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Insurers urged to cover music downloads

Hardware failures and viruses leave you vulnerable


People who download music won’t be covered by insurance if a computer virus destroys their entire collection, Computing Which? warns today.

Its investigation of 46 insurance providers found that not one protected downloads in the event of hardware or mechanical failure.

Effectively this means that if a computer is hit by a virus, or the hard drive fails, there is no possibility of making a claim.

Just 22 out of the 46 insurance providers gave any sort of cover for music and other digital downloads. These applied in the event of fire, flood, storm or theft.


Many insurers seemed confused about downloads. For example, staff at Tesco Personal Finance were unfamiliar with the area, while at MoreThan the policy wording didn’t reflect the fact that digital downloads were, in fact, covered.

On a positive note, those companies that are keeping up with the times insure a wide range of digital content including music videos, TV programmes, films, games and even mobile phone ring tones.

Computing Which? has the following tips to avoid digital download disaster:

  • Check your policy documents, or call your insurer directly, to see if you’re covered
  • Keep any receipts or bank statements relating to digital downloads you’ve bought
  • Make sure that your systems have anti-virus software, anti-spyware and a firewall installed as hardware or mechanical failure are rarely protected
  • Protect your digital content with a back up copy, particularly if you’re not covered by insurance
  • Consider switching insurance companies to avoid disappointment.

Full cover

Computing Which? Editor Abigail Waraker said: ‘Downloading music online is widely accepted now as being the easiest and most convenient way to buy music.  Music lovers know it, the music companies know it – but it seems insurance companies are determined to stay behind the times. 

‘We’d like to see insurance companies make their way to the top of the charts by providing full cover for all digital content.’

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