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Out of Harm’s Way – Don’t Let Jewelry Theft Take the Sparkle Out of Holidays

2014-01-08
By: Advocate Brokerage

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Shoppers buy more jewelry during the holiday season than at any other time of the year.  They lose it or have it stolen at an elevated pace, too.

In December and January, the number of insurance claims processed for lost and stolen jewelry is 17 percent higher, on average, than during the other 10 months of the year.  Though jewelry claims drop somewhat, February, with Valentine’s Day, is the third highest month, based on six years’ of statistics from the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies.

The winter spike comes as more people are buying jewelry as gifts and, therefore, transporting this jewelry, which can lead to more theft. Also, more people are getting dressed up for holiday parties and wearing their best jewelry for the events, which can lead to more lost items

Here are some tips to keep your bangles, baubles and beads in your possession and not lighting up the life of someone else:

– Hide Your Purchase: If you’ve just bought jewelry for a loved one, make sure you conceal it before you leave the jewelry store. Walking around with a jewelry store bag in your hand will make you a target for thieves. Bring an extra bag to carry it in or tuck it inside a purse.

– It’s Yours to Lose Until You Give It As a Gift:  If you buy jewelry as a gift, you’d better add it to your insurance schedule until you give it away. Those receiving jewelry as a gift should do the same.

– Turn Your Home Into Fort Knox: Make sure your home is secure. Whole house alarms should be on while you’re sleeping and out of the house. Going away for a winter vacation? Add timers to your interior house lights to make it look like someone is home.

– Don’t Flaunt It: Parties are the perfect time to break out your best jewelry, but you should avoid wearing ostentatious jewelry while taking public transportation. Stow it away until you arrive at the party.

– Annual Check-Up: If you haven’t worn that expensive necklace and matching earrings since that last big gala, inspect them before you put them on this year. Are the clasps in good working order? Are the stones set firmly in place?

– Secure, Don’t Hide: Hiding jewelry in the home rarely works against persistent burglars. You might think a burglar would never look in the sock drawer or the freezer for valuables, but you’d be wrong. On the other hand, valuable jewelry on a dresser in a jewelry box might as well have a sign that reads, “Valuables. Help yourself.” Instead, keep the burglars out with a security alarm system. Valuable jewelry should be stashed off site in a safety deposit box. If you must keep valuables, keep them in a permanently mounted combination-lock safe.

Adapted from a blog by Janece White, vice president and worldwide signature underwriting & jewelry specialist for Chubb Personal Insurance.

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