 for a single item. If any item requires more than $20,000 in coverage, TD customers need to connect with an insurance advisers for personalized advice and an appraisal.

TD requires an appraisal from a certified gemologist for the ring to be insured if it is valued between $5,000 and $50,000, said Tony Menon, TD Insurance’s senior vice-president of general insurance.

On top of the appraisal, any ring worth more than $20,000 will also need to be photographed to receive coverage.

Any rings valued at less than $5,000 do not require appraisals, but Menon said owners must keep handy a detailed description of the ring often noted on their receipt that describes the item purchased.

If you’re having trouble deciphering what your current policies cover or whether separate insurance is worth it for you, Denobrega advises people to approach a broker with questions.

“Always ask for a quote, as well, ask for what is required to secure the rate (eg. appraisal), what the coverage restrictions may be, and how often reappraisals are needed to ensure the ring is always insured to its value,” she said.

People seeking insurance should expect to spend about $100 a year on a $5,000 ring, she added.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin-based Jewelers Mutual said such insurance typically costs between one and two per cent of the jewelry’s value per year and many companies offer it at a price that is “less than getting one coffee every month for a year.”

Mandel recommends people looking for an insurer research how a company processes claims because some will pick the jeweller and stone for you or ask for additional documentation.

She pays a premium for coverage from Chubb because it gives her more freedom in the event something ever happens to her ring.

“If I call them and tell them I lost my engagement ring, they will ask me how much it cost,” she said.

“They will not ask me for a bill or proof of payment, and they’ll mail me a check. It’s up to me what I want to do with that check.”

Getting insurance was never a question for Mandel.

Both she and her husband work in the insurance field and she fondly recalled the peace of mind it provided for her mom.

“I can remember I was playing with my mom’s rings on her jewelry tray and I put them down somewhere that she had not left them,” Mandel said.

“She yelled to my dad, ‘I can’t find my rings’ and he went to her ‘they’re insured,’ meaning don’t worry about it.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 12, 2022.

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