Laptop insurance

With the most expensive laptops retailing at thousands of pounds, it’s well worth thinking about how you can protect them against damage, theft and more. We take a look at the options.

With the most expensive laptops retailing at thousands of pounds, it’s well worth thinking about how you can protect them against damage, theft and more. We take a look at the options.

Chris King
From the Home team
8
minute read
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Posted 7 JULY 2021

How can I insure my laptop?

Laptop insurance can help cover you financially if your laptop is stolen, lost or damaged. But there are a few things to think about when deciding on the best laptop insurance for you.

Laptop insurance can be included as part of your home contents insurance or you can buy standalone laptop insurance to cover it – however, the latter isn’t something you can compare with Compare the Market.

Is my laptop covered on my home insurance policy?

Yes, potentially. A home contents policy can cover your laptop if it’s stolen or damaged in your home – by a fire, for example. And including a laptop in your home insurance cover is typically cheaper than taking out a separate policy. You might find that your laptop is already covered by your existing home policy, but there are a few things to check:

  • If you’ve got a top-of-the-range laptop worth more than a certain amount, it may exceed the single item limit – the maximum amount your policy will pay out for one item. The single item limit is often around £1,500, but do check each policy to confirm. If your laptop exceeds the single item limit it will need to be listed separately, likely at an extra cost.
  • Your laptop may not be covered for accidental damage, for example, if a cup of tea was spilt on the keyboard and broke it. If it isn’t, you may be able to add accidental damage insurance to your policy at an extra cost.

How do alternatives, like dedicated laptop insurance, work?

As with home insurance, separate laptop insurance could protect your laptop against loss, a broken screen, breakdowns and mechanical failure, as well as theft and damage. Some policies will include cover for accessories, taking your laptop abroad and multiple other gadgets.

But policies vary and you’ll need to check carefully to see what’s covered, and in what circumstances. You should also check whether your home insurance policy already offers you enough cover – particularly if you take your laptop outside your home – you don’t want to end up paying for the same insurance twice.

Is my laptop covered when I’m out and about?

If you like working in cafes, or you need to take your laptop to and from work, you’ll want to be sure it’s protected.

Most home-insurance policies will only cover items when they’re inside your home. If you want financial protection for your laptop when you’re out and about, you can add cover for possessions outside the home at an extra cost.

What won’t laptop insurance cover?

Policy limits and exclusions vary from provider to provider. But, even with possessions-outside-the-home cover, you probably won’t be covered if:

  • your laptop is stolen when you’ve left it unattended – in a cafe, for example
  • your laptop is stolen from a car, unless it’s locked away and out of sight
  • theft from your home, unless there is evidence of forced entry
  • your laptop gets hacked and you’re unable to use it – unless you have a very comprehensive policy or a cyber policy
  • you make a claim within the deferment period – typically the first 14 days of a policy
  • some policies may not cover refurbished devices at all, while others may not cover refurbished devices unless they have a 12-month warranty

You also won’t be covered for:

  • wear and tear – if your laptop gets a bit scruffy or the keyboard fills up with crumbs, you won’t be able to claim for the cost of a new one
  • mechanical faults while your laptop is still under warranty

You’ll also need to check whether your laptop insurance will cover you if you’re travelling abroad.

Does laptop insurance cover computer viruses?

It depends on the policy. Some won’t cover any lost data, some will offer limited cover, say if the music you keep on your laptop is lost, and some will cover repairs if your laptop is harmed by a virus. If you’re a malware magnet you might want to look for a more comprehensive computer insurance policy or add on a cyber policy, but in any case, always check the details carefully.

Is laptop insurance really necessary?

Laptops are often valuable, so they’re attractive to thieves. Plus, we all know how fragile laptop screens can be.

But whether laptop insurance is worth it will depend on the value of your device – both in real terms and to you personally. Each insurance policy has an excess – the amount you pay towards a claim. If you have a machine that’s not financially valuable, the excess might be more than it would cost just to replace it. Be aware that the excess on a home contents insurance policy might be higher than on a standalone gadget insurance policy.

Can I insure any laptop?

Unfortunately not. Some insurance providers won’t insure older laptop models. There’s usually a maximum gadget age of around three years, and many insurance providers are hesitant to insure second-hand laptops or computers.

