Insurance Renewal Time (Groan)
This is the time of year when I have to go through the buildings and contents insurance. Not my favourite job. I do get tempted to do what many of us do and just renew it, as it is, because its less hassle. Occasionally I'll search around for a cheaper quote, tickle the excesses and so on. Most of the time I stick with the same company as it does help build a better relationship that helps in the event that something does go wrong and for the sake of a £10 saving, is it worth it.
When a renewal comes through, I always read through it carefully, check details and make sure nothing has changed. Particular sections that catch my eye are the "has anything changed" and limits for personal possessions.
If you let something fall into disrepair, the rendering on the brickwork, loose tiles, a water leak, the insurance won't cover it. This is exactly the same for jewellery and personal possessions. If the settings are worn on a ring or the clasp is faulty on a bracelet, your insurance may well not pay out, as it comes down to a lack of maintenance and neglect. Insurances don't usually cover wear and tear. Some insurance companies insist on “claw and clasp” checks, which I think are a good idea and it is a service that I offer for a modest fee. The claws and settings are checked and clasps to necklets and bracelets are checked. I then produce a letter to state that when I checked them they were Okay. If they aren’t, I would advise you, then you would be able to arrange repairs to keep them in the best condition you can.
As for personal property limits, these need to be looked at carefully. Just because you paid £800 for something 15 years ago does not necessarily mean it won't breach your £1000 per article limit now. It's always best to get it checked out by a qualified and experienced valuer, just to make sure. Another thing to do with items below this value is make some notes and build up some evidence of ownership. A simple photocopy with something for scale (a 2p piece?) and a few notes “9ct gold, Bought in H. Samuel 1994” for example. Should something happen, it helps with a claim. Also it will help to bring to your attention when you are likely to exceed your total personal possessions limit and you can arrange an increase in cover.
Also, many policies "Index Link" values on some items. This means that declared values of some specified articles will be increased by a small percentage each year. This might work for some things, but doesn't usually work for jewellery in my experience. It doesn’t bear in mind other factors such as market fluctuations.
I recently undertook a valuation that was last done in 2008 when the gold price was fairly high. This client had done exactly what they should have done, they noticed gold prices were increasing and decided to get their items re-valued. Unfortunately, these items were index linked so the “insured value” was increasing even though the market was declining. The gist of this means that they were paying too much to insure a couple of these articles. It’s now been re-set and the valuation I have just completed for them should pay for itself within 3 years. I would say as a minimum look at re-valuing pieces every 5 years. But, if you hear of prices moving on something that affects you, “Sultan of Brunei buys worlds entire Ruby production sending prices through the roof” (totally made up), look into a new valuation.
Another great example of this was a Celtic gold coin believed to be unique a few years back. It sold for £25,000 and the collector was very pleased to have it. A year or so later another was dug out of the ground, so it was no longer unique and it's value drpped to around £15,000. An extreme example, but worth noting.
I hope this helps when it comes to your renewal and remember that I will gladly answer questions when I can, as well as offering a valuation and repair service of course!