Why Record Gold Price Proves Good News for Burglars

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"The increase in companies offering to buy gold jewelry by mail allows criminals to sell stolen jewelry more easily."

Tens of thousands of households are "seriously under-insured" after the gold price has risen more than fivefold during the last decade, according to Britain's biggest friendly society.

Most contents policies set a maximum limit on any single valuable item of 1,000 a decade ago and the equivalent figure today is 1,500. While that may have kept pace with increased prices for some household goods, it has been left far behind by the soaring value of gold jewelry.

LV=, formerly known as Liverpool Victoria, which insures more than 1m homes, says 90% of theft claims now include stolen jewelry. A spokesman said: "We want householders to consider whether they have adequate cover before it is too late. This could mean something as simple as updating the valuable items part of your household policy. The increase in companies offering to buy gold jewelry by post could also have made it easier for criminals to sell this type of stolen property. Jewelry is certainly much more valuable now. For example, an 18-carat gold claim that would have cost 3,000 in 2001 would cost 14,000 now."

According to the Association of British Insurers, 80pc of households have contents cover and one in 10 make a claim in a typical year.

Cynics may suspect that insurers are merely trying to talk up demand for their services and the best course of action for householders is to do nothing. But after the boom in gold and jewelry prices during the last decade, the main beneficiaries of that point of view might be burglars.

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