by Greg Medcraft, ASIC Chairman
Got a smartphone or tablet? These devices cost a lot of money and can be easy to damage or lose. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype and rush out to buy the latest device – but don’t forget to think about whether you need insurance.
There are two ways you can insure your portable electronic devices: you can add to your contents insurance or get separate portable cover.
If you already have contents insurance for your home it can be cost-effective to add your phone, tablet or laptop to your existing insurance. It will cost extra but if you need to claim it usually won’t affect your no-claim discount. Cover provided through contents insurance policies is also more likely to cover accidental loss of your device.
You can also buy insurance specifically for portable devices. Separate portable insurance can work well if you have no existing contents insurance. But be aware that some insurers won’t allow you to start a policy if your electronic device is not brand new.
Check what’s covered
Not all policies cover the same things. Check that the policy you are considering covers:
- replacement if the device is stolen
- reimbursement of unauthorised calls
- worldwide travel
- mechanical failure
- accidental loss.
Most policies don’t cover devices stolen in an unlocked vehicle or left unattended in a public place; nor do they cover general wear and tear. It is also important to know that most policies don’t give you a new device if the one you’ve lost is a few years old. Most only cover you for the current value of your device.
Making a claim
If your portable device has been stolen you’ll usually have to notify the police within 48 hours and your insurance provider within 14 days. Proof of purchase such as a receipt should be enough to prove you own the device.
Remember if someone steals your phone, laptop or tablet, they can get more information from it than they can from your wallet. So keep your devices safe and be careful with your passwords.
If your device is stolen you should immediately disable SIM or internet cards. Ask your phone provider to clear your personal phone data if you have anti-virus software. You can locate your phone via GPS if you have this facility on the phone.
Is it worth insuring your mobile devices?
Think about what it would cost if you had to replace your tablet or smart phone. If you’re happy you can cover the full cost you may decide insurance isn’t needed – but if you have an expensive device and travel often you may decide to get cover because there is a reasonable chance of something going wrong.
Whatever your decision, make sure you know all the facts about what is included and excluded in your policy.