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Gadget insurance

Most of us have cracked a phone screen, spilled coffee on a laptop or left our tablet somewhere. When it happens, your first (panicked) thought is: “Is it covered on my home insurance?”. Here’s what you need to know about gadget insurance cover so you’ve got it when you need it.

Most of us have cracked a phone screen, spilled coffee on a laptop or left our tablet somewhere. When it happens, your first (panicked) thought is: “Is it covered on my home insurance?”. Here’s what you need to know about gadget insurance cover so you’ve got it when you need it.

Written by
Anna McEntee
Home, pet and travel insurance expert
Reviewed by
Andy Webb
Insurance expert
Last Updated
13 FEBRUARY 2023
8 min read
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What is gadget insurance?

Gadget insurance can cover the cost of repairing or replacing electronic items, like mobile phones, tablets and laptops. In today’s digital world, we have more gadgets than ever, often carrying them around with us. They’re also expensive, which makes protecting yourself against the cost of replacing them well worth thinking about.

Insurance for gadgets can be bought as a stand-alone policy, but it’s a good idea to check whether you’re already covered by another policy. For example, home contents, travel or car insurance might cover your gadgets, so check before you invest.

What does gadget insurance cover?

As with all types of insurance cover, gadget cover insurance can vary among providers, but it usually covers three main areas: theft, accidental loss, and damage. Damage could include mechanical breakdown, loss of functionality, liquid damage or a cracked screen. Make sure you check the policy details for any exclusions so you have the cover you need. Most policies include multi-gadget insurance to cover all your tech, but you may need to list certain high-value items separately, as single-item limits may apply to your cover.

Your gadget insurance policy might also cover you for any gadgets you take on holiday. Check if this is worldwide cover or whether there are any limits. For example, your gadgets might only be covered if you’re travelling in Europe.

What devices are covered by gadget insurance?

  • Mobile phone
  • Smartwatch
  • Laptop
  • Tablet
  • E-reader
  • Apple devices – iPhone, iPad, etc
  • Camera and camcorder
  • Headphones (wired or wireless like AirPods)
  • Fitness tracker
  • Portable games console

What devices aren’t covered by gadget insurance?

There are some items that won’t be covered by gadget insurance. These can include:

  • Devices that aren’t listed under your policy – always check your policy details to see exactly what’s covered.
  • Content like apps, music, films, photos and files.
  • Old devices – there’s usually an age limit. For example, if your smartphone is more than three years old it might not be covered.
  • Refurbished or ‘second-hand’ devices, including items bought on online auction sites such as eBay.
  • Gadgets you didn’t buy yourself – for example, if it’s a gift and you don’t have the original receipt as proof of purchase. 

As with standard home insurance, there may also be a single item limit. If you own a very expensive gadget, it can be smart to list it separately on your policy or you might not be covered for the cost of replacing it.

Exclusions from gadget insurance cover

You should read your policy wording for full details, but here are some common examples of exclusions: 

  • Theft or damage due to negligent behaviour – if you leave your bag unattended and someone steals your phone, your insurance provider is unlikely to be sympathetic.
  • Items you can’t prove you owned – this is a tricky one. You’ll need some sort of proof of purchase when you make a claim. Ideally, a receipt is what you want, but sometimes photos or videos of you in possession of the item will be accepted.
  • Cosmetic damage – small scratches and dents to a phone, tablet or laptop won’t be covered, as they’re classed as general wear and tear.
  • Damage that’s covered by a warranty – you’ll be expected to claim on your warranty instead, which should usually replace your gadget for free.
  • Content/files – if you have any files, paid-for movies or music on a device that’s lost, stolen or broken, these usually won’t be covered.
  • Deferred period – when you take out a policy, there might be a ‘cooling off period’. This means you won’t be able to make any claims for items until a certain time after your policy starts. For example, if you insure a camera with a deferred period of three weeks but then break it on day two, it won’t be covered.
  • Gadgets not listed on your policy – this probably sounds obvious, but make sure you list all your gadgets on your policy or they won’t be covered.

Does my home insurance cover my gadgets?

Contents insurance generally covers your possessions inside the home against incidents such as theft, fire damage and flood damage. Unfortunately, it may not insure your gadgets for accidental damage or when you're outside the home.

However, you can usually take out add-ons to your home insurance: accidental damage insurance and personal possessions cover outside of the home.

When you compare home insurance with Comparethemarket, you can search for quotes that include these options. However, every policy is different so make sure you read the details before you buy.

What to look for in your home insurance policy for gadget insurance

With contents insurance, your gadgets are likely to be covered for loss, theft, and damage while they’re inside your home.

If you add accidental damage insurance, you can get cover for mishaps like dropping your phone down the toilet. You can also add personal possessions cover, which could cover your gadgets when you take them outside.

