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Gadget insurance – a handy guide

Gadget insurance – a handy guide

Most of us have done it – cracked a phone screen, spilled coffee on a laptop or left the tablet behind. And when it happens there’s that first (panicked) thought: “Is it covered on my home insurance?” Here’s what you need to know to make sure you have gadget insurance cover when you need it.

Chris King
From the Home team
minute read
posted 31 MARCH 2020

What is gadget insurance?

When we talk about gadget insurance, we mean insurance cover for pricy electronics that we typically carry around. Things like:

  • Smartphone
  • Smartwatch
  • Laptop
  • Tablet
  • iPod
  • Camera and camcorder
  • Headphones
  • Fitness tracker
  • Portable games console

Do I need gadget insurance?

Be honest with yourself – are you accident prone? Have you ever left your phone on a restaurant table? A study by Deloitte found that more than half of us admit to using our phone while walking – and dropping a phone on a paving slab isn’t likely to be good for it.

Gadget insurance generally covers accidental damage from liquids and spillage, theft and loss – but you should check the policy details.

Most importantly, think about how much your gadgets are worth. People with a 5-year-old phone and a cheap laptop might not need gadget insurance. But take a look at the list above. If it would cost a lot to replace the items you own, gadget insurance is worth considering. However, you need to consider what the best way of doing this is. 
It is possible to buy separate gadget insurance, but this isn't necessarily the best option.

"Typically, the additional cost to your contents insurance premium will be significantly less compared with the cost of taking out a separate gadget insurance policy," says Chris King, head of home insurance at Compare the Market.

For example:

Insurance type Cost
Home contents insurance 50% of people could achieve a quote of £142 per year for their buildings and contents home insurance based on Compare the Market data in February 2020. **

**50% of people could achieve a quote of £142.00 per year for their buildings and contents home insurance based on Compare the Market data in February 2020.

Does my home insurance cover my gadgets?

Contents insurance generally covers your possessions against incidents, such as theft, fire damage and flood damage. But standard home insurance doesn’t usually cover all situations, and there are two key questions when it comes to gadget insurance:

  • Are you covered for accidents? If not, you’re on your own if you drop your phone on a tiled floor or spill on your laptop.
  • Are you covered when you’re out and about? We carry our gadgets with us all the time – but basic home insurance will usually only cover your possessions when they’re at home.

Fortunately, you can generally solve these problems with a couple of add-ons to your home insurance; accidental damage insurance and personal possessions cover outside of the home.

When you compare home insurance with us you can search for quotes that include these options. However, every policy is different so you should make sure to read the details before you buy. In the next section we’ll look at some things to keep in mind.

Gadget insurance – what to look for in your home insurance policy

Providing you have contents insurance, you’re likely to be covered for damage to your gadgets in your home due to standard events like fire and theft. By adding accidental damage cover you can get cover for mishaps like dropping your phone down the toilet. You can then add personal possessions cover, which protects items like gadgets when take them outside your home.

But even if those are included, you need to check a few details. It’s never fun to sit down and read policy documents, but it’s worth the effort.

Here are a few things to look out for:

  • What are the conditions? e.g. you’re not covered if you leave your gadget unattended, how quickly you need to report a theft and whether you are covered overseas
  • What’s the excess? If your gadgets are cheap and your policy has a high excess, you might find making a claim isn’t worthwhile. Find out more about insurance excess
  • What’s the single article limit? Some policies have a single article limit, meaning there’s a maximum payout you can get for an item – perhaps just a fraction of the cost of your top-of-the-range laptop or professional quality camera. For any of your gadgets worth more than this limit, then you’ll need to add them individually on your policy.
  • What happens when a claim is made? If you damage your phone and need to claim, your insurance provider is likely to check first if your phone could be repaired. If it can’t they would look to replace the phone with a like-for-like equivalent. If that model no longer exists or cannot be sourced it may be you get an equivalent newer version. For example, if you have a 40” old CRT TV, one with the box at the back, this is likely to be replaced with a 40” HD LCD or plasma TV because that is what is readily available as an equivalent today. So see what your insurance provider's policy is for repair and replacement.

But don't forget, while your policy can get you a replacement gadget, it can't replace those precious photos, or important files so you should make sure you keep these backed up.

If your current policy doesn’t offer enough cover, don’t worry. When you compare home insurance with us, we’ll help you find a policy with the great gadget insurance cover for your needs.

Camera insurance within a home contents policy

If you’re a serious photographer, digital camera insurance can be difficult to include in home insurance. The best digital cameras can be very expensive. It’s not unusual for them to go over the single article limit, which is usually around £1,500. Your entire set of equipment including lenses and flashes could add up to several thousands of pounds. In that case, make sure you specify the camera individually on your policy to get the cover you need. 

However, if you’re a keen amateur with a £300 DSLR and a couple of lenses, adding personal possessions insurance should give you the cover you need. All policies are different though so it’s worth reading the policy documents if you’re concerned.

Could my gadgets be covered elsewhere?

There are a few ways by which your gadgets might already be covered:

  • You may get a small amount of protection when you buy a gadget on a credit card
  • Some bank accounts come with insurance as part of the package
  • Some warranties are designed to cover minor mishaps

You might find that your gadgets are all covered and you don’t need to buy gadget insurance cover at all.

Can I get standalone gadget insurance?

While we don’t offer standalone gadget insurance, some companies do, if it’s something you think you need. In a poll of over 2,000 adults, 1 in 10 (13%) revealed they have taken out additional insurance on gadgets that are already covered under their household contents insurance. Taken across the UK as a whole, this means 6.5 million adults are unnecessarily paying double to protect their personal items.

If you do look for an individual policy, then make sure you’ve considered adding items to your home insurance too as this could be a more cost-effective option.

How affordable is it to cover my gadgets on my home insurance?

It varies depending on factors, such as:

  • the value of your gadgets
  • the excess you’re happy with
  • whether you want to include loss and theft cover

In some cases, it may not affect your policy premium too much to add on cover for your gadgets. You may just need to call out specific items if they’re over the single article limit to make sure you’re adequately covered. You may well be pleasantly surprised that you already have the right amount of cover in place. Our research suggests that over one third (36%) of those who are paying twice to insure their gadgets do so, because they’re unaware these are already covered. 

Want to know for sure? You can compare now to make sure you’re getting great deal to cover your gadgets.

Where can I get home contents insurance that covers gadgets?

We’ll help you compare gadget insurance options and prices when you search for home contents insurance. 

See how much you could save on contents insurance including gadget insurance cover.

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