Aviva urges customers to protect themselves after rise in claims for jewellery theft

Person laughing and covering their mouth with their hands. They have several rings on their fingers.
  • Aviva data shows 43%i increase in high-value claims for jewellery theft
  • Thieves targeted people, cars and homes
  • Items stolen included luxury watches,  bespoke jewellery items, expensive bracelets and diamond rings
  • Aviva has been providing cover for burglaries and thefts since 1889.

Insurer Aviva is warning customers that not protecting their treasured items properly could lead to heartache, after seeing a staggering 43% increase in claims for high-end jewellery theft.

The data, which looks at Aviva Private Client’s high-net-worth claims across 2022 and 2023, includes customers being mugged for expensive watches, opportunist thieves stealing jewellery stashed in cars, and numerous claims where burglars have forced entry into homes while people were away on holiday. In some particularly worrying incidents of crime, residents were still inside the property when thieves entered.

Thieves smashed car and house windows, disabled alarm systems, and even ripped out safes containing jewellery, with items stolen totaling hundreds of thousands of pounds, including luxury watches, expensive bracelets, diamond rings, diamond bracelets, diamond earrings, emeralds, and bespoke jewellery items.

Sadly, theft isn’t the only issue for customers when it comes to their expensive jewellery. Aviva data shows claims for accidental damage more than doubled across the year, while the insurer also saw numerous claims for accidental loss of jewellery.

Rupert Damms, Head of Risk Management North for Aviva, says: “Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to surprise a loved one with precious jewels, but with jewellery theft on the rise across the U.K., protecting yourself and your valuables has never been more important.

Norwich Union advert from 1935 - the headline is about an epidemic of robberies, features a lot of text and stats about burglaries in the UK, and finishes by saying 'your only certain safeguard is an insurance policy'. The advert copy is being lit up by the torch of an old fashioned thief.
Advert from the Daily Mirror in 1935 by Norwich Union, one of Aviva's ancestor companies.

“With opportunistic thieves targeting people in public, it’s crucial that individuals are sensible about when and where they wear expensive jewellery and think carefully about whether they want to have it on display. Inside the home, we urge people to make sure they lock their doors and windows, and ensure their security systems and safes are insurance approved, professionally installed, and that they are always used to store jewellery.

“It can also be easy to underestimate the value of items, particularly if the cost to replace luxury goods rises. If the worst does happen, underinsurance of valuable items can be a problem for customers when they come to claim, so ensuring you have the right insurance cover and up-to-date valuations of jewellery is also critical for both peace of mind and protection of assets.”

Aviva has been providing cover for burglaries and thefts since 1889. Its predecessor, The Mercantile Accident and Guarantee Company Ltd, was the first company in the U.K. to offer burglary insurance. The company's landmark burglary department started writing risks in June 1889.

A claim from Aviva’s archives highlights that while the world may have changed significantly over the centuries, customer claims for jewellery remain the same. In 1892, the insurer paid out after a large quantity of jewellery was stolen from a Wigan-based jeweller, two days before Valentine’s Day. The stolen goods included eleven second hand silver watches and a large number of gold rings, with the estimated loss being around £70, equivalent to £11,146 today.

To save the headache and heartache that comes with stolen, lost, or damaged jewellery, here are some things consumers need to know about protecting themselves, their jewellery and their wallets this Valentine’s Day:

  • Purchase the right insurance. Ensuring your jewellery is properly insured against theft, loss and accidental damage will give you peace of mind that your jewellery is covered if the worst does happen. For expensive items this includes checking the single-article limit for valuables on your policy and purchasing adequate policies that provide enough cover. For some consumers, they may need high-net-worth policies.
  • Get jewellery valued regularly. Underinsurance of jewellery can be an issue when customers come to claim, especially as the price of precious metals, diamonds, coloured diamonds and watches can fluctuate. Getting jewellery valued at least every three years will ensure your pieces are appropriately insured. Documenting jewellery with photographs and paperwork, including watch seriel numbers, can help facilitate insurance claims and possible recovery of items.
  • Be discreet and vigilant in public. Opportunistic thieves can strike at any time. Avoid displaying expensive jewellery in public places where it can easily be snatched, and be careful when posting or tagging locations on social media as this can attract unwanted attention from potential thieves.
  • Store jewellery safely. Never leave expensive jewellery in cars or out on display at home, and invest in an insurance approved safe to store jewellery when it’s not being worn. With thieves also ripping safes out of properties, make sure the safe is professionally installed in an appropriate location, ideally protected by an intruder alarmii.
  • Secure properties and maintain home security systems. While locking doors and windows might seem like a simple task, complacency or forgetfulness can land people in hot water. Additionally, installing an insurance approved home security system comprising of intruder alarms, motion detectors, lights, and CCTV, can help deter burglars and alert people to potential thieves on their property.
  • Check your jewellery for wear and tear. Loose stones, worn settings or damaged clasps could result in lost or broken jewellery. Regularly maintaining your jewellery with a trusted jeweller will help prevent accidental damage or loss and extend the lifespan of your jewellery.
  • Be cautious with repairs. Be selective about where you take your jewellery for repairs or cleaning. Use jewellers who have a good reputation for security and reliability.
  • Stay informed about local crime trends. Be aware of any recent incidents of thefts in your area. Taking proactive measures against thieves will help keep you and your jewellery safe.

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i. Aviva internal data for high-net-worth claims with the word jewellery. Compares data from Jan 2022-Dec 2022 with Jan 2023 – Dec 2023.

ii. The safe should be tested and certified by the European Certification Body (ECB) to European standard EN1143-1 and the grade of safe should be sufficient for the value of jewellery on site. The safe should be installed within an alarm protected area and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions by a suitably competent person/company (member of the Master Locksmiths Association).

Enquiries

Karmen Ivey

General Insurance

Notes to editors:

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