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Apple Watch Protection: Is Insurance Worth It?

Have you thought about insuring your Apple Watch? Here's what you need to know about your options.

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Katie Teague Writer II
Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
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Katie Teague
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Apple Watch Series 8
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If you're a new Apple Watch owner, you're likely doing your best to not scratch, break or lose the device. But once the newness wears off and you let your guard down, that miniature iPhone you wear on your wrist can quickly become a victim to every object you accidentally swing your arm into, resulting in all kinds of damage, such as a cracked screen. 

When you're already paying between $400 and $800 for an Apple Watch, you may be hesitant to pay even more for an extended warranty or insurance. And even though your watch comes with a limited one-year warranty, it won't cover an accidental broken screen. For that kind of repair, you'll need insurance.

Below, we've compared the costs of getting your Apple Watch repaired with and without insurance to help you decide which type of insurance -- if any -- is best for you, from AppleCare and insurance from your phone carrier like Verizon to an insurer such as Asurion to even your credit card company. For more, here's our take on the new iPhone 15 and the new Pixel 8.

Read more: Is Your Phone's 1-Year Warranty Really Enough?

Apple warranty vs. insurance: What's the difference?

Apple includes a limited one-year warranty with each Apple hardware product you buy, and that includes the Apple Watch. With as many as 200 million watches sold, according to some estimates, that's a lot of warranties. 

However, that free warranty only covers "defects in materials and workmanship." Here's what's not covered. 

  • Batteries or protective coatings.
  • Cosmetic damage, including dents and broken plastic on ports.
  • Damage caused by accident, abuse, misuse, fire, earthquake or other external causes.
  • Defects caused by normal wear and tear.
  • Loss or theft.

If you don't have insurance, for those kinds of repairs you're on your own. If you do purchase insurance -- whether through Apple or a third-party insurer -- all of the above is generally covered for your Apple Watch with the exception of loss or theft. You can find coverage for loss and theft too.

Apple Watch Ultra cellular waypoint
Celso Bulgatti/CNET

Out-of-pocket repair costs without insurance for an Apple Watch

Apple Watches aren't cheap, and neither are the repairs -- and repair prices can vary, depending on which model you have. For instance, a repair on an Apple Watch Ultra may run you $499, while an Apple Watch Series 8 repair could cost you $299.

If you're wondering about the cost of fixing a cracked screen, for example, you can get a repair estimate from Apple. You'll need to know the exact type of Apple Watch you have, like the Apple Watch Series 9 GPS Aluminum 41mm, for example. 

Apple Watch repair costs with AppleCare Plus

You can expect to pay several hundred dollars to repair your Apple Watch without insurance, but if you purchase AppleCare Plus -- Apple's extended warranty and tech support service that covers accidental damage-- the cost goes down significantly. 

Note, in most regions and countries you need to buy Apple's extended warranty within 60 days of your Apple Watch purchase. The purchase period can vary from seven days to a year, depending on where you live, so check your region's specific time frame.

Here's how much AppleCare Plus coverage costs for each Apple Watch model.

  • Apple Watch Ultra 2: $5 a month
  • Apple Watch Series 9: $4 a month, with an option to pay $79 total for two years
  • Apple Watch SE: $2.49 a month, with an option to pay $49 total for two years
  • Apple Watch Hermès: $5 a month, with an option to pay $149 total for three years

With AppleCare Plus, you'll also pay a $69 or a $79 service fee for a repair, depending on the watch model you have. 

  • Apple Watch: $69 
  • Apple Watch Nike: $69
  • Apple Watch Ultra: $79
  • Apple Watch Edition: $79
  • Apple Watch Hermès: $79

Apple Watch repair costs with third-party insurance

If you are looking for something beyond AppleCare, you can look at coverage through an insurer. While some offer protection like you'd get with AppleCare Plus, others have broader plans that cover all the tech you have in your home or apartment. 

Just for the watch insurance, Allstate, for example, offers protection plans through retailers based on the cost of the watch that cover accidental damage but not loss or theft. If you shop at Sam's Club, for example, you can get two years of protection for $60 for an Apple Watch that costs less than $400, with no deductible. 

Instead of insurance specifically for your watch, Asurion offers coverage for your entire collection of in-home tech -- including your TV, laptop, gaming console, security cameras and your Apple Watch -- called Home Plus. Costing $12 a month for the first three months and then $25 each month after, the plan covers repair or replacement (up to $2,000 per claim) with a $99 service fee. 

Note, loss and theft aren't covered, but your homeowner's or renter's insurance may cover that. You also can't include your phone in there. For that you'll want to check out Asurion's phone insurance, which you can get for $5 a month for the first three months and then $10 each month after.

apple-watch-series-9-5
Rich Peterson/CNET

Apple Watch repair and replacement through phone carrier protection

Your cell phone carrier may also offer Apple Watch insurance. Verizon, for example, has its Mobile Protect plan that goes for $14 to $17 a month and offers free screen replacement and free watch replacement for manufacturing defects. The plan has $99 deductible for loss or theft. 

AT&T also offers watch insurance and lets you insure one device for $14 or $17 a month or bundle up to four devices -- including a watch, phone, laptop or tablet -- for $45 a month as part of its Protect Advantage. As with Verizon, in addition to accidental damage, the plan covers loss and theft.

Do credit cards provide insurance?

Some credit card companies offer additional protection and insurance on new purchases made with their card. For instance, some offer protection that insures your new purchases against damage and theft for up to 120 days. If something happens within that time, you can file a claim with your credit card issuer to get the item replaced or reimbursed.

It's a good idea to check with your credit card issuer to see if they offer protection before you make the purchase.

Editor's note: CNET and Asurion have an advertising partnership. This story is editorially independent from that relationship.