Electronic gadgets are now an important part of our everyday lives and most of us will take tech with us when we leave the house: be it just a mobile phone or that, a tablet, camera and smartwatch!
And with the iPhone 6s Plus costing as much as £789 at launch, we're carrying things that would be very expensive to replace in the event that they were lost or damaged. Cost isn't the only concern either, as the kinds of devices we're talking about give us access to important and personal things like messages from friends and family, photos and banking apps.
So it's becoming ever more important to make sure you insure your tech arsenal against theft, damage and unauthorised use.
What does gadget insurance cover?
As always, it will depend on your provider and you should always check. But at TSB, our Pick & Protect Gadget Cover protects portable electronic devices that operate under battery power. So we include things like mobile phones, tablets, laptops, digital cameras, e-readers (such as a Kindle) and handheld games systems and their accessories. We also cover headphones and camera lenses.
Some providers sell specific insurance products that focus on one type of gadget - you may see camera cover, mobile phone or tablet insurance advertised, for example. These products may be a little cheaper than an all-encompassing gadget insurance policy, but are obviously limited to protecting just the named item rather than multiple products.
Aren't these items covered on my home insurance?
If you have traditional home insurance, you'll probably have a degree of protection. Provided you have appropriate cover, your tech should be covered in the event of a burglary or fire. Accidental damage cover may also help if you damage your phone at home.
Personal possessions cover is intended to cover items that you commonly take out of the home with you. But you may find that it either doesn't cover your electronic gadgets or isn't well suited to protecting gadgets - excesses on home insurance claims tend to be higher than on gadget cover and making a claim could have an impact on the price of your home insurance in the future.
Do you already have gadget cover?
Some financial products like packaged current accounts come with mobile phone insurance bundled, so if you only need to protect your handset and have a bank account with a fee, it's probably worth checking whether you already have access to cover.
Remember to check the level of cover to make sure it provides what you need. If it doesn't, it might be worth considering alternatives. For example, if you have more than just a phone, you might want a policy that covers all your gadgets. Or you may need one that covers all phones registered at your address.
You may also have insurance from your mobile network or the retailer you bought your gadget from, so always make sure you check - you can only claim on one policy, so there's no point paying for more!
Benefits of tailored gadget cover
Often, specialist gadget insurance will have a lower excess than a home insurance policy. This means that the amount you will have to pay towards each claim would be lower. Also, if you were to claim for loss or accidental damage of a gadget on your home insurance, it would affect your whole home insurance premium when you come to renew or change insurer - if you hold separate gadget cover, a claim will only impact the cost of that policy. The same will apply if you have gadget cover as an add-on to your home insurance policy, as with TSB Pick & Protect.
Many gadget policies provide cover worldwide and have elements to the policy that are specific to your gadgets and that you might not find in a traditional personal possessions policy - they may cover the value of any material downloaded to a phone, for example, or cover against costs of unauthorised use.
Cover limits are likely to be more appropriate for modern electronics and you might find that claims are settled quicker, as the insurance is designed for just portable electronics claims and will use suppliers who deal only in those items.
Why should I insure my mobile phone? It was only cheap!
Mobile phones are expensive bits of kit, but are often sold with a contract that allows the network or retailer to spread the cost to you over 18 or 24 months. The £789 iPhone mentioned earlier can be yours for less than £100 when attached to a network contract. But in the event that it needed replacing, it would cost you the full price, not just what you paid up front.
Won't my travel insurance policy cover my gadgets when I'm abroad?
As ever, the only way to know is to check your policy documentation. But it's worth noting that travel insurance isn't always designed specifically to protect gadgets, so you could find that there are limits on the amount you could claim per incident. For example, a £1,000 limit per claim could leave you out of pocket if your bag was stolen on holiday with both your iPad and digital SLR in.
To insure, or not to insure?
As always with insurance, you need to consider what you would do in the event that you should lose or damage your gadgets. Would you need to replace them quickly? Would you be able to afford to buy replacements? And should you decide that insurance is the way to go, compare your options to make sure you get the right level of cover for you and your precious gear!