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Table of Contents
What are the best gadget insurance policies?
These gadget insurers specialise in insuring your gadgets – and really understand what kind of cover you need.
What is gadget insurance?
Gadget insurance, as the name suggests, protects your home gadgets (cameras, mobile phones, sat nav equipment, laptops, smartwatch etc.) against accidental damage, theft, loss, liquid or fire damage or mechanical failure depending on the level of cover chosen. Mobile phone insurance can also protect you against unauthorised calls if someone steals your phone.
Over a third of British households now have gadget insurance. Whether you're looking for tablet insurance, phone insurance or laptop cover, it's a worthwhile way to protect your kit.
Do you need gadget insurance?
Ask yourself: could you afford to pay to replace all your gadgets if they were damaged or stolen? If not, gadget insurance is worth considering. You should also think about
- whether you need your gadgets to do your job,
- whether you take your gadgets out and about with you a lot.
Just repairing a cracked phone screen can cost over £100. With over one in ten UK gadget owners saying they've cracked a screen recently, and almost as many saying they've had water damage to one of their gadgets, there are a lot of people heading to the repair shop or to buy a new gadget. And many of those people will be out of pocket. A few pounds a month isn't much to pay to ensure you're protected.
|Cost of repair|
|Broken phone touchscreen||£50-70|
|New screen for cheap tablet||£110-140|
|Broken tablet screen - Apple iPad Pro||£480|
|SIM card reader replacement||£50|
|Water damage data recovery||£180-250|
|New wi-fi chip||£50-80|
If you have personal possessions ('all risks') cover as part of your home insurance, it covers your gadgets when you're away from home. You might not need specific gadget insurance if this meets all your requirements.
How much does gadget insurance cost?
Gadget insurance prices differ depending on which gadget, and how many gadgets, you're insuring, but as a rule of thumb, a top of the range smartphone could cost £70-90 a year to insure; that's just £6 a month. Compared to the cost of the phone, that's peanuts.
|Cost of a new...||Purchased Price||Insurance|
|iPad Pro 2020||£769||£12.50 a month to insure|
|Samsung Galaxy A20e||£159.99||£6|
|HP15 Slim laptop 512Gb||£699.99||£10.50|
|Canon EoS 250DVlogger kit (camera+tripod)||£649.99||£6|
*Insurance cost can vary, depending on the insurer
How does gadget insurance work?
Some policies protect a single gadget, or you can buy an umbrella gadgets insurance that covers all your gadgets with a single policy.
You'll pay an annual or monthly premium, in return for which you're covered in accordance with your policy details. If anything happens to your gadgets, you can claim on the insurance by contacting the insurer.
What does gadget insurance covers?
Gadget insurance can cover various types of gadget, and will cover them for theft, loss, or accidental damage. You'll be covered for a like-for-like replacement and you may also be covered against unauthorized calls or payments made using your gadget.
Cover will include
- water damage,
- accidental damage,
- unauthorized calls (with mobile phone cover),
It may also include loss, though this is often an add-on and you'll have to pay extra for it. (You probably know if you're a 'loser' - if you are, this cover can be well worth taking. The same goes for accident-prone gadget owners.)
You'll probably also be covered for
- gadget travel insurance - worldwide travel for a limited period,
- at least two, and potentially unlimited claims, so if you drop your phone twice, you're okay.
What does gadget insurance not cover?
Some insurers won't insure a phone over a certain age, eg 6 months or 2 years. Most insurers won't cover a phone bought outside the UK. You won't be able to insure a phone you bought second hand, or which has been refurbished. And you'll need proof of purchase to insure your new gadget.
You won't be covered if you don't take reasonable care. For instance, if you've left your phone on a table in a restaurant or left your laptop on the bus, no insurer will pay out on a claim. Some policies will cover you if you leave your phone in your car, but only if it's out of sight (in the glove box or the boot). If you leave it on the passenger seat, you're not covered.
Some policies won't cover a gadget if you use it for work. Make sure you check before you take out insurance. That's particularly important for laptop insurance.
Your paid-for downloads and apps are unlikely to be covered. You can't claim for the cost of going on holiday again to recapture those holiday photos, either. So if you have loads of data on your gadget, make sure you have a backup.
