Laptop insurance

Discover what laptop insurance is, what you can expect to be covered for and how to find the best policy for your needs.

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Think about the things that made you choose a laptop over a desktop computer. The compact size, portability and flexibility that make laptops so appealing are also, unfortunately, the things that can make them more vulnerable – to damage after being dropped, being stolen, or even being left on a train or in a café. And when a high-end laptop can set you back a couple of grand, getting it insured could be a wise precaution. Here, we run through the pros and cons of laptop insurance and how to secure the best cover.

What is laptop insurance?

Laptop insurance will cover the costs of repairing or replacing your laptop if it’s damaged, lost or stolen. Some insurers offer specialist laptop insurance, while you can also cover yourself using a general gadget insurance policy.

Different policies offer different levels of cover. For example, some (but not all) will also cover damage to your laptop accessories. In this guide, we’ll explore the scenarios in which you can expect to successfully make a claim on your laptop insurance.

Do I need laptop insurance?

Many of us rely on our laptops, for work or simply the tasks of daily life, and would struggle to get by without them. But laptops can be expensive to repair or replace. If yours isn’t insured, you risk facing a large one-off financial outlay if, for example, it goes on the fritz after a mishap with a cup of coffee.

Paying a small monthly premium for insurance will protect you against such big expenditures. But, of course, you’ll need to weigh up the cost of insurance against the value of your laptop.

Before shelling out, it’s worth checking if your laptop might already be covered by any home contents insurance. Bear in mind that some contents insurance policies require you to specify high-value items, and might not cover your laptop outside of the home.

Who is laptop insurance best suited for?

If you’ve got a high-end laptop that would cost a pretty-penny to replace, then it’s probably worth considering insurance. This might be more likely to apply if, say:

  • You’re self-employed and rely on your laptop for work.
  • You’re a university student taking a course that places high demands on your laptop; digital design, for example.
  • You have a hobby or side-line that requires high specs and processing power from a computer, such as advanced photo or video editing.

If, on the other hand, you have a cheap and cheerful laptop that you only use for a bit of web browsing or to write the odd letter or email, you might decide the cost of insurance isn’t worth it.

What laptops can I insure?

You can find cover for pretty much any model of laptop. You’ll find insurance regardless of whether your laptop is from Apple, Dell, HP, Huawei, Lenovo, Microsoft or any other popular manufacturer.

However, your laptop will typically need to be fairly new when you take out insurance. Many insurance providers won’t offer cover for laptops more than a year old, though some will consider devices up to 3 years old. You might also struggle to find cover if you bought your laptop overseas.

Can I get cover for a second-hand laptop?

This is likely to depend on how you bought it. Some insurers won’t cover second-hand laptops at all. Others will consider models bought from reputable sources, such as a manufacturer’s official refurbished laptop website.

But if you buy a second-hand laptop from a private seller (on eBay or Gumtree, for example), you’re unlikely to be able to take out laptop insurance.

Can I insure multiple laptops on the same policy?

Yes. While you can get dedicated insurance for a single laptop, most insurers will let you add multiple devices to the same policy, typically up to 10 items. These can be other laptops or, often, other gadgets such as smartphones or tablets.

Many multi-gadget policies offer cover for devices owned by different members of the same household. This means you can potentially insure both your and your partner’s laptop under the same policy, for example. Typically, you’ll get a discount for every extra device you add to a policy, which could cut costs compared to insuring every item separately.

What does laptop insurance cover?

