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Gadget Insurance Guide
Gadget insurance is typically specifically designed to provide coverage for expensive electronic items such as laptop computers, tablets, and smart phones. These items aren’t necessarily covered by home contents insurance under all circumstances, so it might be necessary to buy separate insurance to make sure they’re protected from loss and damage.
Does standard home insurance cover gadgets?
A standard home contents insurance policy might cover items such as laptops, tablets, and other electronic gadgets up to a certain value when they're in a home. However, there are some potential issues that could mean that this standard insurance won’t provide adequate protection for gadgets under all circumstances.
First, these gadgets are items that people often take with them when they go out. Smart phones, tablets, and laptops are all items that people regularly take with them when they go to work, for instance. Many people take their smart phone or tablet everywhere they go. The problem is, standard contents insurance doesn’t necessarily cover any items once they leave the home. As soon as a person takes their smart phone or tablet outside their property, it’s likely to be no longer covered by a standard contents policy.
Another potential problem is that a contents policy claims limit might not be enough to cover an expensive item such as a laptop or portable games console. This depends on the insurance, and the electronic items that a person owns, of course. It’s possible to extend the claims limit to ensure coverage, but still, the items won’t necessarily be covered when they’re taken out of the house.
What does gadget insurance cover?
Gadget insurance may take up where standard contents insurance stops: it could provide coverage for electronic gadgets when a person takes them out of the home. Since someone purchasing the insurance to cover a specific range of designated items, it usually covers the full cost of the items to insure. Even so, most gadget insurance policies do have a claims limit, so if someone intends to insure a particularly expensive item such as a top-end laptop or tablet, they might want to check whether there’s a limit, and how much it is.
This kind of insurance could cover electronic gadgets against theft and loss from most locations in or out of the home. In addition accidental damage and breakdown could typically be covered by standard gadget insurance. For instance, damage caused by spilling liquid on the item, or a mechanical breakdown, is likely covered by the insurance if it happens after the item’s warranty period expires. Note that not all forms of accidental damage are necessarily covered; for example, some policies don’t cover screen cracks, while some do. In addition, less expensive policies don’t always cover mechanical breakdown, so it’s important to check what specific kinds of damage are insured.
Some policies might provide coverage for the user’s e-wallet or digital wallet account on a laptop, tablet, or smart phone. These accounts are a way to pay for online purchases; however if the laptop is lost or stolen, the e-wallet might be abused by whomever has the laptop. This insurance could cover purchases made fraudulently using the e-wallet. This coverage isn’t always included as standard, so if someone wants e-wallet protection they may want to make sure to check if it’s included or if they have to pay extra for it.
For overseas coverage, some policies may limit the amount of time gadgets are insured for if they are taken out of the country. If someone travels overseas regularly, they may want to opt for a policy that provides permanent overseas coverage.
Camcorders and digital cameras may also be covered by gadget insurance. Note that some insurance policies don’t cover these items when they’re used professionally. If a person is insuring an item that they use for work purposes make sure to check that they're covered, and notify the insurance company just to be sure.
How to compare gadget insurance policies
- The terms and conditions of gadget insurance could vary depending on the insurance provider and the specific policy, so it’s usually important to compare gadget or tablet insurance to make sure a person is getting the kind of coverage they need. This includes policies anywhere in the UK, including gadget insurance in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, as well as England.
- Compare the excess as well as the premium. The excess is often the amount paid on a claim before the insurance kicks in, and generally the lower the excess, the higher the premium.
- Some policies may charge a higher excess for certain kinds of insured events. For instance, loss or theft of a gadget might incur a higher excess.
- Look at whether there are any locations or activities that aren’t covered.
- Look for circumstances that might invalidate the policy. For instance, many gadget policies are invalidated if the policyholder doesn’t report loss or theft within a defined period of time. In addition, in some cases a policy might be invalidated if a gadget is stolen while it’s left unattended.
- Some policies might exclude older items; for instance, if the item is more than 6 to 12 months old some providers won’t insure them.
- Check what kinds of damage are covered. For example, check coverage for accidental spills, screen cracks, and mechanical breakdown.
- If a person travels often or are planning to travel in the future, they could look at whether overseas coverage is included. For UK residents gadget insurance might provide coverage for NI, Wales, and Scotland in addition to England, but won’t necessarily cover Europe and other locations abroad.