By | November 13, 2023
Apple Watch Ultra cellular waypoint

If you’re a new Apple Watch owner, you’re probably doing your best not to scratch, break, or drop the device. But once the novelty wears off and you let your guard down, that miniature iPhone you carry on your wrist can quickly fall victim to any 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 might be hesitant to pay even more for an extended warranty or insurance. And while your watch comes with a limited one-year warranty, it doesn’t cover an accidental broken screen. For those types of repairs, you need insurance.

Below, we’ve compared the costs of getting your Apple Watch repaired with and without insurance to help you decide what type of insurance — if any — is best for you, from AppleCare and insurance from your phone carrier like Verizon to an insurer like 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 one-year limited warranty with every Apple hardware product you buy, and that includes the Apple Watch. With as many as 200 million watches sold, by some estimates, that’s a lot of guarantees.

However, the 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, misuse, abuse, fire, earthquake or other external causes.
  • Defects caused by normal wear and tear.
  • Loss or theft.

If you don’t have insurance, you’re on your own for those types of repairs. If you purchase insurance – whether through Apple or a third-party insurance policy – ​​all of the above will generally be covered for your Apple Watch with the exception of loss or theft. You can also get cover for loss and theft.

Apple Watch Ultra cellular waypoint

Celso Bulgatti/CNET

Repair costs without insurance for an Apple Watch

Apple Watches aren’t cheap, and neither are repairs — and repair prices can vary depending on which model you have. For example, an Apple Watch Ultra repair could cost you $499, while an Apple Watch Series 8 repair could cost you $299.

If you’re wondering about the cost of fixing, say, a cracked screen, you can get a repair estimate from Apple. You need to know exactly what type of Apple Watch you have, such as the Apple Watch Series 9 GPS Aluminum 41mm.

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 technical support service that covers accidental damage — the cost drops significantly.

Please note, in most regions and countries, you must purchase 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 the option to pay $79 total for two years
  • Apple Watch SE: $2.49 a month, with the option to pay $49 total for two years
  • Apple Watch Hermès: $5 a month, with the option to pay $149 total over three years

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

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

Apple Watch repair costs with third-party insurance

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

For watch-only insurance, for example, Allstate offers protection plans through dealers based on the cost of the watch that cover accidental damage but not loss or theft. For example, if you shop at Sam’s Club, you can get two years of coverage for $60 on 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 technology in the home – including your TV, laptop, games console, security cameras and your Apple Watch – called Home Plus. The plan costs $12 a month for the first three months, then $25 every month after that. The plan covers repair or replacement (up to $2,000 per claim) with a $99 service fee.

Note, loss and theft is not covered, but your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance may cover it. You also can’t include your phone 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 every month after that.

apple-watch-series-9-5 apple-watch-series-9-5

Rich Peterson/CNET

Repair and replacement of Apple Watch by phone carrier protection

Your 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 a $99 deductible for loss or theft.

AT&T also offers watch insurance, letting 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 example, 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 refunded.

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

Editor’s Note: CNET and Asurion have an advertising partnership. This story is editorially independent of that relationship.

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