Here are some other things to look out for:

  • What are the conditions? For example, if you’re not covered when you leave your gadget unattended, how quickly do you need to report a theft? And are you covered if the incident happens while you’re overseas?
  • What’s the excess? If your gadgets are cheap and your policy has a high excess (the agreed amount you must pay to make a claim), you might find making a claim isn’t worth it. Find out more about insurance excess.
  • What’s the single article limit? Most policies have this, meaning there’s a maximum pay-out you can get for a high-value item. If you have gadgets worth more than this limit, you’ll need to add them individually to your policy.
  • What happens when a claim is made? If you damage your phone and need to claim, your insurance provider might check if it can be repaired. If it can’t, they’ll look to replace the phone with a like-for-like equivalent. But if that model no longer exists, you may get an equivalent newer version. So, check your insurance provider's policy on repair and replacement to know where you stand.

Is there another way to insure my gadgets?

Your gadgets might already be covered:

  • Some bank accounts come with insurance as part of the package
  • Some product warranties are designed to cover minor mishaps.

If you only want to cover your smartphone, consider dedicated mobile phone insurance. This usually offers more comprehensive cover than gadget insurance. For example, some policies include digital download cover for paid music, films and books you’ve downloaded.

It might be worth taking out a separate mobile phone policy if your handset is particularly expensive or you’re on a long-term phone contract. It might also give you more peace of mind if you have a habit of losing your phone.

How much does it cost to insure my gadgets?

How much it costs to insure gadgets varies quite a lot. That’s because the number of gadgets, and their value can also vary significantly. The main things to keep in mind are:

  • How many gadgets you’re insuring
  • The value of your gadgets
  • What you’re insuring them against (e.g. do you need accidental damage cover?)
  • The excess you’re happy to pay in the event of a claim.

Start your gadget insurance comparison

Comparethemarket can help you compare home contents insurance that could offer cover for your devices. To get a quote, you’ll need some basic information about your home and gadgets, including:

  • Any current home insurance policy documents
  • The level of cover you need
  • Details about your property
  • The value of your gadgets.

Once you’ve answered the questions in the comparison service, you’ll be provided with a list of suitable quotes. The results will also show you optional extras you might want to consider, such as accidental damage insurance.

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Frequently asked questions

Do I need gadget insurance if my device is still under warranty?

While most warranties cover mechanical failure and even screen damage, they might not cover theft. Gadget insurance can provide extra protection not covered by a warranty.

Can you insure gadgets over three years old?

Yes, you can insure gadgets no matter how old they are.

If your gadget came with a 12-month warranty which has since expired, you should think about insuring your gadget for that extra protection.

Does travel insurance cover your gadgets?

A standard travel insurance policy offers cover for personal belongings, but it’s unlikely to cover gadget insurance abroad. The single-item limit is usually quite low, so might not be enough to provide total cover for your smartphone and tablet.

So again, the advice is to check your policy details. If it doesn’t provide enough cover for your needs, consider adding travel gadget cover. This can be bought as an add-on to your travel insurance. You might find that some insurance providers offer a stand-alone policy).

What should I do if my gadget is stolen?

Call the police immediately. They’ll give you a crime number, which you’ll need to make an insurance claim. Then contact your insurance provider to start the claim process.

What if my gadget needs repairing?

Contact your insurance provider before getting it repaired. They may want you to use an approved repairer. If you choose one yourself, it could invalidate your cover and you won’t get a payout.

Can I get camera insurance with a home contents policy?

If you’ve got a top-of-the-range camera and want to protect it, you might find that camera insurance will fall under an existing home contents policy.

However, keep in mind that the best digital cameras can be very expensive, so can often be above the single-article limit, which is usually around £1,500. If you’re a serious photographer, your entire set of equipment, including lenses and flashes, could add up to several thousand pounds, so make sure you specify the camera and equipment individually on your policy.

What can I do to help a gadget insurance claim?

After the incident, you should contact your insurance provider as soon as possible.

Make sure you’ve kept any receipts for your gadgets. Having proof of purchase will help speed up the claim process. If you don’t have receipts, or other proof of purchase, your insurance provider may reject your claim.

If your gadget’s been stolen, the first thing you should do is contact the police and get a crime reference number. When you submit your claim with your insurance provider, make sure you include this number.

Think about registering your gadgets on a security site like Immobilise UK National Property Register. This could help police recover your items and make insurance claims easier to process if your devices are stolen.

Anna McEntee - Home, pet and travel insurance expert

Anna’s all about delivering fantastic insurance products at a great price. Value is the most important thing for Anna, as she cuts through the jargon and finds what’s most important and worth your hard-earned money.

Learn more about Anna

Andy Webb - Insurance expert

Andy Webb is an award-winning personal finance journalist and broadcaster. Combined, his Be Clever With Your Cash blog, Andy Clever Cash YouTube channel and Cash Chats podcast have been read, watched and listened to by millions.

Learn more about Andy

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