An Easier Way to Insure That Watch

An Easier Way to Insure That Watch


You just got a new Rolex or Audemars Piguet. The last thing on your mind: watch insurance.

Too much hassle, right?

Maybe not anymore. The team at Hodinkee, a premiere online source of watch news and timepiece reviews, is branching out. As of Thursday, it is adding insurance to its expanding list of watch-related services. Unlike other insurers, Hodinkee will insure only watches and will offer an almost immediate price for coverage.

Eneuri Acosta, the company’s chief operating officer, said the idea for the digital offering was born about three years ago, when his team realized “there’s really no way of insuring a watch that feels convenient.”

“If you’ve looked at adding personal articles to your homeowners’ policy, you have to call your agent, find an appraiser, get an appraisal, send it to your agent, who has to validate it,” Mr. Acosta added. “It becomes this drawn-out process.”

Hodinkee Insurance will operate on an online platform built for the company by its underwriter, Chubb Corporation, a division of the global insurance provider, with headquarters in Warren, N.J. A potential policyholder will be asked to enter basic contact information and details of the watch and add photographs, then will receive quotes on the spot. (For now, eligibility is limited to people with U.S. addresses.)

Theft, loss and damage would be covered worldwide, to the limits of a policy — so such calamities would be covered even if the insured owner was traveling outside the United States. There are no deductibles.

Premiums will vary, based on conditions like the customer’s previous insurance history and residential location, and the total value of the watch being insured (which, in the case of Hodinkee Insurance, will be determined by the user, with Hodinkee’s review).

A New Jersey resident, for example, could expect to pay around $1,100 a year to insure $60,000 worth of timepieces.

The company’s depth of knowledge in the watch category, particularly regarding questions of value, distinguishes Hodinkee from many traditional insurers. “If you bought a Rolex Daytona and the retail was $12,000, but on the secondary market it’s $25,000, you insure it for $25,000 because if you lose it, that’s what you’ll want for it,” Mr. Acosta said.

Allowing customers that kind of flexibility — including offering as much as 150 percent of the value of the watch, up to the policy limit, should the timepiece’s value appreciate — “shows they understand the market,” said Roberto Chiappelloni, owner of Manfredi Jewels, based in Greenwich, Conn.

Currently, the most common way to insure a watch is adding it to an existing homeowner’s or renter’s policy. But Bryan Howard, director of product and risk management at Jewelers Mutual, a Neenah, Wis.-based insurance company that focuses exclusively on jewelry and watches, urges consumers to think twice.

“There have been instances where customers have lost their home insurance policy because they’ve had too many losses” on additional items, such as fine art or jewelry, he said.

Additionally, many homeowners aren’t educated about the finer points of their coverage, said Alon Ben Joseph, managing director of Ace & Dik Jewelers in Amsterdam.

“Most customers have a preconception they’re covered under their home insurance if they are traveling,” he said. “I tell them to check their papers.”



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