Insurance: You may be travelling light on gadget cover
Don't assume your holiday insurance fully protects your smartphone, MP3 player, tablet and other expensive, electronic gizmos, says Chiara Cavaglieri
Saturday 01 June 2013
A typical suitcase today is crammed full of modern gadgets with holidaymakers refusing to part with their smartphones, e-readers, MP3 players and tablets, but it seems that travel insurers are still stuck in the past. Expensive electronic gizmos are now everyday items for many travellers and you can easily find yourself walking around with more than £1,000 of equipment. But outdated limits on insurance policies could leave you with a nasty surprise should anything happen to them.
You may think you're covered by your travel policy, but when it comes to gadgets, many policies aren't worth the paper they are written on, potentially leaving you seriously out of pocket if you lose or damage your valuables on holiday.
"Most basic policies won't cover things like smartphones and may not give you enough cover for more expensive laptops or cameras. Often the maximum payout per item on this type of policy is between £100 and £300, so if you're planning on taking more pricey items away with you, it may be worth spending the extra money to get a more comprehensive policy," says Mhairi Duffin, head of travel at Confused.com.
Consumer organisation Which? recently looked at standard travel insurance policies from 20 of the largest insurers and found nearly all had set unrealistically low limits for both the cost of replacing one item and the overall valuables limit. Which? members calculated that they were carrying laptops worth on average £671, iPads at £428 and smartphones at £372, but all of the companies had a single item limit for valuables of only £300 or less, while Axa, Columbus Direct, Insure & Go and Virgin Money had a limit of just £200. This level of cover seems even more pathetic when you consider there is also an excess – the amount you have to pay towards a claim – which is set at £50 on most policies but rises to as much as £100 with some insurers.
Until travel insurers raise their limits, you may find that your home-insurance policy offers greater cover for valuables away from home. Providers typically offer bolt-on insurance to cover items away from home, charging around £50 on top of your annual premium and the same again if you want cover for accidental damage, although you may have to pay extra if individual items are worth more than £2,000. The big problem here, however, is that making a claim will increase your entire annual premium, particularly if you would lose any no-claims discount. It may be relatively cheap to add cover for pricey gadgets, but if you would lose any discounts you've built up over the years, your home insurance could rise considerably.
Arguably, taking out insurance with the gadget provider offers the most comprehensive cover because it protects you against all types of accidental loss and calls made on your smartphone. They also replace the gadget immediately so you don't have to be without your phone or laptop for long. The downside is that this is also the most expensive option, costing from £12.50 per month (an annual premium of £150) to cover iPhones, so you may prefer to look into standalone gadget cover from specialist providers such as Gadget Cover, Protect Your Bubble, Gadget Guardian and Supercover Insurance.
Policies cost from as little as £5.99 per month for smartphones and less for laptops. Packaged bank accounts often include standalone mobile-phone insurance as one of the benefits, although it is only worthwhile switching if you use all of the other benefits on offer. Most firms boast 48-hour replacement, as opposed to the weeks you might have to wait when claiming through a home-insurance policy.
This isn't much of a benefit if the firm is refusing to pay out though, so pay close attention to the policy wording. Browse online reviews to get an idea as to whether any given insurer has a history of refusing claims on technicalities. And remember: you can take complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) if you think your claim has been rejected unfairly.
"Gadget insurance is similar in many ways to mobile-phone insurance. With both products, we've found that the contracts can sometimes be rather restrictive – and there's sometimes a tendency to apply these terms strictly. As a result, we uphold a higher percentage of these cases than other forms of general insurance," says Martyn James of the FOS.
Standalone insurance will not cover accidental loss as standard. For example, you have to pay an extra £1 per month for this at Protect Your Bubble and some providers don't offer this as an optional extra at all. Worse, if you make a claim within the first year you may have to pay the full year's premium up front, so that cheap monthly premium may not be as good as it sounds.
Data from analysts Defaqto also show that although nearly all gadget-insurance policies provide cover for theft, 21 per cent of those do not provide cover if a gadget is stolen from a commercial vehicle or a convertible car. Cover against accidental loss is provided by 69 per cent of all policies either on an "optional" or "standard" basis, but again, not all policies cover all types of gadgets, with 21 per cent providing cover on a "restricted" basis, typically excluding laptops and computers.
Make sure that you understand exactly how any given provider defines a gadget and note all of the policy restrictions and excesses that apply.
Top tips for making a claim
Report it as soon as possible
Most insurers insist you report a theft of a gadget within 48 hours and obtain a crime reference number. You should also contact your network provider and insurance company straight away.
Take care of your possessions
You are expected to take “reasonable care” of your possessions outside the home. An insurer could reject your claim if you left a phone unattended.
