If you buy a new phone, camera or laptop, you may want to take out gadget insurance to cover the cost of replacing your device. Accidents can happen where devices are dropped or screens are broken. Sometimes devices can get lost or stolen. The cost of replacing them can be expensive, especially if you have the latest technology.
Gadget insurance protects you from unexpected events such as loss, theft, and accidents which may lead to you having to pay for a repair or replacement of your device. It is completely optional so you should take the time to consider what is most suitable to your needs.
You can take out gadget insurance on most portable electronic items such as:
- Mobile phones
- Digital cameras
- Hand held games consoles
What do I need to consider?
Similar to any other insurance policy, there may be some terms and conditions or exclusions that you need to think about before taking out gadget insurance:
- The guarantee/ warranty period – If the device becomes faulty after you buy it and it is still within the guarantee or warranty period, the manufacturer has responsibilities to resolve the issue. If you get gadget insurance, it usually only covers faults which occur outside of the manufacturers guarantee period. It is important to know that a guarantee or warranty normally won’t protect you if for example, you lose or drop the device, even if it is within the specified time period. Remember, you always have your rights under consumer law if a manufacturing fault occurs. Your consumer rights are the responsibility of the seller of the goods not the manufacturer.
- The cost of replacement – Consider the total cost of any insurance policy compared to how much it would cost you to replace the item to see if it makes financial sense. If the guarantee or warranty period has expired and you don’t have insurance, you may have to pay the cost of a repair or replacement of your device if the issue is due to accidental damage, misuse or wear and tear. If you take out gadget insurance that covers situations like accidental damage, loss or theft, the insurance company may pay for the cost of a repair or replacement once you make a claim.
- What is covered – Most insurers cover your item against accidental damage, liquid damage, theft, unauthorised calls after your phone is stolen, and most will include a period of cover when travelling abroad. Cover for loss is often not available for items other than phones, iPads and tablets.
- What situations aren’t covered – A policy might advertise that you are covered for theft, however certain exclusions may still apply. For example, if you left your phone in your car and it was stolen but it wasn’t hidden in a glove compartment or the boot then you may not be covered. Be sure to read the small print carefully to see what cover you are actually buying.
- When the cover begins – It’s important to remember that if you take out gadget insurance you may not be insured from the first day, there may be a period of time that is excluded, e.g. 14 days. This means that you won’t be able to make a claim, for example, if you drop or lose your device, within the first 14 days it is insured.
- How old your device is – Most insurers won’t insure a device that is older than two years and they won’t accept a claim for damage due to wear and tear. Again, consider the cost of replacing your device to see if insurance makes financial sense.
- Excess fee – If you make a claim, you will more than likely have to pay an excess. The excess usually increases with every claim you make. For example, if it is the first time your phone is stolen, the excess could cost between €30 – €60. But if your phone is stolen a second time and you are making another claim, the excess could cost double this amount. Most policies include a maximum amount of claims – generally two per year.
Where can I get gadget insurance?
You may be offered insurance from the business when buying a new phone, laptop or camera. You may be tempted to choose whatever insurance is offered by the business without giving it much thought. Although this is convenient, these types of insurance policies may not offer the best value for money and you may be able to find a better deal elsewhere. Sales staff may encourage you to take their offer but don’t be rushed into making a decision right away. Do some research beforehand and shop around to work out the best option for you.
Another option may be to include the item as part of your home insurance contents cover, but this could potentially cause your home insurance premium to increase if you make a claim. Some home insurance policies may not cover certain items so you may want to take out a specific insurance policy for your device.
Tips when looking for gadget insurance
If you decide that gadget insurance makes sense for you some tips to get the cover you need at the best price are set out below:
- Multiple devices – These days, many people have more than one device that they want to insure so it might be a good idea to take out insurance to cover all your devices under one policy. This will involve giving your insurance provider a maximum valuation for each device so they can determine the level of cover needed. In some cases when you insure multiple devices with one provider they may give you a discount.
- Shop around and compare quotes – When you decide which items you want to insure, you should compare quotes from different providers. Most insurance providers have their policy terms and conditions online, or you can call them to get a quote if you prefer. There are different levels of cover available but the cost mainly depends on the value of the item you insure.
How can I pay for my policy?
If you pay for your policy annually, you will have to pay the premium up front before cover takes effect. You will also have to renew your policy each year at a specified date.
If you pay for your policy monthly, then your policy will only be in place if the monthly premiums continue to be paid.
What if I change my mind and want to cancel?
When you take out an insurance policy online or by phone you are signing up to a contract with the insurance provider. Your consumer rights give you a “cooling off period” of 14 days from when you entered into the contract, where you can cancel the policy and get a refund of the premiums paid. However, the insurer may still charge an administration fee which should be set out in their terms and conditions. If you decide to cancel the policy after the cooling off period you may have to pay a cancellation fee and an administration fee. The amounts here will depend on your terms and conditions and how long you have left on your contract.