Insurance can pay off when it comes to engagement rings

Now that Valentine's Day is over and everyone is admiring the engagement ring he surprised you with, it's time to think about how to protect that symbol of love so that it will last as long as the many happy years you will have together. An engagement ring is a symbol of commitment and usually has great sentimental value to the owner. It can also have significant monetary value: The average cost of an engagement ring in the United States today is $5,200, according to a survey by XO Group Inc., which owns websites and Luxury rings start at around $10,000. With this type of investment involved in the symbol of their love, couples may want to review their insurance policies and talk to an agent about what type of coverage they may have if the ring is lost, stolen or otherwise damaged. Hal Beimel II, an agent with Allstate Insurance in St. Marys, said that while standard homeowners' and renters' insurance polices include coverage for personal items such as jewelry, the majority of policies limit the dollar amount from $1,000 to $2,000 total if the item is stolen. "An engagement ring, for example, can be the most expensive item a person owns and may merit the addition of special coverage on his or her property insurance policy," Beimel said. Jim Borst of James E. Borst and Associates of Erie Insurance, Ridgway, said it depends on the type of policy and coverage a person has. He used the example of someone doing the dishes and the stone falls out of the setting and goes down the drain. "Under most homeowners’ policies, that particular type of loss would not be covered. However, if you list the ring on the policy and you pay an additional premium on that ring, that would be covered without having to pay your deductible," Borst said. "That’s the difference between listing something on the policy versus not listing something on the policy." He said if the ring is of significant value, people may want to consider taking out a rider on their policy for the piece. "You have to pay an extra premium for doing it, but your deductible is waived, but usually you find broader coverages when you insure an item individually as opposed to not doing so," Borst said.He said the most claims filed for jewelry is because a stone has fallen out of the setting. People should take their engagement or anniversary bands to a jeweler periodically to check for worn prongs or loose stones."It’s not the jewelry being stolen, but the jewelry falling out of the settings. I have about a dozen of those every year," Borst said. "Most people don’t think of calling an agent until it happens, then they think about putting it on the policy, but it’s too late. "Theft is covered, and fire’s covered. But not falling out of the setting."Pick up a copy of the Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.