What You Need to Know About Your Appraisal

Expensive diamond engagement and messing ring.

When it comes to your cherished possessions, appraisals are important. But did you know you need to appraise your appraisal? In other words, for your broker to properly assist you in the event of theft, damage or mysterious disappearance, your appraisal must meet certain requirements.

By asking for an appraisal for your jewellery, fine art, precious metals and other valuables in the first place, you’re already off to a great start. However, you must be sure your appraisal is up to industry standards.

Is Your Appraiser Qualified?

Qualified appraisers provide proof of experience and training, both generally and within the category of the item. It’s important your appraiser be a member of recognized personal property associations—the International Society of Appraisers (ISA) for example. For recommendations on qualified appraisers, contact one of our brokers.

The Building Blocks of a Proper Appraisal

The reason for having an appraisal is to determine what we call “retail replacement value.” This number represents the maximum amount required for replacement. It’s determined by a variety of factors, including age, quality, origin, appearance and condition.

The value of your art, collectibles, jewellery and other valuables is subject to change. That means your broker must rely on qualified experts—art appraisers, gemologists or goldsmiths for example—for an accurate estimate.

Your appraisal must be typewritten, signed and include the following information:

  • Your name and address
  • Date
  • Appraisal purpose—is it for donation, estate, insurance purchases, etc?
  • Type of evaluation—replacement or fair market value?
  • Market of valuation—Canadian or US dollars?
  • Appraiser’s statement of qualifications
  • Statement of physical inspection and method for determining value— including description, cut, clarity, size, weight, etc.
  • Statement of belief in authenticity.

Protect your high value items: Learn more about adding a Personal Articles Floater.

Is Your Appraisal Up To Date?

Appraisals must be updated regularly and for good reason: the possibility of your possessions increasing in value. A ten-year-old appraisal might only pay out 20 percent of the current market value of the appraisal. Ideally, jewellery appraisals should be updated every two or three years and all appraisals should be updated at least every five years to ensure that values are not over or understated.
A qualified appraiser will offer an impartial and professional market analysis and opinion of value. That way, you can be confident knowing that should your treasured property be lost, stolen or damaged, your insurance company will accept your appraisal and you won’t need to scramble for a new one.