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Make Sure Your Valentine's Jewels Are Insured

You may need to purchase a floater because most homeowners policies provide limited coverage.

Congratulations to all of you who get engaged this Valentine's Day. Now, as soon as you've called your friends and family to tell them about your shiny new ring, call your insurance agent to tell him about it, too. Yes, your insurance agent.

If you received a diamond or any other expensive jewelry on Valentine's Day, you need to make sure it's protected under your insurance policy. Unfortunately, most homeowners and renters insurance policies limit reimbursement for the theft of jewelry (and other personal possessions) to $1,000 to $2,000.

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To boost your coverage, add a floater -- or endorsement -- to your homeowners or renters policy. And some companies offer stand-alone policies for jewelry, so you don't have to have a homeowners or renters policy to get this coverage, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III).

Here's what you need to know purchasing a floater and protecting your valuables, according to the III:

-- You'll need an appraisal of the item before your purchase a floater or endorsement because the premium will be based on the appraised value and your compensation will be based on this amount if something happens to the item. Also send a copy of the purchase receipt to the insurer so the company knows the current value of the item.

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-- Prices for floaters will vary depending on the type of jewelry, the insurance company you choose, where you live and where the item will be kept.

-- Floaters have no deductibles and will provide coverage even if the item is lost -- not just stolen.

-- You should take a picture of the item to help document a loss and speed up the claims process. Be sure to add the item to your home inventory list. The III's free Know Your Stuff tool will help you take an inventory.

-- You'll need to update the value of your jewelry because it can go up or down, and your floater should reflect any changes.

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