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Cash-for-gold sites blamed for rise in jewellery thefts

Gold jewelleryThe prominence of cash-for-gold services is thought to be playing a part in the rise in jewellery thefts, according to new research.

Jewellery thefts from the home increased by 22 per cent between 2009 and 2011, according to insurer Churchill.

The value of the items stolen over this period was up by almost 27 per cent.

The latest data from’s own database bears out this trend.'s data shows that households which own high-value jewellery saw burglary rates rise by more than 40 per cent between May 2010 and May 2012.

Cash for gold

The prominence of cash-for-gold services – which can allow burglars to sell on their swag more easily – is thought to be playing a part in the rise in jewellery thefts.

Martin Scott, head of Churchill home insurance, said: "We’re currently seeing an increase in both the overall number of jewellery claims and the number of jewellery items stolen within each claim, as the value of gold increases."

The gold price rose from just under £600 per troy ounce at the start of 2009 to almost double this amount – £1,127 – by last autumn, according to Churchill.

At the moment, the value is a little more than £1,000 an ounce.

At times of economic crisis, gold often rises in value as investors see it as a safe haven away from the turmoil of stock markets and the low returns on cash deposits.

But these price rises mean that any gold jewellery you have will also have increased in value.

Lack of cover

Scott says: "We estimate that 35-40 per cent of householders are underinsured on their jewellery items.

"We urge homeowners to check the current value of their jewellery on a regular basis, and to update their home contents insurance cover accordingly if the value of their gold has increased."

Scott added that policyholders should keep receipts or other proof of purchase on file in case they have to make a claim.

If you have not kept your home insurance policy up to date by increasing cover for these items, you could face a shortfall in the event of a theft.

Most insurers ask customers to specify any particularly valuable items – worth more than, say, £1,000 – on their contents policies. These will be covered at extra cost, but only for the originally agreed amount.

If they are stolen, any insurance payout would be unlikely to cover the full replacement cost.

'Check value regularly'

In some cases, rising gold prices may have pushed certain pieces of jewellery past the valuable-items cut-off point, meaning they are no longer covered at all.

Owners of high-value gold items should therefore check their valuations every year when they renew their policies or shop around for a new provider.

Churchill said that it had seen a fall in the theft of other items such as electrical goods.

Scott said: "As these goods decrease in value, thieves target higher-value items instead."