Gadget Insurance Guide

Read our impartial guide to find out the questions you need answers for before you buy a gadget insurance policy

Gadgets, gadgets everywhere - from smartphones to tablets, MP3 players to cameras - modern life is surrounded by gadgetary of all kinds - but what do you do when your trusty tech gets lost, damaged or stolen.

Which gadgets should I insure?

The answer is quite simple - the gadgets you can't live without, be it personally, financially or professionally. With a host of individual and multi-gadget insurance policies available across the market at a range of prices, protection for everyone and everything is available at a price that suits you.

Things to consider:

  • Are your gadgets covered by your home contents insurance policy? You don't want to spend money unnecessarily if you already have your digital devices covered, so check out your home contents policy to find out if they are protected. The important point to note is that while they may indeed be covered, they may not be covered outside the home or in the hands of younger family members. They probably won't be covered for mechanical breakdowns and malfunctions, either. So if this is a concern you'll want to consider getting alternative protection.
  • Are they protected away from home? What is the excess? How many are covered on the policy and how much for? These are all things to examine carefully before deciding to take out individual gadget insurance.
  • If you are using your gadgets abroad, does your travel insurance protect them? Check the excess and how much they are insured for. Is there a limit to how many are protected on each policy? Would you be covered if your laptop was damaged in your luggage? How about children travelling alone on school trips? They all take mobile phones and tablets these days - are they protected should they damage them while on their trip? Again, these are policy details you should check before deciding to take out gadget insurance.
  • You may be covered already with inclusive insurance with a packaged bank account or certain credit cards - again, check this out before taking out stand alone gadget insurance, as doubling up on insurance can lead to lots of complications should you need to make a claim. Doubling up on insurance doesn't mean double the pay-out, it can mean double the administrative headache.

If I'm offered insurance when I purchase the gadget, should I take it?

Buying insurance off the retailer isn't always the cheapest and best way to protect your gadgets, that's why we created Protect Your Gadget, so consumers can see the difference in price and quality of insurance policies before deciding which one to go for. Buying a stand alone policy from a retailer might cost you more if you also need to insure the rest of the family's devices. As with all insurance products the message is, shop around, look at the options, the differences in policies and prices and buy one that suits you and your needs.

Our top tip is always check the policy documentation to see what's included in the policy. The last thing you want is to find out you're not covered for theft when you try and make a claim after your gadget has been lost or stolen.

Things to look out for when buying a policy

Excesses
An excess is the contribution you are asked to make towards a claim. There may be different excesses for different types of claim, so check the policy summary to see what they are (we make this information really clear on our policy details pages).

14-day exclusion period
While some policies provide instant cover, others stipulate that you can't make a claim for the first 14 days after your policy starts. Again, this is something we highlight on the quote page and policy details pages.

Purchased in the UK
Some insurers will only insure UK purchased devices, so if you got a bargain on your business trip to the States, you may find you can't get cover for it.

Purchased from auction sites
Gadget insurers stipulate that the device must have been purchased either as new from a manufacturer, network provider or retail outlet (high street or online) OR refurbished and directly from a manufacturer or network provider. If you do make a claim you will almost certainly be asked for details.

Wear and tear
Policies won't pay out for normal wear and tear, or cosmetic damage like scratches.

Virus damage
If your system gets wiped out by a virus, you won't be able to claim to get the damage repaired, or for any other loss relating to the virus.

It's not all about insurance...

For most people the most valuable thing about their device is not the physical device itself but the data that's on it.

Protecting this needn't cost you any money at all.

Ensure that you frequently back up your music, files, photos, videos, contacts and other data. Consider cloud storage options for your data as well as physical backups such as home computers or hard disk drives.

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