Tips on insuring your high-tech gadgets

Hi-tech gadgets are part of our everyday life. We regularly carry with us a combination of different gadgets: mobile phones, tablets, laptops, cameras, iPods and Kindles. It is not unusual to have up to €1,000 worth of gadgets with us on a daily basis.

Because these gadgets are portable, they are also vulnerable to theft, damage and loss. So the first question you need to ask is: Can I do without my gadgets? And can I afford to replace them? If the answer is no, it is worth considering gadget insurance options.

Before taking out dedicated gadget insurance cover, you need to do your homework. Does your home insurance offer sufficient cover for gadgets? Are your gadgets already covered through warranty, travel insurance, bank account or credit card?

The first thing you should do is carefully study your existing home contents insurance cover. You need to know what protection it offers, and you need to consider the potential impact of a claim for a gadget on your home insurance no-claims bonus. Many home insurance policies offer you the option of specifying which gadgets you want to insure. Take cell phones as an example. According to independent financial researcher Defaqto, over 300 home insurance policies in the UK provide cover for mobile phones within the home as standard.

Also, check the terms of any warranty you may have on your gadgets. For example, many people take out specialist gadget cover from a retailer when they buy their hi-tech device. Mobile phone insurance has become almost standard. Just remember that this might not be the best or most cost-effective option to take.

Sometimes, purchases made by a premium credit card or packaged bank account are also covered by a special warranty. While it may seem like a good idea to have extra protection for your gadgets, doubling up on insurance is not to your advantage. Also, carefully check your travel insurance terms to see whether they include gadgets – and which ones.

Be aware that in the event of a claim, insurers usually apply a ‘single article limit’ to items, including gadgets. This is the maximum amount an insurer will pay for an item, and this may differ between item types as well as between insurers. You need to decide whether you want to include accidental damage cover for your gadgets – and make sure you read the small print so that you know precisely how the insurer defines “accidental.”

Check the excess charged by your home insurer. If the excess is greater than the value of your gadget, it may be worth paying for a replacement yourself. Remember that cover for personal belongings in a car is typically only found on fully comprehensive policies, and tends to offer rather limited payouts.

For many people, the most valuable thing about their gadget is not the gadget itself – it’s the data stored on it. The trick is to regularly back up your data, music, photos, files, contacts and other information. The cloud offers a sure way of protecting your data, while physical back-ups such as home computers and detachable hard discs can also help you ensure that the loss of the gadget does not mean the loss of valuable data.