What is gadget insurance?
Many of us own gadgets such as laptops, smart phones, tablets, and digital cameras. These items can be expensive to replace, so you can buy insurance to protect your devices. Gadget insurance can cover:
- or damage
to your devices. But the level of cover will depend on the terms and conditions of the insurance policy.
Did you know?
You can buy worldwide cover. This covers your gadgets while you’re travelling, up to a maximum number of days each year.
What might gadget insurance cover?
What do I need to consider?
When you buy a mobile phone, camera, laptop or tablet, the trader may also offer to sell you gadget insurance. You do not have to buy this insurance. You can arrange insurance yourself. If you are considering gadget insurance, you should think about the following:
- Do I really need to buy it?
- What is the full price of this insurance for the year? Some policies have a reduced premium for the first few months.
- How much will the insurance cost over the lifetime of the gadget? For example, how many years do you expect to use the gadget for before replacing it? Compare the price of the device with the cost of insuring it. This will help you to decide whether insuring it is worthwhile.
- Do you already have insurance that will cover damage? For example, is it covered on your home insurance? If there is cover under your home insurance policy, remember to check the excess, as it may be higher than the cost of replacing the gadget. A phone call to your home insurance company will confirm these details. Remember, if you make a claim on your home insurance, your premium is likely to increase.
- When you buy a gadget from a business, you have consumer rights. If the gadget you bought becomes faulty, you are entitled to return it and get redress. You do not need insurance to cover a faulty product.
- Even if you want to buy gadget insurance, don’t feel rushed into a decision by a sales person. You may be able to find cheaper insurance or better cover by shopping around.
- You may only be able to take out gadget insurance on devices that are less than one year old.
Check the insurance policy small print:
- How much is the policy excess? This is the amount you have to pay before any claim you make is paid out to you.
- Are there exclusions? You may not be covered if you lose your device, or you may need to specifically request this cover and pay a higher premium. Breakdown of laptops and computers is generally not covered. You may not be covered for theft if your device was left in an unlocked car.
- You may need to provide proof of use for a mobile phone. This proof is between the date your insurance policy started, and the date of the incident that you are claiming for. This may be difficult if you have a pay as you go phone.
- If your phone is lost or stolen, your operator may charge you for any unauthorised calls made before you reported it as lost or stolen. Mobile phone insurance policies will often cover the cost of these unauthorised calls. But the cover may only apply if you reported the loss/theft to your mobile company and the Gardaí within 24 hours. If you are abroad, you report the loss/theft to the police service in that country.
- While your device is being repaired, will your insurance company provide you with a temporary replacement? If so, will it be a similar make and model?
- If your device has to be replaced, will it be a refurbished product or new one?
- Your policy may limit the number of claims that can make within a specified period.
- Insurance companies have different procedures when it comes to renewing your insurance. Some of them automatically renew on a monthly or annual basis. Others require you to choose to renew your policy every 12 months.
- Generally, with gadget insurance, you can only make a claim 14 days after taking out the cover, or 14 days after making any amendment to the policy.
- If you have more than one gadget, it may be cheaper to get a policy with multi-cover as opposed to buying separate policies for each gadget.
- Remember to check the excess and make sure your device is worth insuring, as the excess you have to pay may be higher than the cost of replacing the gadget.
- If you replace the insured gadget, remember to inform your insurance company of the change so that the new gadget is insured. It is best to do this in writing.
- If you buy insurance when you are buying a new gadget, remember to cancel any existing insurance on your old gadget.
- Electronic products reduce in value quickly, so you may only want gadget insurance for a limited period, for two years for example. If this is the case, set a reminder for two years’ time and decide whether you want to cancel or keep the insurance cover.
How do I make a claim?
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Explain to them what has happened and ask them what your next steps are. Remember that some insurance companies specify the timeframe within which you must report a claim.
You may be asked to complete a claim form and submit supporting documentation, which may include:
- proof of purchase
- proof of use or
- a Garda/police report
When you make a claim, an insurance company must:
- send you a claim form within five business days of being informed of the claim
- offer to help you with the claim
- make sure that any offer made following the claims process is fair to you
- tell you within 10 business days once they have decided on the claim
- allow you 10 business days to accept or reject the offer
- pay out on the claim within 10 business days of you accepting the offer
- if they refuse your claim, they must set out their reasons why in writing
You can find more information on the responsibilities of insurance companies and claims in the Central Bank of Ireland’s Consumer Protection Code 2012.
Last updated on 6 April 2022