Households are more likely to claim for theft or loss of jewellery in the winter months, research shows.
There were 62 per cent more claims in the first three months of the year compared to the last three, according to Lloyds Bank.
With gold prices surging in recent years, many owners may have pieces that are now seriously undervalued.
Meanwhile, one victim – Sheri – who stopped burglars mid-theft, has highlighted the need to have jewellery photographed. She managed to claim for a diamond necklace, thanks to a picture of her wearing it.
Households are more likely to claim for theft or loss jewellery in the first quarter of the year
Thefts surge thanks to gifting at this time of year
One of the reasons for the increase in thefts is that there are several events in the winter months where expensive jewellery is gifted.
This includes the period just after Christmas and Valentine’s Day, where there are sure to be even more gifts of pieces of jewellery, including engagement rings, that will need to be protected.
Lloyds is urging those with pricey jewels to take measures to protect their new jewellery as soon as they can to avoid any nasty surprises further down the line.
David Rochester, head of underwriting at Lloyds Bank home insurance, said: ‘Whether people love or loathe tradition, Valentine’s Day is sure to inspire many romantics to pop the question.
‘Amidst the excitement, it’s easy to forget about insuring that precious engagement ring or other valuables– so it’s important that couples have their valuables protected in case the worst happens.’
Separate research from Mintel revealed that the acquisition of high-value items is a potential driver for home insurers.
Its data showed that 8 per cent of adults are expecting to buy an item worth over £1,500 within the next 12 months, such as jewellery or a work of art, meaning that more households are likely to take out an insurance policy.
It also revealed that the older people get, the more likely they are to have contents and buildings insurance with 60 per cent of UK adults purchasing contents insurance and 48 per cent having buildings cover.
This is perhaps due to the fact that most people accrue a number of their valuable objects over their lifetime.
My diamond necklace was stolen
One person who knows how important it is to have home and contents insurance is Sherri, 65, who was burgled two years ago.
Sherri, from North London, said: ‘It was Mother’s Day and me and my husband had been to my daughter’s house for lunch.
‘When we came home and we put the key in the door, I asked my husband if he had left the TV on as I could hear noise.
‘He said no but he could hear people in the house.
‘We went to go back out the front door but then saw three young men running down the stairs with bags.
‘They ran past us and we called the police.’
It turned out that three burglars had got in through Sherri’s side gate and smashed the side kitchen door to gain entry.
‘They had rifled through her things and grabbed some money and jewellery from upstairs before making their escape.
Luckily they were disturbed so didn’t grab as much as they might have done otherwise.
‘On their escape, they left through the garden and ran to the garden of the house behind them.
Sherri said: ‘The house next door is a mansion and they have CCTV which caught the three men on it.
‘The culprits ran up to the main road and the police came very quickly. The police actually sent out a helicopter and caught them on some greenery nearby.’
Fortunately, all three burglars were prosecuted and Sherri got most of her items back.
However, one thing she didn’t get back was the first diamond necklace her husband had bought her that was worth around £1,000.
This was the item that had the most sentimental meaning to her – and was not going to be easily replaced as it was bought abroad many years ago.
Luckily, Sherri had photos of her wearing it in previous photos and so was able to make a claim on her buildings and contents insurance she holds with LV=.
She managed to get the estimated value of the necklace back and now ensures she takes as much care with her valuables as possible.
Her advice to people now? ‘Make sure you take photos of jewellery and anything of value. It’s very easy to do, especially with smartphones nowadays. Also, always put the burglar alarm on!’
Precious metals fluctuate in price
Households are advised to have precious items revalued every couple of years.
This is important as the price of diamonds and gold fluctuate over the course of the year which could affect any claims you need to make in the future.
Lynn Tones, fellow of the National Association of Jewellers’ Institute of Registered Valuers, said: ‘The price of gold and diamonds fluctuates with time showing how important it is to have jewellery re-valued by a professional accredited valuer, and to update insurance policies based on this.
‘The closure this year of the Argyle mine – the world’s biggest supplier of pink and red gems – means the price of coloured diamonds is continuing to rise and having a knock-on effect on other coloured gemstones.’
Whilst the price of gold has risen in the last five years, diamonds fluctuate far more.
|Price of gold (£)||775.21||716.36||935.56||960.84||1,008.24||1,157.78|
|Price of diamond (£)||9,250||9,200.22||10,550||9,400||10,000||8,985|
|Source: Lloyds Bank home insurance|
How to protect your bling
To help those with pricey jewels, This is Money, with the help of Lloyds Bank, reveals top tips to help people protect their bling:
1. Make sure any expensive jewellery is added to your policy as a high value item, and keep valuation certificates and receipts and photographs of them in case you need to make a claim.
2. The price of metals and stones can fluctuate over time so be sure to have jewellery revalued and let your insurer know if the price of your item has changed.
3. Don’t leave jewellery in conspicuous places such as on windowsills which can be easily visible to burglars.
4. Think about using a safe or locked cabinet to store jewellery, and avoid putting pieces in ‘obvious’ places like under the bed or in bedside drawers, where burglars are likely to look first.
5. Take photographs of your valuable items as this can help insurers to process a claim more easily, or to help have the item re-created.
6. Avoid posting pictures of your jewellery on social media to avoid unnecessary attention.
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