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. Gadget insurance is designed to minimise the financial pain of mishaps like this. Read on to find out how it works and the kinds of gadgets you can get cover for.
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.
Gadget insurance jargon explained
Cosmetic damage. Scratches, scuffs or other minor damage that do not prevent your device from working as expected. Cosmetic damage is usually not covered under gadget insurance.
Mechanical failure/breakdown. If your device suddenly and unexpectedly stops working and cannot fulfil it’s primary purpose. For example, if a phone becomes unresponsive and no amount of turning it off and on again brings it back to life. Excludes wear and tear (for example, if your phone gradually slows down and becomes less responsive over time). Most gadget insurers only include mechanical failure cover once any manufacturer’s warranty has expired.
Reasonable precautions. The sensible steps you must take to reduce the risk of damage to or loss/theft of your phone. For example, you must not leave your phone unattended on restaurant table.
Unauthorised repair. Most insurers require you to put in a claim and get authorisation from them before you have your phone repaired, and may require you to use one of their panel of authorised repairers. If you don’t follow their requirements, your claim for repair costs may be turned down.
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.
How can I save money on my gadget insurance?
Before we get started on ways to save, the first step is to decide if you need gadget insurance in the first place. Rather ironically, in an article about gadget insurance, the best way to save on gadget insurance is sometimes not to buy it. This might be because you already have sufficient cover for your gadgets, through a home insurance personal possessions add-on, or a packaged bank account. Or perhaps your gadgets aren’t that high-value. Or it may simply be because you’re neither accident-prone nor have a propensity for losing stuff, and decide that – on balance – gadget insurance isn’t worth it.
If, on the other hand, you have a pricey gadget that you rely on, and would struggle to afford to replace if it was lost, stolen or damaged, there are tactics you can use to keep the cost of insurance down.
- Shop around. Don’t just opt for the first provider that appears in Google’s search results. Compare policies among at least a few of the providers in our table, above, to make sure you’re getting the right cover for the right price.
- Consider multi-gadget or family gadget cover. If you’ve got a lot of pricey tech, or you and your family own a lot of gadgets between you, it may well be cheaper to insure several gadgets on one policy than to insure each one separately.
- Pay annually rather than monthly. Many insurers give you the choice of whether to pay up-front, or in monthly instalments. Typically, you’ll get a discount if you pay for a full year at the outset.
- Be prepared to be patient. If you need a replacement gadget, it can take a few days for your insurer to supply one. If you want guaranteed speedy replacement for a gadget, you’ll need to pay extra.
What types of gadget insurance are there?
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.
“If you’ve shelled out the best part of a cool grand on the latest must-have gadget, losing or breaking it can be 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.
“But it’s not the only way to protect your devices, and may not be worth it for less expensive gadgets, so consider all your options before you hit the buy button.”
What does gadget insurance cover me for?
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.
Is gadget insurance worth it?
That is really up to you, but consider whether you’ll be able to afford to replace your favourite devices if they’re damaged, lost or stolen. You might also want to consider how much you rely on these devices for things like work (or finding work), studies and social interactions. Think about how losing the use of your phone or laptop and not being able to replace it straight away might affect your life.
If you tend to go for the cheapest gadgets, you might be willing to take a punt on the basis that they won’t cost much to replace (and are less appealing to thieves). But if you’d wince at the prospect of having to shell out full price for a replacement, gadget insurance is well worth investigating. You can find some basic gadget insurance policies for only a few pounds each month, so shop around to find a deal that works for you.
One thing to be aware of is that your gadgets may already be protected – at least in part – under your home insurance policy, so check what cover you have before buying extra gadget insurance.
Pros and cons
- Provides peace of mine, particularly for the accident prone
- If a valuable gadget is lost, stolen or damaged beyond repair, the insurer will cover most of the cost of a replacement (less any excess)
- Many policies cover you if you take your gadgets overseas (with some policies this may cost extra).
- May not be worth it for cheap or rarely-used gadgets
- You may already be covered (or be able to get cheaper cover) via a packaged bank account or home contents insurance policy
- Exclusions and limitations can be restrictive. Plus, depending on the age of your device, you’ll probably get a refurbished model if you need a replacement.
We compare policies from
Frequently asked questions
Purchasing a policy
Adjusting your policy
Making a claim
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