It is true that insurance is not the most exciting topic, but if you are a fan of technology then it is very, very important that you have it. Studies suggest that millennials – that’s the tech-buying generation – are harder to engage when it comes to insurance buying. Yet these are the people carrying the most expensive tech around with them, and are therefore the people who could benefit most from proper cover. We take a look at how to insure your gadgets, and help you find the best policies for your needs.
Why is insurance so important?
We have all experienced the trauma of losing a cell phone or tablet at some point. Whether the device is lost, stolen or damaged, being without your main device can put your whole life on hold – at least until you can pick up a replacement. Your numbers, photographs, game and app data, personal messages and more can be lost in an instant, and your main form of communication can be taken out of action. In short, it can be a disaster.
Insurance can’t replace the personal loss, but it can provide money with which to replace your device – and perhaps even recover your files. Many policies include things like Cloud storage with added protection, and managed backups are a form of insurance against digital losses. Having insurance can help you get a replacement far more quickly, and prevent financial hardship caused by the loss. Many people remember that they need contents insurance to protect home computers, televisions and other items, but cover for handheld gadgets is often overlooked.
Contents insurance versus item insurance
If you have home insurance, it will cover your building itself against damage. It might also include contents insurance, which means that all your furniture and other belongings is part of the policy. For contents insurance to be valid, you must keep your inventory up to date. This is a full list of the things in your home, including their brand, value and age.
While you are at home, contents insurance can also cover your cell phone, laptop, camera and other mobile gadgets. But what about when you leave the house? There are lots of options available for temporary cover, for individual item cover or for comprehensive personal insurance policies that cover all belongings.
There are also other ways to get your gadgets covered. Some credit card insurance policies can be extended to cover your cell phone, laptop and other portable gadgets. The same may be true of your personal insurance. Always check the fine print of your specific policies before taking out new cover – you might already be insured!
What kind of risks can be insured against?
There are lots of direct and indirect risks involved in gadget ownership, including:
- Accidental damage
- Damage/injury to third parties
- Natural disaster damage (fire, flood etc)
- Faults and breakdowns
- Cyber attacks and hacking
Different policies cover different things. They also provide cover up to different amounts. It is important to know how much your items are worth, and to buy cover up to the right amount.
Example pricing: As a guide, tech devices can be covered for around $1.99 each per month. This should provide around $300-$500 of cover. Of course, this varies depending on the device you have and on the age and value. If you have a few gadgets to insure, expect to pay around ten dollars each month.
What can be covered by insurance?
The simple answer is: basically anything. If something has a value and could be at risk, it is possible to insure it! Here are some common tech devices for which you may want to purchase extra cover:
- Cell phones
- Music players
- Drones and cameras
- Storage drives
- Satellite navigation systems
- Fitness wearables
This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you have a gadget that is dear to you and cost you a lot of money, play it safe and get it insured.
Choosing an insurance policy
Look for a reputable company online, and check out the reviews they have got. Comparison sites can also help you check prices. However, it is important that you choose the best policy for your needs – not the cheapest one. It is no good paying out every month for cover, only to find it is not suitable at a time when you need it. This is one area where you really do need to read the fine print, and understand what you are signing up for.
Some key areas to check thoroughly:
- The cost of the plan to you each month/year
- The actual cover amount provided, and what you may need to pay toward it
- The legitimate reasons for claiming included in your policy
That last one is very important. Some policies will cover just theft, leaving you out of pocket in the event of loss or damage. Others will only cover for loss if certain conditions are met – such as having a tracking device or other security measure installed. More still will include a wide range of scenarios, but neglect fire, flood and other natural disaster damage. You need to think about which risks you are likely to encounter, and choose a policy that covers them.
Renewing your insurance
Even if you have insurance, one area often forgotten is renewals. Insurance policies are rarely made to last forever. Instead, they have a set period – usually a year – and after this they should be renewed if the insurance is still needed. January is a good time to review your insurance policies, as many people receive tech devices as gifts over the festive season.
In terms of tech and gadgets, remembering to renew is very important. Some items, like gaming laptops and smart televisions, have a long shelf life than say, your mobile or tablet. However, all will decline steadily in value over just a few short years. As a result, the terms of your insurance should be regularly updated – and this is something people often forget. That iPhone may have been worth $700 when you picked it up brand new, but two years later it is likely to be worth just 10% of that figure. Your insurance will therefore be unable to pay out for a $700 replacement, and you may be paying too much for a policy that is essentially useless to you. Amending your insurance terms regularly means you pay for what you need, and have cover to the value you require.
If the worst happens and you do lose or break one of your prized gadgets, you will be grateful you took out insurance cover! But what do you do to claim? In the event of theft, you will need to report the incident at your local police station (NOT through the emergency line!) and get a reference number for your insurer. They may also want to see proof of ownership, such as a purchase receipt, if this was not requested when taking out the policy. Clams can be made via the telephone, online or through the postal service. Once filed and approved, you will be issued a monetary award towards fixing or replacing your device.
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