Here are some scenarios in which you can typically expect to be covered by your laptop insurance:

  • Accidental damage. If you accidentally damage your laptop, your insurer will cover the cost of repairing or replacing it, provided you are deemed to have taken “reasonable care” to protect it. With some policies, accidental damage can be an optional extra.
  • Liquid damage. If your laptop is damaged due to contact with water (or tea or coffee), your policy will cover you.
  • Loss. Laptops are arguably harder to lose than smaller gadgets, but if you’re prone to leaving anything from umbrellas to rucksacks on trains, planes or park benches, your laptop may not be immune. Cover for loss isn’t always included by default, but you’ll be able to add it on if not.
  • Malicious damage. If a third party deliberately damages your laptop, you’ll be covered.
  • Mechanical breakdown. If your laptop breaks down through no fault of your own, you’ll be covered. However, if it’s inside the manufacturer or retailer’s warranty period, you’ll be asked to claim through this instead.
  • Theft. If your laptop is stolen, you’ll be covered for the cost of replacing it, provided you’re deemed to have taken “reasonable care” to prevent this from happening.
  • Unauthorised usage. You’ll be covered for the cost of financial losses that result from unauthorised usage of your laptop, although this will usually be limited.

Other elements of cover that may be offered, either as standard or as optional extras, include:

  • Cover to take your laptop abroad
  • Cover for laptop accessories
  • Limited cover for lost downloads (movies or music, for example).

What doesn’t laptop insurance cover?

Having laptop insurance can inspire confidence that, if disaster strikes, you won’t be left high and dry. But, like any insurance, it wont cover everything. Here are some of the most common exclusions; read your policy carefully so you don’t think you’re covered when you’re not.

  • Wear and tear. Insurance is typically designed to cover unforeseen events. Gradual deterioration, such as a laptop slowing down over time or the print on the keys wearing out, won’t be covered.
  • Cosmetic damage. A big hole in the middle of your screen will be covered. A scratch on the casing that doesn’t stop you using the laptop won’t be.
  • Failure to take “reasonable care” of your laptop. Insurers will have different definitions of “reasonable care” in their terms and conditions, but essentially, if you’re doing stupid things with your laptop, you won’t be covered. Don’t let your kids try to balance it on their heads, for example – a copy of the dictionary is a safer option.
  • Leaving your laptop unattended outside the house. You won’t be covered for any loss or theft claims if the laptop was out of your line of sight when the incident occurred. It’s fair to say that the insurer wouldn’t regard this as taking “reasonable care” of it.
  • Deliberate damage. If you (or an immediate family member) deliberately damage your laptop, you won’t be covered.
  • If you don’t have proof of purchase. You’ll need to provide this whenever you make a claim.
  • If you don’t have a crime reference number for a lost or stolen laptop. You’ll need to provide this whenever you make a loss/theft claim.

Is my laptop already covered by an existing policy?

It’s worth reviewing your existing financial products to check if your laptop is already insured. There’s no point in doubling up on cover. For example, your laptop (and other gadgets) may be covered under:

  • A home contents insurance policy. If this does cover laptops and other gadgets, make sure the level of cover meets your needs. For cover outside of the house, you’ll need “personal possessions” cover, for example. And check whether accidental damage to tech products is included in your policy. Finally, if your laptop is particularly valuable (more than £1,500, for example, though some insurers have lower limits), you may need to specify it on your contents insurance policy for it to be fully covered.
  • A packaged bank account. These paid-for current accounts often include gadget insurance as one of the perks. Check the cover limits and exclusions as they might be more restrictive than you need.

How much does laptop insurance cost?

The cost of laptop insurance depends on several factors, including the following:

  • Your laptop brand and model. The more it costs to repair or replace, the more it will cost to insure.
  • Your desired level of cover. As you’d expect, more comprehensive cover will cost more.
  • Your excess. Some insurers will charge less if you agree to increase your excess. Make sure you can afford to pay this if you need to make a claim, though.
  • Monthly or annual payments. Some insurers will charge interest if you pay monthly, so pay the full amount up front if you can afford it.

How can I save on laptop insurance?

