It may seem silly to bring expensive jewelry with you on a trip. Why risk losing it? Just leave it at home, right?
But surprisingly enough, there are a handful of special occasions for which you may need to bring your fine jewelry on a vacation: for example, you’re popping the question with a diamond engagement ring during a romantic trip. It’s your grandmother’s 90th birthday and you want to wear a family heirloom to the big celebration. You’re meeting your baby niece for the first time and want to commemorate it with a birthstone pendant.
Protect your valuables and follow these steps to safely and securely travel with fine jewelry and watches.
1. Double-check your insurance policy.
Before you even consider wearing your wedding band on your beach getaway, confirm that your insurance policy is up to date and covers lost items. A standard homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy does not cover lost items. So, if your ring falls into the sand, that loss is not likely covered and you’re out a wedding band.
If you have special jewelry insurance, review that policy as well. It is more likely to include coverage for “mysterious disappearance” (i.e., loss), but that’s not a guarantee unless you see it explicitly written in your policy.
Also, if you have traveler’s insurance, the policy likely does not cover high-ticket items like fine jewelry or a watch. Most plans have per-item limit of only a few hundred dollars meaning a $3,000 piece of jewelry or watch would not be covered for the full value.
2. Confirm that your hotel has an in-room safe or safety deposit box.
Call ahead to see if your hotel room includes a safe. If not, the front desk may have a safety deposit box for you to securely store valuables. If neither option is available, you may want to reconsider packing your most valuable pieces.
3. Document every watch or piece of jewelry you pack.
As you pack for your vacation, snap photos and jot down a list of all the pieces of jewelry or watches you’re bringing with you. (And don’t forget to note the one you wear everyday!) Keep a copy of your list at home and another in your suitcase.
Also pull all your relevant paperwork together: gemstone certifications, watch papers, appraisal valuations. Make sure any watch or piece of fine jewelry you’re packing is documented in your personal and official records so, in the unlikely event that you need to file a claim, you are prepared.
4. Pack your items securely and keep them in your carry on.
Pick up a travel-friendly watch or jewelry case so your items are protected and organized. (We rounded up our favorites here.)
Also, never put your fine jewelry or watches in a checked bag—always hand-carry the items with you. If your luggage is lost, airlines are not responsible for any high-end watches, jewelry or heirlooms that may be packed inside. Bring your jewelry and watch in your carry-on or your travel bag that zips closed.
Still have questions about jewelry insurance? Read our article on the topic before you jet-set to your next destination.