An insurance expert is warning Yorkshire and Humber homeowners who own expensive jewellery that they risk losing thousands of pounds if they fall victim to burglars – as the pandemic pushes up the price of gold.

Gerard Salvin, of Yorkshire-based high net worth insurance broker Lycetts, fears homeowners may face significant shortfalls in the event of claims, due to them underestimating their jewellery valuations.

The sharp rise in the price of gold – which topped £1,527 an ounce for the first time during the pandemic – means that many homeowners may be unaware of the true value of their collections.

The warning comes after latest crime figures revealed jewellery was the second most targeted item in household burglaries in England and Wales in the last recorded year, stolen in almost one third (32 per cent) of incidents*.

Of the 248,633 residential burglaries recorded by police in this period**, 33,737 took place in Yorkshire and Humber, with 15,763 break-ins in West Yorkshire, 9,838 in South Yorkshire, 5,876 in Humberside, and 2,260 in North Yorkshire.

Gerard said: “The price of gold has been steadily rising in recent years and its value spiked significantly during the coronavirus pandemic, with an all-time price high being reached in the summer.

“Prices of other precious metals, including silver, have also risen sharply since the start of this year.

“There are a lot of influencing factors when it comes to the price of gold, such as trade imbalances, global inflation, and real interest rates, but the bottom line is that prices fluctuate and can do so at a rapid rate.

“Homeowners may be blissfully unaware that the value of their jewellery has increased over recent months – but they could suffer significant financial loss, or even a rejected claim, if these items are stolen.

“In today’s volatile markets, it is more imperative than ever that homeowners ensure they regularly review the value of their jewellery, and inform their insurance provider of any changes.”

According to the latest detailed burglary stats, the average cost of stolen items in a burglary was £2,856. Almost half (44 per cent) of victims said the cost of the crime was more than £1,000.

“Some people make the mistake of renewing home cover each year without re-calculating the value of their possessions, but this can cost them dear,” added Gerard.

“The burden of calculating the value of home contents falls squarely with the homeowner and giving an ‘educated guess’ to insurers is the downfall of many.”

Gerard said that there are a number of ways to be more accurate when accounting for home contents, including jewellery. “The golden rule is that an item’s value for insurance purposes is how much it would cost to buy new, not what it cost when you bought it,” he explained.

“Getting legitimate valuations is the route to being sufficiently insured. Be thorough with regards to your inventory – item by item, room by room – and be diligent about receipt-keeping for high value items.

“Have antiques, family heirlooms and jewellery valued regularly and let your insurer know if these items are stored in a safe or vault.
“For some items, separate specialist cover may be needed, particularly in the case of very expensive jewellery, collectables, family heirlooms, valuable antiques or fine art.

“Home cover places a limit on the maximum you can claim on any single item, so check that the policy has a sufficient single item claim limits to cover more valuable items.

“Finally, be wary of online valuation tools as they may not be accurate. If in doubt, call a trustworthy provider who will offer personal, expert advice to find you a policy that suits your exact needs.”

*Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), latest available statistics published for the year to March 2020

**Police recorded crime, published statistics for the year to March 2020