A Guide to Insuring your Walking Wealth

A Guide to Insuring your Walking Wealth

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There was a time when on leaving our homes, places of work, friend’s houses, hotels, etc the only items of any specific value found about our persons were our car and house keys; and even then they weren’t of direct worth to any unscrupulous types whose preying hands they might have fallen into, if that is you simply hadn’t just misplaced the keyringed conduits between yourself and your most expensive investments.

OK, you would have probably been armed with a wallet or purse too, complete with a couple of bank cards and cash for good measure, but again even if these items fell into the wrong hands they (well, the cards at least) wouldn’t be of any immediate use/street value.

But nowadays there’s a host of gizmos we choose to take out and about with us when he lock the door behind us and jump in the car/on the bus/train/tube/etc or instead walk to our intended destinations.

In no particular semblance of order (monetary of emotional) we typically have our smartphones, tablets, laptops, gaming consoles, iPod and so on and so forth, as we aim to keep in continuous touch with/visually document the outside world in which we’re interacting with as we write this/photograph that/upload the finished 140-character article.

And let’s face facts, all the aforementioned electronic kit and caboodle will be the very latest, state-of-the-art variations on a technologically-advanced theme which would have cost us an arm and a leg to buy in the first place. Or rather, cost whoever the benefactor was if we’re referring to expensive gifts.

Which is why it’s even more imperative that we look to safeguard all this electro-gubbins as we go about our daily business/pleasure/leisure. Which is exactly where dedicated gadget insurance policies come into their own. Did you know that, give or take a few quid either way, the average value of our walking wealth at any one time (‘walking wealth’ being the current buzzword for the more traditional ‘kit and caboodle’ we facilitated earlier) is said to be in the statistically-proven region of £972 pounds?

Just stop and think about that for a minute. Nigh on a grand’s worth of tech secreted about your person every time you slam the front door behind you (in terms of how much it would generally cost to replace a smart this and a compatible that with like for like new products of the same ilk were they to be damaged, mislaid or half-inched). And if you fess up, the propensity to damage, lose or worst case scenario, be physically relieved of smartphones, iPods, laptops, games devices, etc is a clear and present one/danger which certainly needs to be addressed.

But stopping short of hiring your own 24 hour bodyguard to protect your tech belongings, what’s the next best option available to the man/woman on the street? Well we can tell you that in our humble opinion it’s to invest in a little bespoke insurance. From losing a camera whilst travelling to accidently flushing our phones down the loo to leaving our iPods in jeans’ pockets as they enter the inner sanctum of the no-prisoner-taking washing machine, where there’s a perverse will, there’s always a way in which our portable tech could meet with a tragic and untimely end. Hence why it makes obvious sense to protect our walking wealth.

Why would I want Gadget Insurance? Aren’t these items included in my existing home contents policy?

Good question. You might think they’d be covered, however for the most part you’d be wrong. And that’s purely because the items you damage, lose, have stolen whilst you’re out and about are not geographically located at your acknowledged home address should they suffer any of these inconveniences outside of your gaff. Essentially home insurers normally only cover items (whatever they may be) whilst they’re actually/technically IN your home. That’s not to say that some policy providers won’t extend their protection to include your gadgets/personal possession/belongings which you transport here and there (and everywhere in between); only you’ll usually have to pay extra to trigger that extra-curricular feature. Subsequently this could have an adverse (monetary) effect on your current home contents premium, in as much as the excess will almost certainly be increased as a result of shoe-horning this additional feature into your plan.

Ah, I see. So what would a dedicated gadget policy include then?