What are gadget insurance optional extras?
Some optional extras are well worth considering if you really can't live without your phone for example:
- 48-hour guaranteed replacement gets you back in action within two days.
- Extended warranty cover protects you against faults if the device simply breaks down.
- Loss of your phone or gadget.
Which kind of gadget are covered by gadget insurance?
While smartphones are the most commonly covered gadget, you can get insurance for many more types of gadget;
- e-reader, like Kindle,
- MP3 player,
- digital camera,
- games console,
- fitness tracker, or
- smart watch.
Basically, if it's electronic and portable, it's a gadget.
Top 10 tips to save money on your gadget insurance
- Shop around! Make sure you compare cover from different insurers - the cheapest quote can sometimes be less than half as much as the most expensive! Compare mobile phone insurance and you can cut your premiums in half.
- Choose the right level of cover. If you don't need 48 hour guaranteed replacement, for instance, it's not worth paying extra for.
- Check whether your gadgets are already covered by your home insurance policy. Your home insurance may also cover them both at home (regular policies) and away from home (if you have personal possessions cover).
- Check whether you have travel insurance with gadget cover. If this is the only time you take certain gadgets out of your house, it may provide the cover you need.
- If you have a premium bank account, check whether it gives you gadgets insurance as part of the package. If you have a joint bank account it will cover your partner's gadgets as well.
- Consider buying a cheaper gadget rather than top of the range - it could be much cheaper to insure.
- Don't buy gadget insurance from the retailer or service provider - it's usually more expensive. (On the other hand, if you're really reliant on a phone, network providers' insurance is usually the quickest way to get a new phone, as they'll courier you a replacement.)
- Not all gadgets need cover. If you have one that you don't take outside your home, or that's low value, extra gadget insurance may not be worthwhile.
- Multiple gadget cover will usually give you a discount for each extra gadget you add, up to a certain number of gadgets.
And just to try to ensure you don't have to claim too often, put a little of your spare cash to work protecting your gadgets from harm. Get a laptop or camera cover, a screen protector for your phone, or a hard case for your GoPro. Admittedly this tip might not save you money, but it will definitely save you hassle.
Can I cover my gadgets with my home contents insurance?
Your home contents insurance may cover your gadgets. First of all, your home insurance will cover them when they're at home; and secondly, if you take them out and about, you may be covered if your policy includes personal possessions ('all risks') cover.
But there are a few reasons you might not want to rely on this.
- Your home insurance may have a 'single item' limit that's not as high as the cost of a top-of-the-range tablet or laptop.
- The excess on your home insurance might be higher than the cost of your gadget. If you have a £500 excess, but your smartphone only cost £299, you're not going to be able to claim.
- Your home insurance might not cover accidental damage.
- Home insurance probably won't cover unauthorized calls, which is a big part of the peace of mind that a good smartphone policy can give.
The biggest reason for not relying on your home insurance, though, is that if you have to claim on a gadget, you'll lose your no-claim discounts. Insurers always ask, before they give you a quote, if you have made a claim in the last five years.
That means your premiums will increase - and on a £200-300 home buildings and contents insurance over five years that could make a hefty sum.
|Home contents insurance||Gadget insurance|
|Theft of gadget from home||Yes||Yes|
|Theft of gadget outside home (regular contents insurance)||No||Yes|
|Theft of gadget outside home (if you have personal possessions cover)||Yes||Yes|
|Accidental damage||Only some policies or as paid-for extra||Yes|
|Unauthorised calls covered||No||Yes|
If you have separate gadget insurance, your claim won't affect your home insurance. So although it's an extra premium, it might actually save you money in the long run - particularly if you're a 'loser'!
Just for the record, we looked at home contents insurance vs gadget insurance for an iPad Pro 11, which costs £669. While the contents insurance is cheaper, it doesn't give the same cover - and if you claimed for a stolen iPad last year, the premiums rise by £20-30, besides which you would only get a payout of £319. Your gadget insurance would have paid out £619 and wouldn't increase.
|Cost of insurance, per year||Cost of insurance - one claim for £600 made last year||Excess||Can I claim on a stolen/lost/accidentally damaged iPad?|
|Home insurance - no out-of-home cover||£58.24||£70.03||£350|
|Home insurance + personal possessions cover||£80.76||£101.23||£350|
|Home insurance + accidental damage cover||£89.10||£117.28||£350|
Home insurance - contents only, London three bed flat.
