Gadgets are now a part of our everyday life. The advancement of technology has not only made equipment more portable, but as a result many of us now carry hundreds if not thousands of pounds worth of tech around with us on a daily basis. Replacing your lost phone these days could cost you as much as a mid-range laptop – which is something else you may as be likely to lose or have stolen whilst out and about. Aside from that, you may be someone investing in the growing trend of specialist devices for pursuits such as running and cycling, no doubt none of it was cheap and would be a burden to replace should it be stolen or misplaced.
There are many different companies offering cover specifically for gadgets, however there are a number of other options to consider first:
Home Contents Insurance
If you have home contents insurance you may already be covered, so check your policy. If not contact your insurer for a quote, as most providers will offer this as an add-on (for a slight increase in your premium of course). You’ll essentially be looking to cover your personal items for accidental damage as well as theft outside of your property. Also check the other terms of the policy – many insurers pose a limit of say, £1000, for individual items. So if you’re carrying a particularly expensive camera around, you may not be adequately covered. The other thing to bear in mind is the cost of the excess fee in the event of a claim. If you’ve set a relatively high excess fee in order to keep your policy payments down, there would be no merit to claiming for cheaper gadgets.
Extending cover from other types of policy
Before deciding that you need standalone gadget insurance, you should also consider that you’ve not got a certain level of protection from any other policies you hold. For example, premium credit cards, bank account packages often contain free insurance as incentive. Just remember to check the small print, so you can decide if the coverage offered is enough for your situation. - Otherwise you may want to look at actual gadget insurance.
Dedicated Gadget Insurance
If you’ve read this far it probably means that you don’t have any cover as mentioned above, or that for whatever reason, you’ve decided to look into specific gadget insurance. Whilst having an individual policy means you won’t have to claim on your home insurance (and thus eventually have to pay more for your home insurance premiums- should you need to make a claim), they aren’t the cheapest option.
There are many specialist gadget insurers out there, and a quick query on your favourite search engine will bring up many results. Gadget insurance generally isn’t something offered by price comparison sites, so you’ll need to spend a bit more time researching each separately to make a decent comparison. If you’re buying your device from a shop, it’s likely that you will be offered extended insurance by the store. These types of policy are the worst value for money and should be avoided at all costs. As with anything of the sort, shop around, compare and scrutinise the details.
An adequate gadget insurance policy will cover you in the event of loss, theft and damage. Look for a policy which will have a turnaround time of 48 hours in the event of a successful claim. Check that the policies you’re considering offer a ‘new for old’ service, as many only offer inferior replacement cover. You’ll also want the cover to extend to protection such as spilled drinks and mechanical breakdown. The final thing to check is that you will be insured against loss - again this is something not often offered as standard, but you can usually add this as an optional extra for a small increase to the premium.
Bear in mind to cost of any excess fee which you’ll have to pay in the event of a claim, as these vary by provider. Typically you can expect a fee of £25 for smaller items, with this fee rising to around £75 for an iPhone, and £100 for a laptop.
Most policies won’t cover theft if it’s stolen from your car unless it was stored in a non-visible location such as the boot or glove box. Finally, these types of policy won’t cover the cost of routine maintenance, or cleaning, nor will you be able to make a claim should any of the fittings (such as buttons, knobs, aerials) need replacing
Remember, all electronic devices come with a standard manufacturer’s warranty of at least 12 months. Many companies offer the chance to extend the warranty with them upon registering your product for guarantee, and this is often worth looking into. If your gadget breaks down during the first 12 months (or within the specified manufacturer warranty period), and you have a separate policy for it, you should contact the manufacturer for support first, as most gadget insurance policies won’t take effect until the initial guarantee period has expired.