Insurer warns about high-value jewellery thefts ahead of Valentine’s Day

A 43% annual jump in high-value claims for jewellery theft has been recorded by Aviva.

Ahead of Valentine’s Day on February 14, the insurance giant said items stolen include luxury watches, bespoke jewellery items, expensive bracelets and diamond rings.

The data was taken from Aviva Private Clients high-net-worth claims across 2022 and 2023.

It includes customers being mugged for expensive watches, opportunist thieves stealing jewellery stashed in cars, and claims where burglars forced entry into homes while people were away on holiday.

In some cases, residents were still inside the property when thieves entered.

Thieves have smashed car and house windows, disabled alarm systems, and even ripped out safes containing jewellery, Aviva said.

Rupert Damms, head of risk management north for Aviva, said: “Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to surprise a loved one with precious jewels, but with jewellery theft on the rise across the UK, protecting yourself and your valuables has never been more important.

“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.”

Locking the door
Aviva urged people to make sure they lock their doors and windows (Alamy/PA)

Here are Aviva’s tips for keeping jewellery safe:

Buy 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 policies that provide enough cover. Some people 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 help ensure pieces are appropriately insured. Documenting jewellery with photographs and paperwork, including watch serial numbers, can help insurance claims and possible recovery of items.

Be discreet and vigilant when wearing jewellery. Opportunistic thieves can strike at any time. 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.

Check your jewellery for wear and tear. Loose stones, worn settings or damaged clasps could result in lost or broken 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.