The ULTIMATE luxury watch insurance guide

Luxury watches are usually cherished items which have both monetary and sentimental value.

While some rare or luxury timepieces are irreplaceable, having the right watch insurance will ensure you’re compensated financially should it be stolen, damaged or lost.

Properly protecting your investment should allow you to relax in the knowledge that your assets are safe and secure.

What is luxury watch insurance?

Luxury watch insurance provides worldwide cover for the current market value of your timepiece in case it becomes lost, stolen or accidentally damaged.

If you own an expensive watch – such as a Cartier, Hublot, Rolex or Tag Heuer – this cover will prevent you from being out of pocket should the worst happen.

Why do you need cover?

Eye-catching, easy to sell-on and difficult to trace. It’s no wonder luxury watches have always been desirable items for thieves.

In recent years, the growing trend for luxury watches has, unfortunately, led to an increase in watch crime.

According to the Metropolitan Police, this is because of increased awareness about the value of certain brands and the fact there are now many more dealers specialising in pre-owned models.

Thankfully, the Police are fighting back by urging owners to use the Watch Register to deter ruthless thieves from snatching expensive items and selling them on.

Sadly, watch crime can sometimes result in aggravated theft. Should you ever be faced with this difficult situation, the Police’s advice is to put your safety first, hand over your watch and then dial 999. A Rolex is replaceable, your life is not.

As well as the risk of theft, owners also face the constant threat of accidental damage or loss.

No matter what hobbies or past-times you enjoy, bespoke watch insurance allows you to relax safe in the knowledge that your asset is safe and secure.

One of many luxury watches available from Cartier

Which luxury watches need bespoke cover?

If you own a watch which is worth a relatively modest amount (less than £1,500) it should be covered on most home contents insurance policies as standard.

However, problems may begin to arise if you decide to add more watches to your collection. Acquiring watches is addictive and two watches worth under £3,000 can quickly grow into a five-figure collection.

A typical contents insurance policy usually provides cover for belongings up to a specific limit selected by the policyholder, such as £50,000. In the event of a claim needing to be made, this is the maximum amount you could recoup.

Although luxury watches can be included on a home contents policy from a standard market insurer, maximum claim limits usually apply and expensive items (like a ring or expensive watch) need to be listed individually. This is often inconvenient, and not appropriate, for people with high-value items or those who like to frequently acquire precious timepieces.

A tailored jewellery and watch policy from N&R is designed with your lifestyle in mind. It will automatically protect timepieces which have been purchased, gifted or inherited – and also provide comprehensive cover for single high-value items, such as diamond engagement rings or necklaces.

Do I need a specialist watch insurance or should I improve my home contents policy?

Never assume that your cherished luxury watch is adequately protected by a home contents insurance policy.

If you do, you may have to learn the hard way that you’re not protected in the way you expected – and needed – to be.

Some contents policies automatically provide cover for jewellery and watches, whilst some do not.

Some providers won’t cover watches when they’re away from your home. Or accidental damage cover is only offered as an optional extra for watches.

According to insurance industry data, watches are the highest single-value item listed when trying to obtain a quote for home contents insurance.

If you own a luxury watch or collection which is of higher than average value, we would advise arranging cover tailored to your exact requirements.

At Nowell & Richards, we listen and take into account your lifestyle so that we can tailor the most appropriate protection no matter where you are in the world.

In our experience, people are surprised to find it’s often more cost-effective to insure their luxury watch or collection as part of an insurance ‘portfolio’ – a service which cannot be offered by comparison websites or standard market insurers.

By packaging your car, home, jewellery and watch insurance into one ‘portfolio’ policy we might be able to reduce the amount you pay in premiums because you benefit from better economies of scale. Rather than having three separate policies with different insurers, you have one policy with one renewal date and one premium to pay.

Even if you only own a few ‘entry-level’ luxury watches, get in touch to see if we can deliver better value for money than your current insurer.

