How to make sure you're protected if the worst happens to your ring

We've all heard the horror stories about a ring down the garbage disposal, but have no fear! There are ways to protect your shiny new bling from damage, loss or theft. We're here to give you the lowdown on all things ring insurance.

“Engagement rings and wedding bands are typically one of the most valuable items of jewelry couples are going to purchase,” says Theresa Capace, manager of Worthington Jewelers. Insuring these pieces can financially protect you from almost any kind of loss or damage.

When it comes to setting up your policy, you have two basic options: a rider on your homeowner's or renter's insurance or a personal articles policy. Which one you go with will depend on the value of the ring.

Your homeowner's or renter's insurance will cover a percentage of personal property, which includes jewelry. But because it's only a percentage, there's a maximum dollar amount on how much they will reimburse. If your ring is valued at more than the maximum on your policy, you should consider insuring it under its own policy through a dedicated insurer like Jewelers Mutual.

And it's never too soon to get your ring insured. “When someone is picking up their ring,” says Capace, “we tell them to contact their insurance agent right away.” If you're picking up a ring but don't plan to propose right away, you may want to get a temporary policy through your homeowner's or renter's insurance—even if you plan to insure it through a dedicated company after giving it to your sweetie.

Before you purchase insurance, you'll need to have your ring appraised. Usually, an appraisal will directly follow your purchase and, as Worthington Jewelers' gemologist Vickie Warnecke says, it should include everything from how the ring was made to the specific value of the ring at the time and place of purchase.

Over the years, you'll also need to have your ring reappraised. Most insurance companies will suggest having your ring reappraised every two to five years—some may even require it and send reminders—but some scenarios might require an early reappraisal. Switching insurance companies and moving to a new area (because a ring's value often depends on where you live) are two such examples.