Record Precious Metal Prices Mean Your Valuables May Be Underinsured

If something happened to your treasured items, would your insurance cover the current value?


In September 2011, gold briefly surpassed $1,900 per ounce, a record never before approached. And while gold and other precious metals have been on a steady climb for the last decade, the run-up of the last two years has been particularly dramatic. Between 2009 and 2011, gold and silver prices have more than doubled.


As the precious metals market has soared, the worth of your jewels, coin collection, silverware, and other valuables with precious metal content has almost certainly followed suit — and are likely worth substantially more now than appraised for just a year ago.



150% Protection
When you itemize your valuables on a policy from Fireman’s Fund, we safeguard you from escalating markets by paying up to 150 percent of the insured amount of a lost or damaged piece when the fair market value of the item is higher. Even so, this extra protection may not be enough in today’s superheated precious metals market.


Reappraise, Reassess

The recent and rapid escalation in the value of precious metals has created a wide gap between what many people have insured their collections for and what they are actually worth. Because of this historic move in the market, you should plan on a reappraisal of your jewelry, coins and similar valuables if it’s been two years or more since your last appraisal.


Be sure the appraiser provides you both the fair market value and replacement value for the items in your collection. An item’s fair market value, as the name implies, is the price it would command on the open market. Its replacement value, on the other hand, is the cost to replace it with a comparable item of the same quality. Replacement cost can be significantly higher than fair market value if a similar piece is not readily available on the open market. To make sure you’re adequately covered, always insure a piece for its replacement value.


After the appraisal, your insurance agent can work to make sure your coverage is increased appropriately and get you any applicable credits.


Preferred Appraisal Rates
Through Fireman’s Fund, you can access several nationally recognized appraisal firms at preferred rates, including Asset Archives, Inc., New York Fine Art Appraisers, and Winston Art Group. Talk to your Fireman’s Fund agent to learn how you can obtain discounts on these first-rate services. Of course, if you prefer, you can choose your own appraiser.


Protecting Your Treasures
What should you do to protect your jewelry, coin collections, and other valuables?

  1. Ask your insurance agent to recommend a reliable, trustworthy appraiser.
  2. Have your collections appraised regularly – especially after a reported increase in metal or gem value. In the current market, jewelry and coin collections should be re appraised at least every two years.
  3. Inventory and take pictures of each piece. In the event of loss or theft, this will expedite the claims process.
  4. Keep a copy of the appraisal, along with photos, somewhere other than with the actual jewelry or coin collection.
  5. Keep your collection in a safe, dry place, away from the elements and out of view of casual visitors to your home. A fire-proof safe is ideal. Ask about favorable pricing for secure storage.
  6. Talk to your insurance agent about what policies will best protect your collection. A Prestige Collections policy from Fireman’s Fund offers a zero deductible, higher limits on theft, and coverage against more causes of loss than a typical homeowners policy, such as accidental loss (mysterious disappearance).

Following these tips will not only ensure that your collection is adequately covered to its current replacement value, but will also allow quicker claim resolution in the case of loss or theft. And properly protecting your collection will allow you to enjoy it for years to come.


Prestige Collections® from Fireman’s Fund
Our Prestige Collections coverage protects your fine art, jewelry, wine, antiques, silverware, crystal, furs, memorabilia and other collectibles against a wide spectrum of losses, including flood or mysterious disappearance. We can also provide preferred pricing with a highly regarded appraisal service and expert advice on protecting a valued object or collection. And, if a loss should occur, you pay no deductible. We will work with you to have damaged pieces restored to their original condition, and with law enforcement to find stolen pieces and return them when possible.

This publication provides general information and/or recommendations that may apply to many different situations or operations. Any recommendations described in this publication are not intended to be specific to your unique situation or operation and are not intended to address all possible hazardous conditions or unsafe acts that may exist. Consult with your staff and specialists to determine how and whether the information in this publication might guide you in specific plans for your situation or operations. Additionally, this article does not substitute for legal advice, which should come from your own counsel. 

These descriptions of coverage are abbreviated and are subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the actual policy, which forms the contract between the insured and the insurance company. Availability of coverages, credits and options may vary by state.