Note and register the IMEI
Keep a record of your phone’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) code, which you will need if it is lost or stolen. This should be on the phone’s packaging or the handset. You can also find it on the SIM tray of your iPhone. Register the IMEI at the UK National Property Register, http://www.immobilise.com
Beware premium-rate numbers
Watch out for premium-rate numbers when making a claim
X Factor judge will appear in court later this month
The Google future, including microphones in every ceiling and data sent directly to your brain
- 1 Gurdwaras-turned-food banks: Sikh temples are catering for rise in Britain’s hungry
- 2 Council bans use of word ‘Commie’ – but ‘fascist’ and ‘Nazi’ are fine
- 3 The poorest pay the price for austerity: Workers face biggest fall in living standards since Victorian era
- 4 Newly vegan Beyoncé wears fox fur to dine in meat free restaurant
- 5 'I'm experiencing austerity as well', says Princess Michael of Kent
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£44000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Confide...
£25000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits : Harrington Starr: PHP Symfony2 Framewor...
£40000 - £55000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Harrington Starr: A leading pr...
£50000 - £60000 per annum + Bonus + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Market Data An...
Day In a Page
A three-bedroom Grade II-listed mews house with vaulted ceilings and roof garden
A spacious Grade II-listed family home with annexe and equestrian facilities among four acres of land in Itchingfield
A four-bedroom home with exposed brick walls and open fires in the picturesque village of Northill
A Grade II-listed property with five bedrooms and unique tower, overlooking Hastings Old Town
A charming five-bedroom detached family home, set within half an acre in Kew
A two-bedroom maisonette set on the top two floors of a period building, close to Kentish Town Tube.
Take advantage of the extra space provided by former stables and outbuildings at this five-bedroom farmhouse.
This three-bedroom Victorian terrace is near to Queen’s Road Peckham station, Nunhead station.
A five-bedroom modern house with terrace, swimming pool, Zen treehouse and large carp pond
An unexpected gem with four bedrooms, remarkable vaulted reception and a galleried study area
A five-bedroom house in one of Lymington's most sought after tree lined avenues, moments from the marinas and sailing clubs
A grand early 19th century B&B close to the historic harbour, with four en suite bedrooms
A four-bedroom, 17th century home with walled gardens, a landscaped terrace, cellar and open fires
A six-bedroom house with five bathrooms and four reception rooms spread over 4,000sq ft of luxury living space
A stunning three double-bedroom apartment with two decked terraces in the exclusive gated community, Bromyard House
A 10-bedroom period, family home amid beautiful surroundings in the centre of the Wentworth Estate in Longcross village
A stylish three-bedroom apartment with two bathrooms and private landscaped garden, moments from Fitzroy Square
A Grade II-listed Elizabethan barn with landscaped gardens, exposed elm beams and four bedrooms, all with lovely views
A six-bedroom family home, dating back to 1280 with four reception rooms, barn, swimming pool and tennis courts in Harwell
A spacious two-bedroom flat, refurbished to a very high standard with private landscaped garden, close to Kentish Town station
An exceptional two-bedroom apartment with balcony and underground parking in the centre of Richmond
A one-bedroom, luxury, duplex apartment in the grand landmark building, Imperial Hall
Run a fabulous boutique shop, live above it in a one-bedroom flat and let a second one-bedroom flat that comes part and parcel
A Grade-II listed, thatched cottage in Hundleby village, with five bedrooms, a coach house and three and a half acres
A spacious two-bedroom flat in the heart of Hoxton Square with wooden floors and roof terrace
A five-bedroom family home with stunning pool and gym complex set among two acres of land
A six-bedroom period house with heated swimming pool and a separate two-bedroom annexe cottage in Townlake, £795,000
A spacious and contemporary two-bedroom flat arranged over three floors, with garden patio close to St George Square, £600,000
A one-bedroom flat in a beautiful Regency building opposite the beach in Kemp Town, £190,000
A two-bedroom flat with London skyline views close to Surrey Quays. £395,000.
A seven-storey tower with three bedrooms and a stunning roof terrace. Guide price: £850,000.
A 16-bedroom country pile with nine reception rooms, four self-contained flats and a 13th century Peel Tower. £850,000.
A classic six-bedroom Victorian Manse house 10 miles from Edinburgh. £495,000.
John Lennon's childhood home in Liverpool to be sold at auction. Guide price: £150,000-£250,000.
A six-bedroom detached period property with secluded gardens, ample parking and a double garage in Rye, £675,000.
A large split-level property with three double-bedrooms and roof terrace, close to Crouch End Broadway, £625,000.
A charming barn conversion in the picturesque Cotswold village of Ilmington with three bedrooms, a detached garage, workshop and beautifully manicured gardens £675,000.
A three-bedroom new build, ground-floor flat with two bathrooms, close to Bermondsey tube, £445,000.
A three-bedroom house in an enviable new development moments from Oxshott High Street, with secluded garden and decked area, £385,000
A two-bedroom split-level flat with stunning south-west facing roof terrace in the popular Brondesbury Conservation Area, £549,950.