Contents insurance for your home covers your belongings including furniture, mattresses, carpets, white goods and electrical equipment, and clothes and wearable items such as your watch.
It may require that you list your watch separately to the other items on your policy, if it’s a particularly high-value piece - worth above, say, £2,000.
You’ll also need to check if your policy includes cover for accidental damage and specific protection for when you’re wearing it outside of your home. Some insurers will also provide cover for while you’re on holiday.
Whether you own a precious timepiece, or are simply prone to losing your possessions, it’s worth checking that one, your watch is adequately covered under your home insurance if it’s high in value, and two, in what circumstances it’s covered.
Check your home insurance policy
You only need to tell your insurer about your watch - or any other item of jewellery, work of art or collectible - if it is worth more than your policies ‘single item limit’.
This will be stated on the policy documents and is typically £1,500-£2,000. Below this amount, you don’t need to mention any possessions, but if you own something worth more, you’ll need to list it so your insurance company can set its premiums accordingly.
If you’re not sure how much your watch is worth - perhaps it was a gift or an heirloom, or it’s been a while since you bought it - a jeweller will be able to give you a valuation. It’s worth keeping an eye on the piece’s value so you can adjust the listing accordingly.
If, for example, your watch is covered up to a single-item limit of £2,000 but its value has increased to £2,500 and you make a claim for it, your insurer will only pay out £2,000. You will end up having to cover the £500 difference to replace it.
Types of cover for my watch
Your policy will likely cover your watch if your home is burgled and it’s stolen,or if it’s damaged by flooding or fire in your home. It may also include the following cover, or it may be offered at an additional cost:
Accidental damage: pays out should you unintentionally crack the face of your watch or drop it in water, for example (if it’s not waterproof, of course). It also covers your watch if it’s damaged in your garden and if you’re moving house and it’s damaged in transit - so long as it’s in a professional removals vehicle
Personal possessions: covers the damage, loss or theft of your watch while you’re wearing it when you’re away from your property. Depending on the insurer, this can also extend to while you’re on holiday, in which case there will be a limit of typically 60 days of cover abroad, per year.
New for old vs indemnity
Your home insurance provider will cover your watch in one of two ways.
‘New for old’ cover means if you claim for a damaged, lost or stolen watch, it will pay out for a brand-new replacement of equivalent value. Most policies are arranged on this basis.
‘Indemnity’ cover pays out the value of your watch taking into account wear and tear and general usage. This could end up being less than what you paid for it.
Indemnity cover is often cheaper so you’ll have to weigh up cost against payout when choosing what type of cover to buy.
Compulsory and voluntary excesses
The majority of home insurance policies have two types of ‘excess’ - a ‘compulsory’ (sometimes called ‘mandatory’) one and a ‘voluntary’ one.
An excess - or deductible - is the amount you are required to contribute towards the cost of any claim you make. The idea is to prevent people making claims for small sums, which would be administratively expensive, and also to keep a lid on premiums by reducing the total paid out by the insurance company.
The compulsory element will probably be in the range of £100 - £200. If you volunteer to pay a second excess, this could be anything from £50 - £300, with higher excesses leading to bigger premium reductions - but, in the event of a claim, a smaller pay-out.
When buying online, you can toggle between different excess levels to see how they affect your premium.
Cutting the cost of cover
Paying for accidental damage cover and/or personal possessions cover if it’s not already included in your policy would be a relatively small outlay compared to how much it would cost to replace your watch if it were uninsured, but it may still be off-putting or unfeasible for some.
However, there are ways everyone can cut the cost of their policy. As mentioned above, you can opt to pay more in excess should you claim, in order to lower your premiums. Also, insurers view homes with fitted alarm systems and other security measures as lower risk, and reward this with lower premiums.
Paying your premium in full at the start of your policy term is often cheaper than paying by monthly instalments.
How to find the best deals
The easiest way to find the best deals is to use a comparison site. Answer a few questions, and it will show you the cheapest home contents insurance quotes available on the market, based on your specific requirements.