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19 Jul 2018

Is your home insurance leaving your digital assets at risk?

Are home insurers keeping up with the digital age?

Many of us treasure our photo albums, music collections or games, which are increasingly only available in digital form. But if disaster struck, would your home insurance protect your important digital assets?

New research from Comparethemarket.com has revealed that most home insurance providers are unclear about the definition of digital assets and what type of protection you can expect, meaning some people could be caught out.

Find out how to make sure you get the right level of cover for your home and digital assets at a competitive price.

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Unclear policy wording

While the analysis of 26 home insurance providers showed that 77% (20) offer protection for digital assets, their definitions are unclear and vary a lot,Comparethemarket reported.

Most policies were found to be very vague and referred to digital assets as 'electronic data' or 'downloaded content.'

Only five providers actually specified that digital assets included music or videos and just two also included digital photographs in their definition.

Interestingly, home insurers were found to be a lot clearer about exclusions to pay-outs for digital damage.

A total of 17 providers specified that their cover does not extend to damage caused by computer viruses or malicious software.

Only eight of the policies offer cover for loss of damage to contents stored on mobile phones.

A recent Which? poll revealed that 69% of respondents don't know whether if their digital assets are protected by home insurance.

How much cover could you get for digital assets?

Payouts for digital assets vary significantly among home insurance providers, ranging anywhere from £500-£10,000.

Of the 20 providers that offered some form of protection for your digital assets, six do not outline how much they'll actually pay out for any damage caused.

The most common amount of cover, cited by five providers, is £1,000.

One policy also required that you provide a copy of the receipt to claim for lost digital assets.

The table below shows the level of payout specified by the policies analysed.

Level of pay-outNo. of policies

Keep in mind that only assets downloaded legally will be covered.

Should I get personal cyber insurance?

Digital technology is integral to our everyday lives, so that we are constantly adding to our digital assets - whether games, music and films, family snaps or videos.

With uncertainty around what your home insurance might be able to cover, could personal cyber insurance be the answer?

Cyber insurance is designed to protect your personal data and digital assets, should your device be compromised by hackers or cyber attacks.

While it's not very common, there are a couple of personal cyber insurance products on the market includingHiscox Personal Cyber insuranceandBlackfriars' Personal Cyber Crime Insurance.

But it's worth thinking realistically about how much your assets might be to replace and whether it's worth the cost of a specific insurance policy.

Alternatively, taking extra precautions such as making sure the software on your devices is updated frequently, using strong passwords and backing up your data can help prevent or limit damage from cyber threats to your digital assets too.

Finding the best home insurance

These simple steps can help make sure you get the best home insurance policy.

Use a valuation calculator

Before you start looking for a home insurance policy, it's important to work out the value of your contents.

Inaccurately assessing the value of your belongings will result in an inadequate level of protection, meaning you could lose out should the worse happen.

Using tools such as a contents insurance calculatorcan help you get an accurate idea of how much cover you need.

Shop around

Shopping around is crucial if you want to find the best deal.

Price comparison websites can be a great way to see what's on offer and find the best deal.

If you're home insurance is coming up for renewal, shopping around for a better offer can give you leverage for haggling a better deal with your current provider.

Check your terms and conditions

Your home insurance cover us is only as good as what's in the terms and conditions.

So before buying anything, make sure you read the terms of your policy carefully.

Finding home insurance policy documents can be really tricky so if you have any trouble, don't be afraid to get in touch with them to request a copy.

If you're still unsure about anything after reading through your policy document, contact your provider to clarify.

To help you find the best insurer, we've analysed the standard contents insurance and buildings insurance policies for over 30 providers and combined it with feedback from thousands of customers to produce impartial home insurance company reviews.