A simples guide

Does home insurance cover digital purchases?

Over quite a few years now, purchasing habits have been changing. With the exception of vinyl, where there is something of a renaissance happening, the sale of digital entertainment has been increasing for many years. But how do you know if your digital purchased are insured? Are they covered by your home insurance

Times are changing…

We live in an increasingly tech savvy world. Broadband speeds rise, wireless networks are the norm, and items which were once only purchased in the physical world, are now purchased online.

When you insured your contents in the past it was pretty simple to calculate your entertainment. You could look at how many CDs (vinyls if you prefer), DVDs (videos if you’re going back further) and books you owned up on the shelf.

You’d add up a rough value, and make sure it’s included in your contents value.

Over quite a few years now, this has been changing and the sale of physical entertainment has been in decline for many years.

While, some would argue that even owning music full stop is a thing of the past with the rise of streaming services such as Spotify, Deezer and Tidal, many people now own a mix of physical and digital purchases.

While we’d probably all be confident that our physical music and book collections are insured, what about those digital purchases? With your average 64GB smartphone holding well over 10,000 songs and a Kindle e-reader storing well over 3,000 book titles, it’s an important consideration.

What happens if all this material is destroyed courtesy of hacks or viruses as well as more conventional loss or damage to the hardware supporting this vast quantity of infotainment?

Protect your digital purchases

Can you assume they’re covered?

It would be unwise to just assume that you will be covered, it is much better to check at the time that you take out the policy.

According to a Defaqto report in July 2016, there are a number of insurance providers such as the AA, Asda, Aviva, Barclays, Budget, Halifax, HSBC and John Lewis amongst many others, who do include electronic data downloads in their policies. However, the terms and conditions of cover can be quite different so check the detail to make sure you have what you need.

Typically, they will insure you if you lose your collection because your equipment is stolen or damaged, but not if you simply delete it all by mistake. They’ll also only cover you for items that are commercially available, and you’re likely to have to prove purchase from a legitimate source.

Remember, while insurance providers will usually ask if you have certain specific items such as mobile phones, laptops and bicycles to insure, they won’t always ask you if you want to insure digital items. This means that it may be up to you to take the initiative. If it’s not obvious what the cover detail is, give the insurance provider a call and ask or here's our guide to what's considered a high risk for contents insurance.

Do you need to bother as purchases can be recovered?

Some people assume that there is no need to insure digital items as they can be recovered and downloaded again later.

This may be true…but then it may not be. You’ll need to look in detail at your specific situation.

If you have your entire network backed up in the Cloud, you should be able to simply download your collection to a new device. If you’ve purchased a collection from a store such as iTunes, you should be able to download your purchased items again.

Alternatively, you could use a physical back up, for example using a physical hard drive. That may work for you, but be sure you wouldn’t lose that too in the event of a robbery.

does home insurance cover digital downloads

Why wouldn’t insurance companies just include digital items as standard?

To understand this, you need to put yourself in the insurance provider’s shoes.

Insurance providers are comfortable paying for items that they are sure have genuinely gone, but it is harder to verify in the digital world. Recovery methods including from other devices such as a phone, MP3 player or tablet means recovery is possible in some cases.

This makes insuring items like this more difficult than those in the physical world, and they may ask the claimant to prove purchases using online purchased histories for example.

The future

As the popularity of digital media continues to rise, we expect that more and more insurance providers will offer appropriate download insurance as standard.

While it might feel that some are still behind the curve when it comes to keeping up with technological advancements, there are already some leading insurance brands offering cover for downloaded material, so you should be able to get the cover you need.

Use our home contents insurance comparison service to find the right deal for you and compare digital entertainment cover.

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