Your snazzy new smartphone may have survived the cat knocking over the Christmas tree and Grandad spilling his whisky this week — but there is no guarantee your luck will continue.
Given the number of gadgets we typically have in our homes, there is a high chance that one of your household will lose or break something over the next 12 months. So should you insure them?
In the past, gadget insurance has been considered a waste of money. Better to self-insure by putting away a tenner each month in case something happens. Then if it doesn’t you still have the cash.
Tech cover: Given the number of gadgets we typically have in our homes, there is a high chance that one of your household will lose or break something over the next 12 months
But the new iPhone X alone costs almost £1,000. Even if you put aside £20 each month into a top-paying easy access savings account at 1.3 per cent you’d still only have £242 at the end of a year, including interest.
And it’s not uncommon for one family to own a few smartphones, a couple of iPads, a Kindle and a laptop.
To replace all of these would be enormously expensive.
It might be that you rarely take your gadgets out of the house and so the risk of breaking them or having them stolen is small.
In this instance you may just want to keep an old phone or laptop in a drawer somewhere so you have a spare to fall back on.
But if you bought a new mobile phone for the kids that they will take everywhere, insurance may prove a good investment.
So what are your options?
James Daley, of Fairer Finance, says: ‘Whatever you do, don’t buy your insurance from the retailer or your mobile phone provider without shopping around first. This is almost always more expensive.
‘Before you buy a new policy you should also check your home insurance policy and any bank account perks to ensure you aren’t doubling up on cover.’
Many home contents policies cover your gadgets as standard. Better policies will also cover your belongings outside of home and for accidental damage. You can usually pay extra to have this cover added to your policy.
If you do, it means everyone under your roof is protected on one policy.
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Check the excess you would have to pay in the event of a claim. A good policy would have an excess of £100 or less, but some cheap deals have much higher excesses of around £250 or even £500.
You should also check any cover limits and declare any very expensive gadgets as a high-value item. Be aware that if you need to make a claim, your premiums will likely increase the following year.
If you pay a monthly fee for your current account you may find you already have gadget or mobile phone insurance as one of the perks.
Barclays current account customers, for example, can choose to pay an extra £9.50 for its so-called tech pack, which includes mobile phone and gadget insurance.
This covers up to four mobile phones worth up to £1,000 each and £1,500 worth of gadgets —including laptops, satnavs, smartwatches, tablets and cameras — worldwide against loss, theft, accidental damage and breakdown worldwide.
In February, the price will increase from £9.50 to £12.50. But you’ll be able to cover as many gadgets as you like worth up to £1,500 each, as well as four mobile phones.
At present the excess is between £25 and £100 depending on what type of mobile phone you have and what happened to it. From February it will be £75 for all claims.
Nationwide’s FlexPlus account costs £13 a month and you get smartphone insurance for the family, worldwide travel insurance up to the age of 74 and UK and Europe car breakdown cover. The account also pays 3 per cent interest on balances up to £2,500.
The Halifax Ultimate Reward Account also offers mobile phone and worldwide travel insurance for the family, as well as breakdown and home emergency cover. You get £75 for switching your account.
Premium: The new iPhone X alone costs almost £1,000 making it expensive to self-insure
It costs between £12 and £15, depending on whether you meet criteria which include paying in at least £750 a month. But for these deals to be good value you must use all the perks.
Alternatively, consider specialist gadget insurers such as Back Me Up, CoverCloud, Debenhams, Protect My Bubble, Switched On or Trov.
Competition among companies offering these types of deals has rocketed in recent years, pushing prices down.
Premiums vary depending on the type of gadget you need to insure, the level of cover you choose and the excess. This can mean that the price you end up paying is different to the one you saw advertised.
With CoverCloud, for example, it would cost between £3.71 and £7.14 a month to insure an iPhone 6s (16GB).
An iPhone X (64GB) would cost between £6.99 and £10.99 and an iPad Air 2 (16GB) between £3.71 and £7.14.
The exact price you pay depends on whether you want cover for, loss, theft, unauthorised calls and accessories and whether you pick a £50, £75 or £100 excess. You’ll get a discount if you pay the full year’s premium in one lump sum and a 10 per cent discount if you insure more than one item.
With Debenhams you can cover up to ten gadgets on one policy. Its five-gadget bundle, for example, costs between £17.50 and £27.50 a month — £210 or £330 a year.
You get a £10 gift card and a discount bringing the total to £175 or £275 if you pay the year’s premium in one go.
All policies will also have different exceptions and exclusions in their small print.
Back Me Up’s Fully Flex deal, for example, will not cover mechanical faults.
Protect Your Bubble will not cover laptops for loss.
Most policies exclude cover for wear and tear or scratches that don’t affect how the item works.
Some will only cover gadgets purchased within the past 12 months and limit how many claims you can make in a year.
Others will only insure gadgets in the UK or offer worldwide cover for a limited number of days.
Insurers will also refuse to pay out if you were negligent and left your phone unattended in a cafe, for example, or in full view on the front seat of your car.
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