Well, for a quiet start it would safeguard your consumer electronics against the above-mentioned damage, loss and theft, whether you’re home or away when fate strikes a cruel and unpredicted blow. This also includes liquid damage, which is worth knowing. As to just what type of equipment is embraced by the coverage, you can rest easy in the knowledge that gadget insurance normally enveloped everything techie and ostensibly portable in nature, from smartphones, laptops and tablets through to iPods/MP3 players, camcorders/cameras, PDA’s and sat-navs; which you have to agree is pretty far-reaching. Looking at other key T’s & C’s and you’ll quickly discover that the majority of these policies offer 48-hour replacement devices together with global coverage should the policyholder be parted from their expensive device one way or another. Which of course is very handy if you’re on holiday abroad at the time your gadget succumbs to misadventure/opportunist thieving. Furthermore some policy providers will include data back-up features which effectively will allow the policyholder to still be able to access vital information even if your device has gone AWOL.

This sounds pretty cool. But come on, what’s the catch? There’s always a trade-off somewhere…

OK, one word, three syllables; ‘ex-clu-sions’. There are inevitably real-time situations whereby the gadget policy providers are well within their rights to refuse to pay-out should you have damaged/lost the gadget in what they believe to be dubious circumstances. Scenarios to watch out for include ‘leaving gadgets unattended’ and ‘neglecting to report a loss/theft within 24-hours’; both of which could, potentially leave you in no man’s land when it comes to recompense; essentially invalidating the gadget policy as far as the insurer is concerned. Age is another important factor to be mindful of, as a number of policy providers could place age restriction clauses on their individual gadget covers. Experience tells us that any gadgets which are over 6 months old may well fall foul of this particular exclusion. And don’t overlook excesses, otherwise you could come unstuck here too. If you’ve been made to agree to a substantial excess just to keep the premium down it could manifest that this ultimately works out more than the cost/perceived value of the item(s) should it need replacing further down the line. Also bear in mind the maximum amount the insurer will pay-out on a claim. Let’s say that for argument’s sake that sum is £1,500; if you’re claiming on a couple of items in one go this may not recompense you for your total monetary losses.

What other things should I look out for?

  • Deferment period – In a nut-shell the period of time a policyholder must have had the cover prior to them making their first claim on it. This will be a minimum of a few weeks in most cases.
  • The way the claim is paid-out – Certain policies will only recompense the policyholder for the value of the item at the time of purchase, as opposed to how much said item retails for if/when the original item is lost/damaged/stolen.
  • Phone use limits post-incident – This refers to the policy-maker-imposed restrictions placed on handsets/smartphones if lost/stolen and subsequently subjected to use for unauthorised calls thereafter. Worth noting that the policies may not cover phone call costs if the handset isn’t reported as stolen/missing to the mobile phone provider/company/police within 24 hours of it (potentially) falling into the wrong hands.
  • Theft exclusions – Picture this. Should your tech device be removed from your car, the likelihood is the gadget policy won’t cover it if it’s left on show and not locked away in the boot. What’s more, some policies stress that alarm systems must be activated as well to ensure that the policyholder receives a pay-out.

Do you think I should arrange a dedicated gadget insurance policy then, really?

If you’re the type of person who admits to being pretty accident prone in life, generally, then you should seriously consider the benefits (and indeed, peace of mind) of setting-up such a policy. And one of the main reasons is as follows. If you happen to file a relatively low value claim on your home contents policy, the chances are you’ll lose your no claims bonus as an unfortunate consequence of your actions. Which will almost definitely result in the knock-on effect of your premium being ramped up when it comes to household policy renewal time. So separating your portable gadgets from a home contents cover therein protects the latter in the long term.

And finally, how much are we talking about then, with regards to premiums for gadget insurance?

Aha, the million dollar question. Only, thankfully it isn’t anywhere near as much as that, premium-wise you’ll be pleased to hear. On the contrary, as gadget insurance policies can kick-off from as little as a few £Pounds a month, depending naturally on how many items the would-be policyholder is looking to secure. Whilst on this topic, remember that it’s nearly always more cost-effective to cover more than the single item on the same policy, so ensure that you have a worthy collection of tech stuff to have a policy underwritten for from the outset.