Where will my watch be protected?

If you own a luxury watch, we know you’ll want to wear it proudly and enjoy it.

You don’t want to keep it locked in a safe or stored away where it cannot be admired.

Unfortunately, some standard market insurers will only provide cover for expensive watches when they’re in the home.

If you’re a watch connoisseur, a policy of this nature is bordering on pointless.

At Nowell & Richards, we can protect your high-value watch no matter where you are in the world – and no matter what you’re doing.

Our high net-worth clients routinely wear a watch which cost more than a Porsche. They may even combine it with other jewellery worth a substantial five or six-figure sum.

Arrange a comprehensive jewellery and watch insurance policy with us and you’ll be 100% protected against any loss or theft with no upper limit. You’ll also be covered for accidental damage, should a valuable gem become lost.

Why is a watch’s current market value so important?

In order to obtain the right level of watch insurance cover, it’s important know its current market value.

The luxury watch market has provided solid investment returns for a number of years and, because these items can appreciate in value, it’s vital to have an insurance policy which insulates the value of your assets. 

If your Rolex Daytona (pictured above) was last valued at £8,000 more than 10 years ago, it could now be worth around £12,000 to £15,000. But if you haven’t told them otherwise, a standard market insurer would only pay out for the original valuation in the event of a claim.

As an independent broker, Nowell & Richards only deal with specialist insurers who understand this unique market, providing agreed and extended replacement values for pre-owned vintage or brand-new luxury watches as standard.

This approach allows us to always be 100% accurate with our valuations, meaning you benefit from comprehensive cover without overpaying for your insurance.

Our luxury jewellery and watch insurance can provide cover for major brands such as Breitling, Cartier, IWC, Jaeger LeCoultre, Maurice Lacroix, Omega, Patek Philippe, Rolex, TAG Heuer and many more.

Obtaining a professional valuation does provide automatic proof of provenance, value and ownership if you do need to make a claim.

It’s also sensible to get your luxury watch appraised by an NAJ-accredited jeweller every couple of years as many insurers will automatically uplift cover to 150% of this value to protect against market changes.

At Nowell & Richards, we take advice from independent valuation experts before arranging any a policy – to avoid the disappointment of under-insurance should a claim need to be made.

Can regular servicing lower my premium?

Before taking out insurance for a luxury watch or rare timepiece, it’s often a good idea to get it serviced.

Every high-quality watch should undergo regular servicing because this ensures its mechanisms are working correctly and can help to maintain a manufacturers’ warranty.

The cost of replacing a manufacturer-signed rubber, leather or mesh strap is quickly approaching the overall value of some luxury watches, such as Carl F. Bucherer’s Patravi Scubatec (pictured above). Regular servicing can ensure the original straps and clasps are not damaged or worn.

Reassuringly, most insurers don’t mind if watches are worn on aftermarket leather as long as the strap is deemed to be in a good condition.

When weighing up the pros and cons of regular servicing, think of it as a way to complement your insurance by reducing the likelihood of claim and, subsequently, your annual premium.

If you lose a Rolex Cosmograph because the bracelet failed, having the right insurance will help you buy another one. Unfortunately, it won’t cover the sentimental value attached to the timepiece if it was bought for a special birthday.

Conclusion – Wear your watch with pride

Rare and luxury watches are meant to be worn and enjoyed as part of your way of life.

At Nowell & Richards, we believe the best watch insurance is tailored to your lifestyle and wearing habits. It should not force you to change them.

We like watch collections to be worn, rather than hidden away, because it helps to negate and spread the risks between different locations and wrists.

If you own a rare or luxury watch, don’t think of insurance as a boring essential that you hope you’ll never need. Consider it an investment which protects a major asset.

Should a crisis occur, you can guarantee it will be worth every penny.

Find out more about our jewellery and watch insurance, get in touch or call 01785 255514 for a free quote.

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