10 years ago, I lost my wedding ring and learned a hard lesson about the right way to insure the things that matter

The author's wedding ring is not pictured.

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The author’s wedding ring is not pictured.
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Pavel Yavnik/Shutterstock

About ten years ago, I lost my wedding ring. It was a horrible feeling. It was a symbol of love and commitment, and an expensive one at that.

When I realized what had happened, I looked everywhere. My home. My workplace. The carrier bag I used to transport materials back and forth between the two. I even scoured my car and checked an old office space I hadn’t been inside for six months.

I turned up nothing.

Luckily, I had the ring covered under a valuable personal property policy. My insurance agent had suggested it when I added my husband to my auto insurance policy after our marriage. Valuable personal property policies are so cheap that by purchasing coverage for my ring and bundling it with my renter’s and auto insurance policy, I was actually able to save a dollar on my premiums over the course of a six-month period.

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Filing a claim was a fairly simple process. I did have to talk to an insurance agent over the phone to tell them what had happened. I was asked for a police report, but as far as I know there was no theft involved; I still don’t know where the ring disappeared to.

Loss was covered under my policy, though. The agent then asked me for the date of my ring’s last appraisal. I froze.

It’s a good idea to have your valuables appraised more than once

What I learned that day is that it’s a good idea to get your wedding and engagement rings appraised by a jeweler every once in a while – especially if the market recently tanked.

At an appraisal, the jeweler takes a look at your rings and then writes up a certificate to prove to your insurer the present value of your items. Because I had not gone through the appraisal process since the ring was purchased, the insurance company would only reimburse me for the amount that was listed on the receipt of purchase.

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My husband had purchased the ring a couple years before the recession. When the economy is doing well, the price of gold typically deflates. Then, when the economy falls, the price of gold and other precious metals rise, as they’re viewed to be more secure than the paper currency which they theoretically back. That means had I taken the ring in for an appraisal after the stock market fell, I would have gotten somewhere between $800 and $1,000 more when I went to file my claim.

A wedding ring isn’t the only thing you can insure

Wedding rings aren’t the only things covered by valuable personal property insurance. I’ve also had guitars, tech, and other items covered under such policies. My coverage has grown as my family has, so today, instead of saving a dollar over six months I pay about $4.50 a month for coverage.

Whatever item you’re covering with your valuable personal property insurance, be sure to have it appraised periodically. You may not know it yourself, but something may have happened in the market in the past few years to up the value of your property. Without an appraisal, though, you stand to lose out on that appreciation should you ever need to file an insurance claim.

Compare renters insurance policies with Policygenius to find the best coverage for you and your valuables »

Compare homeowners insurance policies with Policygenius to find the best coverage for you and your valuables »