To find the best-value laptop insurance for your needs, there are a few steps you can take:

  • Check if you’re already covered. There’s no point in paying for a dedicated laptop insurance policy if you already have enough cover through a packaged bank account or your home contents insurance. Even if your contents insurance doesn’t currently include all the cover you need, it might be cheaper to upgrade it than to buy standalone laptop insurance.
  • Don’t pay for cover you don’t need. Many insurers will offer multiple levels of cover. With a standard level of cover, you can usually expect to be protected against accidental damage, liquid damage, mechanical breakdown and theft. In many cases though, you might have to pay more for overseas cover or protection against loss. If you never take your laptop out of the house, you might decide these are extras you can live without.
  • Consider your excess. Some insurers will lower your premium if you agree to increase the amount you’re willing to pay towards a claim.
  • Look at a multi-gadget policy. If you are looking to insure several gadgets, there are plenty of companies that will offer you an overall discount for doing this.
  • Compare policies and get a range of quotes. Shop around with multiple insurers as well as price comparison sites to ensure you’re getting the best value deal available to you.

How do I claim on my laptop insurance policy?

Different insurers have different claims processes. In most cases, you’ll need to phone the insurer’s claims department, although some allow you to make claims online. Either way, you’ll need to share various details about your laptop and the incident that led to a claim.

For all claims, you’ll need to provide proof of ownership (a receipt, or email confirming your order, for example). Other details you’ll need to provide will depend on the type of claim.

What should I do if my laptop needs repairing?

If your laptop is damaged, contact your insurer before proceeding with any repairs. If you don’t use one of its approved repairers, you won’t be covered for this or any other future repairs.

You’ll probably need to send it to the insurer for inspection (or provide a quote receipt from an approved repairer, if the policy allows this).

Once this process has been completed, your insurer will make a decision on whether to repair or replace your laptop.

What should I do if my laptop gets stolen or I lose it?

Your first step is to inform the police and get a crime reference number (in some cases even if you think you’ve lost it, rather than it being stolen). Then, contact your insurer’s claims team to arrange a replacement laptop. Do this as soon as possible; some policies set a time limit on how quickly you need to report an incident.

You’ll also need to provide details of your device and the incident that led to the claim.

Can my laptop insurance claim be rejected?

Danny Butler

Finder insurance expert Danny Butler answers

As long as your policy covers the reason you’re claiming, and you’ve taken “reasonable care” of your laptop, your insurer should pay out. But “should” and “will” can, unfortunately, be 2 separate things.

We know we bang on about reading the small print before you buy, but it really can help you avoid getting a nasty shock if your insurer rejects a claim. For example, some policies won’t cover you if you try and claim within the first 14 days of taking out a policy (so take extra care during this waiting period). Others may limit how many claims you can make in a year, so if you’re particularly unlucky with your gadgets, you may also be out of luck with your insurer.

You may also find your claim rejected if it’s for mechanical breakdown and you’re still within your manufacturer’s warranty period. In such cases, you should claim under the warranty instead.

The most complex reason for a claim to be rejected is that “reasonable care” clause, as an insurer may have a different take on this than you. For example, if your laptop bag is close to you and your laptop is stolen from it, but you can’t explain to the insurer how or when the theft took place, the insurer might conclude you hadn’t been reasonably attending to it.

Importantly, if your claim is rejected, the insurer must give a reason. If you disagree with its decision, you don’t have to accept it. Make a formal complaint in the first instance. If this doesn’t work, you can take your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

Pros and cons of laptop insurance

Pros

  • Offers reassurance that you won’t have to pay for an expensive repair or replacement.
  • Possible to insure multiple laptops or other gadgets under a single policy.
  • Cover is available if you go overseas (though this may cost extra).

Cons

  • Cover for high-end laptops can be pricey, particularly if you add lots of optional extras.
  • You may already be covered under your contents insurance or with a packaged bank account.
  • Loss of your laptop isn’t always included as standard, and cosmetic damage rarely is.

Bottom line

Laptop insurance can be relatively affordable compared to the cost of replacing it when it breaks or gets stolen. But before buying, check if you’re already covered under another policy. And, if your laptop is more budget basic than high-end essential, it may not be worth the cost – especially once you take any excess into account. If you do decide to go for it, shop around and compare options to get the right cover at the right price.

Frequently asked questions about laptop insurance

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