Burglars are targetting jewellery in home raids as the cost of precious metals and gems soar, according to insurers.
Jewellery thefts are up by more than a fifth (22%) over the past two years and make up around a third of the cost of all burglary claims, says Churchill Home Insurance.
The increase in pay outs for thefts has grown apace with rising gold prices – up 26.7% as gold hit a peak of £1,127 an ounce in September 2011. Prices have fallen back since then to around £1,025 an ounce.
In January 2009, an ounce of gold was worth £595.
The insurer also points out that increased awareness of ‘cash for gold’ firms make disposing of stolen property easier for thieves as the dealers ask no questions about where the jewellery comes from.
Some homeowners are losing out on claims as some valuable jewellery may be excluded from home insurance policies if the new price has overtaken maximum cover limits.
Also jewellery that was worth less than the maximum value for single items under the policy may now be worth more, but the owner would usually only be covered for the limit stated on their policy.
Spokesman Martin Scott said: “We’re seeing an increase in both the number of jewellery claims and the number of jewellery items stolen within each claim, as the value of gold increases. At the same time we’ve been witnessing a decline in theft claims for electrical goods as these goods decrease in value and thieves target higher-value items instead.
“The increase in the value of gold is also putting consumers at risk of being underinsured and we estimate that up to 40% of householders have underinsured jewellery.
“They should check the value of their jewellery regularly, and update their home contents cover if the value of their gold has increased. Keep receipts or proof of purchase in case they have to make a claim.”
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