How to cancel my gadget insurance?
There are two different ways to cancel, depending on whether you want to cancel in the first 14 days, or later.
- The first 14 days after you buy a policy are known as the 'cooling off period' and you have the right to change your mind. You'll usually need to send written notice and include the documents - but phone or email first to give yourself peace of mind and find out if there are any particular requirements.
- After that, things depend on whether you have signed up to a full year or to a monthly rolling policy. You'll need to check your policy documents. If it's a longer term policy you may need to pay a fee to cancel early, and if you've made a claim, you will have to pay till the end of the contract period.
How to make a claim on my gadget insurance?
The first thing to know about claiming on your gadget insurance is that you need to strike while the iron is hot - generally you'll need to notify your claim within 24 hours. Some insurers give you even less time, just 12 hours to make a claim. Always check your policy details to find out exactly how long you have!
Your insurer will have a preferred way for you to claim, whether that's by phone, or via an online portal. You'll need to be able to provide the original receipt for your gadget.
If your gadget was stolen, you will need to contact the police and get a crime reference number (CRN) to give to the police.
If you're claiming for damage, the insurer will probably ask for you to send the broken gadget in for repair or as proof of the damage.
Some insurers will send you cash. Others will arrange for a repair or for a replacement gadget to be sent to you - which is why they need to know exactly what gadget you're insuring. If this makes a difference to you, make sure you check the policy carefully before clicking the 'buy' button.
What are the best gadget insurance policies?
We have a number of trusted providers who are reliable insurers.
Do remember to check the cover levels in detail before you sign on the dotted line. Some cheap mobile phone insurance cuts corners by limiting your claims or cover. If you really need extensive travel cover for an expensive laptop, don't just get the cheapest insurance - it could be a false economy. Likewise, the best mobile phone insurance may not be the cheapest iphone insurance policy you can get, if it only has a small claims allowance.
Do I need gadget insurance if my gadget is under warranty?
Gadget insurance offers protection that your warranty doesn't.
Your warranty will cover your gadget against mechanical breakdowns. But it won't cover theft or accidental damage. So if your touchscreen stops working because of a fault, it's covered by the warranty; but if you drop your phone and crack the screen, or your phone is pinched, it's not.
|Mechanical breakdown||Within warranty period||After warranty period|
Is my gadget covered if I leave UK?
Most insurers will cover a limited number of days abroad so that you can take your gadget on holiday with you. The terms vary by insurer.
Gadget Cover gives you 180 days a year. Nova Direct gives 90 days a year, while Trusted Insurances gives 30 days. However, repairs must usually be handled in the UK.
Note that your travel insurance might also cover you for gadgets,
Can I get multi-gadget insurance?
Some insurers will allow you to insure multiple gadgets in a single policy. For instance Protectyourbubble.com and MultiGadget Insure allow you to insure up to 10 and 5 separate gadgets respectively. DynamoGadget also provides multi-gadget cover.
|Items||Monthly premium||Additional premium||Average per gadget|
|plus Canon Eos 70D camera||£14.38||£3.89||£7.19|
|plus iPad Pro 12.9"||£14.99||£0.61||£4.99|
Discounts vary from 5% up to 15% per extra gadget. Some insurers offer bigger discounts the more gadgets you add.
However, because you'll generally be insuring a mix of different types and values of gadget, it can be difficult to specify how much that discount will affect your premiums.
How can I claim on a stolen gadget?
To claim on a stolen gadget you will need to notify both your insurer and the police as soon as you realise the gadget has been stolen. You'll then need to get the Crime Reference Number (CRN) from the police and forward this to your insurer. You'll also need the serial number of the gadget that was stolen.
If you have had a smartphone stolen you must tell your network provider as soon as possible. If you don't, your insurer might not pay out on unauthorised calls that have been made on your phone.