Make sure festive gifts are covered

Expensive gadgets may need more insurance, says Chiara Cavaglieri

If your home is going to be full of the latest gadgets this Christmas, whether it's an e-book reader, an all-singing tablet, or a snazzy smartphone, make sure you are protected. The festive period is a lucrative one for thieves: last December there were 23,000 burglaries, leading to claims totalling £35m, according to the Association of British Insurers.

"A pre-Christmas explosion of e-readers and tablets, such as the Amazon Kindle Fire HD, the iPad mini and the Google Nexus 7, as well as a glut of top-of-the-range smartphones, means that even more of us will be carrying around hi-tech gadgets worth hundreds of pounds come January," says Stephen Ebbett, the director of Protect Your Bubble.

With Christmas so close, now is the time to review your home insurance policy and ensure you're fully covered. Many insurers will automatically increase cover over the festive period, but this will vary by provider, so if you don't know, ask. Aviva, for example, tops up cover by an extra £3,000, while the Post Office offers a 10 per cent increase in contents cover during December 2012, as does Lloyds, subject to a maximum £3,000.

"If this isn't included then you should contact your insurer and inform them of the increase in valuable items in your home. It's also essential that any exceptionally expensive items, such as a piece of jewellery, are covered individually," Michael Ossei, a personal finance expert at uSwitch.com.

Even if you do have a temporary boost in cover find out how long this period lasts and then speak to your provider as soon as possible after Christmas to update the value of your household contents.

Home insurance premiums are based on the level of cover and the value of your contents, but if you're undercovered insurers will only pay out a percentage of the actual value if you make a claim.

Several providers and comparison sites have helpful online contents calculators to help you estimate the value accurately. Check the small print of your policy carefully. You need to know what could prevent you from making a claim. For example, you could have a claim turned down if you don't take steps to make your property secure.

Any temporary Christmas boost to cover is only applicable to items at home, so before you take your new gadget outside ensure you have additional protection. A standard contents insurance policy with accidental damage will only cover items at home, so you need "away-from-home cover" or "personal possessions cover" to protect items elsewhere. This should only add around £35 to your annual premium, however, you do need to check a few things. First of all, if you have any new valuables worth over £1,000 you will usually need to inform your insurer so they can list this individually on your policy.

Check whether you have a new-for-old policy, under which your items are replaced, or repaired as new, or a wear-and-tear policy, which will still pay out to replace or repair your items but with a reduction for depreciation. There is usually an excess to pay with both, the amount you pay towards each claim, which can be hundreds of pounds.

You also need to consider the potential impact of losing your no-claims bonus as portable items such as gadgets are more likely to be stolen or damaged, and if you make a claim, you could see your premium shoot up. If you're potentially paying a high excess and losing a generous discount, it may not be an effective way to insure specific items. You can insure items with standalone gadget insurance, which can be fairly cheap.

Insurance2go offers policies for tablets from £2.99 a month which covers theft, accidental damage, water damage, fire damage at home and abroad. The excess payable is £50 for accidental damage and £75 for theft and loss. With Protect Your Bubble you pay from £2.19 for e-readers and tablets (excess of £25, or £50 for iPads).

"Make sure your gadget insurance protects you worldwide against theft, accidental damage, liquid damage and mechanical breakdown outside the manufacturer's warranty," says Mr Ebbett. "To protect data – including e-books, music, photos and other files – back it up. Data back-up options range from online, cloud-based storage services, to USB drives or external hard drives."

Before paying out, however, check you aren't already protected. With smartphones you may be already paying for cover. For example, the Co-operative's Privilege account has perks including mobile insurance.

 

Protect your presents

Social media If you are going away this Christmas, don't advertise this to burglars on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site.

Locks Double-check that all doors, windows, sheds and garages are locked securely before you leave the house for a Christmas or New Year's Eve party.

Keys Keep spare keys out of sight to prevent burglar's using a hook and wire through your letter box.

Hide gifts Put Christmas presents out of sight, preferably in an attic or loft, instead of under the tree where they are an easy target for burglars.

Rubbish bins Don't leave packaging for your shiny new TV by the rubbish bins - it will only highlight that you something worth stealing.

Photos Take photos and keep serial numbers and receipts of expensive items, putting these safely away as proof of purchase to insurers.

 

Contents insurance

Based on £30,000 contents cover, no children

£134 Legal & General

£142 Swiftcover

£149 Endsleigh

Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Mario Balotelli in action during his Liverpool debut
football ...but he can't get on the scoresheet in impressive debut
Environment
Pigeons have been found with traces of cocaine and painkillers in their system
environmentCan species be 'de-extincted'?
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
A Pilgrim’s Progress is described by its publisher as “the one-and-only definitive record” of David Hockney's life and works
people
Sport
Loic Remy signs for Chelsea
footballBlues wrap up deal on the eve of the transfer window
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker
TV
Life and Style
Instagram daredevils get thousands of followers
techMeet the daredevil photographers redefining urban exploration with death-defying stunts
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'
TVDaughter says contestant was manipulated 'to boost ratings'
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    C# .NET Developer (PHP, Ruby, Open Source, Blogs)

    £40000 - £70000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: C# .NET ...

    Data Analyst/Developer (Good education, Data mining, modelling,

    £40000 - £70000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Ana...

    Law Costs

    Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...

    Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

    £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...

    Day In a Page

    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor