Gadget insurance abroad

Find out whether you need gadget insurance for travel and what's included in the cover, plus tips to keep your devices safe while travelling.

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Many of our gadgets, including our phones, tablets and smartwatches, have become permanent fixtures in our lives. We carry them with us everywhere, including when we go abroad. We’ve looked at how you can protect your devices while you’re out of the UK and what’s included in the cover.

Do I need gadget insurance when I am abroad?

This is entirely up to you. There’s no regulation that says you have to take out gadget insurance while abroad, but it is highly recommended.

Most of us travel abroad with at least one gadget – a phone, a tablet or, in some cases, a laptop. While our gadgets are at risk of damage or theft when we’re home as well, many of us have protection for them while in the UK (through contents insurance, perks that come with our bank account or simply local gadget insurance), but the risks actually increase while we’re travelling.

Your might drop your phone off a cathedral’s balcony while taking pictures of the view, or you may fall victim to local thieves in a busy market square. Either way, getting cover for your devices can make the difference between a relaxing holiday, and one you need another holiday to recover from.

What does gadget insurance abroad cover?

This will vary by provider. Some offer the same level of cover worldwide as they do in the UK, which usually includes:

  • Accidental damage. You’ll be covered if you accidentally break the device.
  • Liquid damage. If your device is damaged by contact with or immersion in water, your insurance can help cover the cost.
  • Mechanical breakdown. If the device stops working properly through no fault of your own, you can make a claim (providing the device is out of the manufacturer’s warranty).
  • Loss/theft. If your device is lost or stolen and you haven’t been careless with it, your insurance will help cover the cost.
  • Malicious damage. Your insurance will cover you if your device is deliberately broken by a third party.
  • Unauthorised usage. If your device is stolen, your insurance should cover you for any charges racked up by the thief. This could include losses from the thief accessing your ewallet.
  • Replacement accessories. Your insurance will often cover the cost of accessories damaged or lost at the same time as the device.

Other insurers may offer only some of these benefits (for example, cover for damage and theft, but not loss) or charge an additional premium for certain elements.

Is it not covered already under my travel insurance policy?

Some travel insurance policies do include cover for gadgets, but this might require an additional premium. There may also be certain restrictions in place, like how long you can be covered for and the value of the devices insured.

What is excluded with a travel insurance policy?

Exclusions will vary by provider, but can include the following:

  • Minor chips and cracks. Most insurance policies will only cover you for damage that affects your ability to use the device. Normal wear and tear won’t be covered either.
  • Travel to restricted countries. If you travel to countries the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has advised against visiting, any insurance policy you take out is unlikely to be valid.
  • Loss of data. You won’t be compensated for lost or damaged data (like photos or contacts), so back everything up. Damage caused by a virus may not be covered either.
  • Claims where the gadget was left unattended. If you don’t look after your devices, your insurer won’t pay out for a claim if they’re stolen. Damage claims as a result of carelessness will also likely be rejected.
  • Claims where a proof of purchase cannot be provided. You will need to provide a receipt, proving you owned the device, where and when you purchased it and how much it cost. Most insurers have certain restrictions in place regarding the age of the device (usually up to one year, though some offer cover for devices up to 36 months old), where it was bought (this will usually need to be the UK) and where from (from an authorised retailer).
  • Loss/theft claims without a crime report. You’ll need to provide a crime reference number with your claim.

There may also be additional restrictions in place, like how many gadgets you can insure on one policy and the maximum value of each device. Some insurers also restrict how many claims you can make per year.

Is it not covered already under my home insurance policy?

Some contents insurance policies do include cover for items out of the house, and some include cover abroad. However, this is not often included as standard and may require an additional premium. There may also be restrictions in place on the level of cover, how long you’re covered for and where.

Do I get the same level of cover for my gadgets when I am abroad?

This depends on the insurer. Some offer their cover worldwide as standard, whereas others will require you to pay extra to be covered abroad. For the latter, there may be additional restrictions on the cover. Check your policy details to make sure you know exactly what is and isn’t included.

Does gadget insurance abroad come as standard on a gadget insurance policy?

Some insurers include worldwide cover as standard, but for many this is an optional extra that requires an additional premium.

Tips for travelling abroad with gadgets

While it’s impossible to be completely prepared for every eventuality, there are certain precautions you can take while travelling with your gadgets:

  • Protect your devices. accessories like screen protectors and phone cases can make a real difference if you drop your device. This can be especially effective against cracked screens, which is one of the most common issues affecting gadgets.
  • Leave your devices behind. This may not be possible with certain devices, such as phones, cameras and smartwatches, but some gadgets can have a rest at your accommodation while you’re out and about.
  • Don’t forget your chargers. Remembering to bring all your devices only to realise you’ve no way of charging them is really frustrating. Make sure you remember all the different cables and don’t forget the local adapter.
  • Turn off data roaming. Roaming charges can be extortionate, especially outside Europe. It’s best to find public Wi-Fi hotspots where you can use the Internet for free.
  • Back everything up. Losing all your photos or important documents can be devastating. Make sure you save everything to an external drive or to the Cloud so that it’s safe.

How much does gadget insurance for foreign travel cost?

The cost of your insurance will vary by provider, as well as be affected by your personal circumstances and how many gadgets you wish to cover.

Some insurers include worldwide cover in their policies, so you won’t have to pay any extra for taking your devices abroad. For others, there may be a fee to pay to add this cover to your policy.

The best way to find the right deal for you is to shop around. Don’t forget to consider the excess you’ll have to pay when making a claim when comparing policy costs.

Frequently asked questions

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