Regardless the value of your collection, if you are concerned with financial loss, we always recommend a good insurance policy. Even with all the tales of pieces gone missing, nearly 40% of survey respondents don’t carry watch insurance.
I am frankly surprised that so many collectors don’t insure their watches, or at least consider it. Perhaps people don’t have a sense for the costs and fear it will be exorbitant, or believe that it is just an pain in the backside in order to get a policy or update it. Urban myths, people. Specific to ease…it can be simple to add and remove watches from polices – no receipts/appraisals, no notary, no photos…just provide manufacturer, serial and value. What HODINKEE Insurance isn’t anything new – this simplicity has been available for ages. What they are doing, however, is giving watch insurance its due. And that, in my opinion, is a big plus.
Some ask what insurance carrier to consider, and there are a few that come up repeatedly specific to watch polices (and where item coverage is available):
– Chubb (underwriters for HODINKEE Insurance), such as the Chubb Masterpiece Valuable Articles policy
– Nationwide / Nationwide Private Client
– Jewelers Mutual
There are a couple of basic ways to insure your watches:
1. Personal articles/personal items/collection policy (this will specifically list pieces and value)
2. Blanket coverage
3. Renters/homeowners (blanket insurance for watches may or may not be included in this)
Policies range from the most basic, to full-blown covering while traveling, during servicing, and even when shipping (a nice feature so you don’t have to purchase additional insurance coverage from your shipper…you do service your watches, right?). You might be tempted to look at the cost of the policy as a % of the value of your watches, which is fine…but you may be comparing apples to oranges when looking across different insurance agencies, which have wildly different terms.
For each watch that is covered, you should have ALL SERIAL NUMBERS, photos, any details/description including unique characteristics such as personal engraving, original purchase information, and current estimate of value. And please…we hear stories of individuals who have pieces stolen at the time they have tried to sell them (either by robbery or in shipping), and they had cancelled their insurance on the piece before the transaction was finalized. Don’t do this!
It is beyond surprising to me how many watches are stolen and the owner does not know the a serial number – I see mid-single digit percentages of those who reported stolen watches to the police providing a serial number. Crazy.
Depending on your insurance provider, you may get a discount for keeping your watches in a safe deposit box or a home safe. In this case, there generally are minimum home safe requirements, such as the weight and/or how attached to your residence, and UL rating.