You’re pelting down the street in a mad rush to catch that bus that’s just pulling away from the stop and…disaster. Your brand new smartphone flies out of your pocket onto the pavement, the screen smashes and attempts to turn it on end in failure. If you’ve shelled out the best part of a cool grand, it’s a heart-stopping moment. Gadget insurance is designed to prevent exactly this kind of shock by providing financial protection for the cherished devices you’d find it hard to do without. Read on to find out how it works and the kinds of gadgets you can get cover for.
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What is gadget insurance?
Gadget insurance provides protection against loss or damage to devices such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, cameras, music players, ereaders, headphones, smartwatches and GPS devices such as sat navs.
These items can be expensive, so getting them insured makes them easier to replace if you drop yours in the bath or leave one on the train.
Are my gadgets already covered by my home insurance policy?
They might be. Most home contents insurance policies include cover for things like laptops, tablets and phones while they’re inside your home. There might be a limit on how much each item can be worth in order to be covered. More expensive gadgets, such as top-range iPhones and iPads, may not be fully covered or need to be declared separately.
You’ll also want to check the excess on your contents insurance policy. Home insurance excesses can be much higher than those on gadget insurance, which might mean it’s not worth claiming for a lower-cost gadget.
For cover while your items are away from your home, your contents insurance policy will need to include personal possessions cover. This is sometimes included as standard, but can also be a paid-for optional extra. Read your policy details or contact your insurer to double-check whether you have this type of cover.
If not, and you want to insure your gadgets, you can either add this as an optional extra to your home insurance policy or take out a standalone gadget insurance policy.
What are the different types of gadget insurance?
There are a few main types of gadget insurance. The right option depends on how many gadgets you want to cover and whether you want to include more than one person on the policy.
- Single gadget insurance. If you’ve only got one expensive gadget that you want to protect, this could be the best option. You can either get cover with a general gadget insurance provider or from a provider that specialises in cover for that specific device and may offer specialist features. For example, specialist camera insurance might include cover for your lenses or tripods, while smartphone insurance might cover the cost of any bills that a thief runs up on your phone.
- Multi-gadget insurance. Got gadgets coming out of your ears? If you can’t leave the house without your mobile, laptop and smartwatch, then you’re probably best served by a policy that covers multiple devices. Many providers offer a discount for insuring more than one device with them.
- Family gadget insurance. This lets you cover multiple gadgets belonging to several family members living in the same household. Some policies extend cover to students that are away at university, too.
What types of gadgets can you get gadget insurance for?
Each provider determines what devices to cover under its policy. Gadgets you can get cover for include the following:
Planning to shell out a small fortune on AppleCare+ to cover accidental damage to your iPhone? Before you do that, take a look at our comparison. You could save the cost of a decent speaker by going for a third-party alternative.
Your new Samsung phone is sleek, smart, and expensive to repair or replace. Insurance covers you for loss, theft and accidental damage. In our guide, you can compare deals and find out more about what you get and what’s excluded.
Camera insurance covers the cost of repairing or replacing your camera. This includes DSLR cameras, mirrorless cameras, action cameras and camcorders.
Tablet insurance will cover the costs of repairing or replacing your tablet if it is damaged, lost or stolen. The scenarios in which you are covered will differ depending on your choice of insurer.
Can I get gadget insurance for an older device?
It depends on how old the device is. Most gadget insurance is designed to cover new devices. You may not be able to buy cover for devices that are more than a year old (or less, in some cases).
Even if you buy a policy while your gadgets are new, there may also be a limit on the maximum age of each device – 3 years, for example. So check this and keep an eye on the age of your gadgets, so that you don’t assume a device is covered when it isn’t.
Gadget insurance for second-hand gadgets or devices that are bought overseas can also be hard to come by.
What does gadget insurance cover?
The exact spec of the policy will vary by provider and cover level, but gadget insurance tends to include the following benefits as standard:
- Accidental damage (including badly cracked screens)
- Loss (in some cases, this is an optional add-on)
- Unauthorised usage (for stolen phones and tablets, for example)
- Mechanical breakdown
- Water damage
Depending on the policy, you may also get international cover for taking your gadgets on holiday, guaranteed speedy replacement and cover for accessories (a tablet keyboard, for example). In some cases, these may be optional add-ons.
What doesn’t gadget insurance cover?
As with what is covered, this varies by provider and cover level. The following are some common exclusions:
- Wear and tear. Gadget insurance is designed to cover unexpected events, not minor damage built up through regular use.
- Cosmetic damage. For example, a minor screen scratch on a phone or tablet may not be covered if it doesn’t prevent you from using it.
- Claims within the first 14 days after taking out your policy.
- Loss or theft if you’ve been careless or negligent. Don’t leave your phone on a table while you nip to the loo or even on display in a locked car, for example (pop it in the glove box).
- Faults that are already covered by a manufacturer’s warranty.
