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Is your gadget insurance leaving your devices unprotected?

Find out how to make sure your devices are covered

New research from independent financial information business Defaqto has revealed that many gadget insurance policies offer limited cover.

While people in the UK own an average of seven gadgets per household, nearly half of the 189 mobile, gadget and combined mobile and gadget insurance policies analysed don’t offer cover for multiple gadgets – something many policy holders aren’t aware of.

What’s more, 39% of policies offer no cover for lost devices, and 42% won’t cover devices bought from online auction sites.

Which? has looked into what gadget insurance will and won’t cover, so you can check your policy.


What are the most common gadget insurance exclusions?

If you choose to take out a gadget insurance policy, there are a few things you should check.

Many policies won’t cover the following:

  • Gadgets not listed on your policy: most insurance policies require you to list the specific item and model you want to insure. Any items that aren’t named won’t be covered.
  • Content stored on your gadget: this includes apps, downloads and pictures, even if you’ve paid for them.
  • Damage or loss caused by carelessness: if your insurer deems you haven’t taken reasonable care of your device, they’re likely to reject a claim to cover it.
  • Theft while leaving gadgets unattended: even if you leave a phone or laptop in your car or on a table in a café, most insurance policies won’t cover the items if they get stolen.
  • ‘Old’ devices: gadgets over a certain age often won’t be covered as they’re more likely to break. This can sometimes include second-hand and refurbished items, as well as items bought on auction sites.
  • Damage covered by the manufacturer’s warranty: things such as mechanical breakdown could be covered by your manufacturer, in which case the insurance policy won’t cover it.
  • Loss or damage that occurred more than 24 hours ago: many policies require you to report damage within 24 hours, and some give you as little as 12 hours.
  • Gadgets you did not purchase: to make a claim, most insurers will ask you to provide proof of purchase. If the item was a gift, for example, you’d still need to provide evidence of the original purchase order.

Should I get gadget insurance?

While gadget insurance may not cover all items or incidences, it could still be worth the investment if you buy particularly expensive devices.

Gadget insurance can be applied to items such as laptops, tablets, mobile phones, MP3 players, games consoles, e-readers, smartwatches, cameras and satnavs.

Most policies will cover:

  • liquid damage
  • worldwide breakdown
  • mechanical breakdown
  • loss
  • theft.

Bear in mind, though, that some aspects of cover, such as loss and theft, aren’t always included automatically; you might have to can opt into them.

There may also be the option to insure both single and multiple items – but, again, each policy will vary.

You’re more likely to benefit from gadget insurance if you’re accident prone, heavily rely on your gadgets – for example, they are integral to your work – or would not be able to replace them if they were to break or get stolen.

Gadget insurance may not be necessary if your device is still under warranty, or it’s covered by contents insurance personal possessions cover.

If you want to avoid getting gadget insurance, the alternative is to go with self insurance. This involves saving money each month to cover the cost of repairing or replacing your gadgets yourself.

This has the advantage of not running the risk of being caught out by policy wording that won’t cover your gadget, but you will be liable to pay the full cost if anything happens, so make sure you’re realistic about how much money you need to save.

How to find the best gadget insurance

Shop around

Using things like price comparison sites is a great way to find a good deal.

However, rather than just going for the cheapest deal, make sure the policy you go for covers everything you need – or you could end up out of pocket if you need to make a claim.

Check the terms and conditions

If it’s not clear where to find the smallprint, you can request to see a copy from the insurance provider. If you’re unsure about what any of the terms mean, you should also contact your provider to clarify.

It’s important to be informed on exactly what your policy does and does not cover, so you can be confident about making a claim.

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