Also, if you do a job that’s considered ‘risky’ in the eyes of insurance providers and use your laptop for work, you might find it tricky to get insurance.

Where can I find computer/laptop insurance?

Keen to find a home insurance policy that covers your laptop? Compare the Market’s simple comparison tool can help you compare quotes from a wide range of UK insurance providers. Just tell us a little bit about yourself and the computer/laptop you want to insure, and we’ll do the rest.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need laptop or computer insurance if I’ve got a warranty?

New laptops and computers will come with warranties, but these typically only cover mechanical failures. They won’t cover you if your laptop is stolen, lost or damaged. Check the details of your warranty so you know exactly what’s covered and if you’ll need additional insurance.

Is my laptop insured if it gets stolen?

Yes, potentially. But generally, a policy won’t pay out if your laptop is stolen while you’ve left it unattended – in a cafe or in the university library, for example. Likewise, if your laptop is stolen from your car your claim is unlikely to be paid if the laptop wasn’t locked away out of sight of thieves.

What should I do if my laptop is stolen?

You’ll need to report the theft to the police and get a crime number. Some policies set a specific time limit on how soon the incident needs to be reported, so as soon as you realise your laptop has been stolen, check your policy details and make sure to report it in time. Also check to see if there are any other requirements you need to meet.

What should I do if my laptop is broken and needs repairing?

If it’s a mechanical failure and your laptop is still under warranty, you should make a claim on that. Otherwise it may depend on what’s broken and how it happened as to whether you can claim on your home or gadget insurance. Check your policy for details.

Do I need proof of ownership to be able to claim?

To reduce fraud, insurance providers may ask for proof of ownership so they can be certain that the gadget you are claiming for is yours. So make sure you keep your receipts or have proof of purchase via a bank or credit card statement. If you’ve been given your laptop as a gift, then you might need a gift receipt.

If I opt for gadget insurance will I have to buy a separate policy for every item?

Not necessarily. Some policies will allow you to insure up to a set maximum number of gadgets, like laptops, mobile phones, games consoles, cameras, tablets and so on.

Will I get a new laptop if I make a claim?

It depends. Some policies will pay out in cash while others will provide an equivalent replacement. The aim of the policy, generally speaking, is to put you back in the same position as you were before the loss or damage. If your laptop can’t be replaced with an identical version of a similar age, you’ll get one that has a comparable specification. However, it won’t necessarily be the same colour or possibly even the same manufacturer as the original item.

Will my accessories be covered by my policy?

Often policies will cover accessories, like headphones, being stolen or damaged up to a fixed amount. Some policies will also specify that if they need to replace your laptop and your existing accessories aren’t compatible with your new device they will cover the cost of new ones up to a set limit.

Will I need to register my laptop on Immobilise?

Some insurance providers might ask you to register your device on Immobilise – the UK National Property Register. It helps police identify the owners of recovered property thousands of times every day, so it might help track down a missing laptop – which could be a blessing if you haven’t backed up your files recently. Check your policy to see if you need to register.

Is student laptop insurance necessary?

If you’re a student, you’ll need to check if your laptop will be covered under your parent’s home insurance while you’re at university. If you’ve got contents insurance on your student house check that policy to see if you’re covered or if you need additional laptop cover. Some insurance providers specialise in insurance for college students – so it could be worth taking a look at their policies as they may be better suited to your needs. But always check what cover you are getting in the policy details to make sure it’s the best for your situation.

How can I protect my laptop from theft and damage?

Here are a few tips:

  • When taking your laptop out, use a bag with good padding. That way if you drop it accidentally, there’s a chance it will survive the impact.
  • Keep your laptop bag in in your eyeline and avoid putting it on the floor where possible – if you have to, put it between your feet so you’re aware of it.
  • Have restraints on your laptop (eg: locks that attach it to a table or desk). These won’t necessarily stop a thief walking off with it, but can make it less tempting.
  • Consider installing tracking software to find your device if it’s lost or stolen.
  • Store your laptop in a locked drawer when you’re not using it.
  • If you’re flying, make sure you put your laptop into your carry-on luggage, even if it does make going through security more complicated.
  • Keep liquids away from your laptop when you’re working.
  • Use passwords and encryption to keep your data and information safe.
  • Don’t forget to back up your information regularly to minimise the impact of losing your laptop.

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