- No proof of purchase. You need to be able to show that the gadget belonged to you in the first place, so hang on to receipts or email confirmations of orders.
Business use is also likely to be excluded from cover unless you take out a special business insurance policy. If you use your devices for work purposes, check with your insurer how this affects your cover.
Can I insure more than one gadget under the same policy?
Yes – many insurers offer a multi-gadget policy. There might be a limit on the number of gadgets you can include under the one policy. This can be as few as 3 devices, though family insurance is likely to cover more – typically up to 10. Make sure you check that what’s on offer is sufficient for your needs.
Some insurance companies might even offer discounts for insuring more than 1 device.
How to compare gadget insurance
Step 1: Decide which gadgets you want to insure. This will affect whether single gadget, multi-gadget or family cover is best, and which policy to go for as some may have low limits on the number of items they cover.
Step 2: Decide what level of cover you want. If you’re absent-minded, you might want to make sure cover for loss is included, for example. Or if you rely on your devices, you might want to pay extra for guaranteed speedy replacement.
Step 3: Check whether you already have enough cover. There’s no point in paying for standalone gadget insurance if you already have all of the cover you need as part of your contents insurance. Or, if you have a packaged bank account, it may include gadget insurance. In both of these cases, make sure that the insurance is comprehensive enough for all your gadgets, including any very valuable ones.
Step 4: Compare quotes. If you don’t already have the right cover, get cracking using a price comparison site such as Finder. The providers in the table at the top of this page are a good starting point. To get quotes, you’ll be asked when you purchased each device and to provide personal details. Bear in mind that, while you often get discounts for insuring multiple gadgets under the same policy, it doesn’t guarantee the lowest price – or the best cover. If you have anything that might benefit from specialist insurance with features tailored to a specific type of device, such as a high-end camera, you may want to insure this separately.
What is the claims process for gadget insurance?
The exact process will vary by insurer and the reason for your claim. Whatever the reason for the claim, you should contact your insurer as soon as possible. Always keep receipts or other evidence of ownership when you buy a new device since you will need proof of purchase for any successful claim.
Most insurers don’t limit the number of claims you can make on gadget insurance, but check the terms and conditions carefully for any exception to this rule.
How do I claim if my gadget is stolen?
If your gadget has been stolen, you will need to notify the police and get a crime reference number. Your insurer will ask for this when you make the claim.
How do I claim if my gadget needs repairing?
For damage claims, taking photos of the device you wish to claim for might be helpful. Contact your insurer before undertaking any repairs to the device. A condition of your policy might be that the device has to be repaired by one of the insurance company’s approved repairers.
Will I get a repair or replacement if my device is damaged?
If your device is lost or stolen, then obviously a replacement is the only option. If it’s damaged, though, your policy may stipulate that the insurer will try to repair it first, which could leave you without a device for a while. If it’s beyond repair, you’ll get a replacement instead.
Bear in mind that most replacements, whether for stolen or damaged devices, will be on a like-for-like basis. Depending on the age of your gadget when it goes AWOL or kaput, you may well get a refurbished device rather than a brand new replacement and, depending on availability, it may not be the same model.
How long does it take to get a replacement gadget?
It depends on the terms of your insurance and whether the insurer wants to attempt a repair for damaged gadgets first. Once it’s been established that a replacement is needed, 3-5 working days is typical.
Some insurers guarantee a replacement within a certain time frame after you contact them (48 hours for example). You may need to pay extra for this, so it might only be worth it if you can’t live without your gadget for a bit.
How much does it cost to insure my gadgets?
The cost of insurance for a single gadget can be as little as £2 or £3 a month for a single, relatively inexpensive device. The precise cost will depend on a few factors, including the following:
- The value of each device. Brand new, high-end smartphones and laptops will make for higher premiums than a pair of wireless headphones, for example.
- The number of devices. Many gadget insurers will offer a discount for insuring multiple devices under the same policy. This doesn’t guarantee they’ll be the cheapest overall though, so it’s worth comparing the cost of insuring each device separately with different insurers (taking into account whether this is worth the extra hassle of maintaining multiple policies).
- Any optional extras. Guaranteed 48-hour replacement, for example, is likely to bump up costs.
Compare the cost of standalone insurance against adding personal possessions cover to your contents insurance, too. The latter might well be cheaper and is likely to cover unlimited devices. However, there may be caps on the maximum value of each item, and you might need to pay a higher excess in the event of a claim.
Count up the number of tech gadgets you own. It’s probably more than you realise, and we’ll bet that you wouldn’t want to be without most of them. Gadget insurance can help you reduce the risk of having to shell out a fortune for replacements if your gadgets are lost, stolen or damaged. Make sure you don’t double up on cover, though, by checking what insurance you have in place first. If you do need gadget insurance, you can keep costs down by comparing providers and, potentially, by insuring several devices under the same multi-gadget policy.
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