The Importance of The Small Print

What happens when you think you’ve done everything right, you’ve paid your premiums, your claim is valid and yet you are unable to replace your beloved items because of the small print?

That’s exactly what my client had done.

His jewellery and watches were insured to the right amount. His valuation documentation was up to date. His beloved Rolex was insured up to a full replacement amount. He felt relieved. He knew that should the worst happen and the watch get stolen or damaged, he could replace it with the same model.

Then the worst did happen. His Rolex was stolen whilst on holiday. He claimed.

He cannot get a new Rolex to replace the old one and there is nothing he can do about it.

I am seeing this more and more often and the devil is in the detail of the insurance company’s small print.

“Preferred supplier”

That one phrase (or something similar) causes my client and hundreds of people every year a really big problem.

This is how it works:

You make a claim and you’re either given a voucher card, payment card that can be used at certain jewellers or you are simply sent in to a “preferred” supplier to replace your items. Sometimes this is not a problem, unless of course, the preferred supplier doesn’t have anything in stock that you like.

The other BIG issue is that when it comes to Rolex and other high-end watch brands, those preferred suppliers do not accept vouchers for Rolex watches (or other high-end brands such as Omega).

The reason?

It’s financial. The large discount they are contracted to give the insurance company to retain your business and to stay on their books as a “preferred supplier" means they would lose money due to the incredibly tight margins on Rolex. They simply cannot afford to do it.

So, you pay your premiums, you do everything right to ensure you can replace your items should the worst happen, but when you claim you find you cannot replace your items because of a monetary contract between your insurance company and a large jewellery company. A contract that benefits the jeweller and the insurance company. A set up that certainly does not benefit you.

So, what happens?

My client is stuck with vouchers he cannot spend. He can buy other jewellery or some other watch brands, none of which he wants.

He is up the creek without a paddle. Buggered. No leg to stand on….you get the picture.

And just to confirm - THERE IS NOTHING HE CAN DO ABOUT IT. It is what he signed up for - it was stated, as clear as day (or mud, according to your perspective) in his insurance documentation. In the small print.

So, please check the small print and if it doesn’t specifically talk about a cash settlement - call them up and ask the question, “what happens if I claim?”

If you are told you will be sent to their preferred supplier, then my advice would be to either ask for the policy to be changed, so you can instead claim a cash settlement and go to a jeweller or supplier of your own choice, or find another insurance company sharpish!

It boils my blood! Please - check your policy and get it amended or move to a different insurer.

If you want a recommendation, then I would speak to TH March, a specialist jewellery and watch insurance company. I have had to deal with them hundreds of times over the years and have always found them to be fair in their dealings with their clients.

Find out more about TH March