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Gadget insurance: Are your electronic devices covered on holiday?

Low limits on travel insurance may mean your gadgets are not covered unless you take out a standalone policy

Gadget insurance: Are your electronic devices covered on holiday?

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Gadget insurance covers mobile phones, laptops, iPads, cameras, and other portable electronic devices if they are damaged, stolen or lost. Mobile devices are now so much a part of our lives that it makes sense to insure them for theft and loss.

What is gadget insurance?

Gadget insurance covers you if your mobile phone, laptop, camera or other small electronic device is lost, damaged or stolen, whether this happens in your own home, on a trip out, or on holiday. There are different levels of gadget insurance cover depend on what you need.

Most of us will have at least £1,000 worth of gadgets in our homes. That could be costly if your mobile devices needed to be replaced.

What does gadget insurance cover?

Different insurers will provide different levels of gadget insurance cover, and some allow you to add extra insurance on to basic cover. There are a number of different types of insurance cover. These are:

Theft: If your device is still from your home, while you are out and about, or when you are on holiday.

Accidental damage: If you drop your device and crack the screen, or drop it in water and it stops working.

Unauthorised calls: If your mobile phone is stolen and used fraudulently by the thief who racks up a hefty phone bill, some policies will cover you for the costs incurred when the phone was not in your possession.

What does gadget insurance not cover?

Gadget insurance does not cover all types of loss or breakdown.

Theft: If your device is stolen from your home you may need to prove forced entry to your premises. If you lose your phone when you are out - for example you leave it in a restaurant - you may not be covered either.

Mechanical fault: If your device stops working and it is still within the manufacturer's warranty period then your insurer will advise you to have it fixed by the manufacture rather than claiming on your insurance policy.

Older models: The older your gadget, the more difficult it may be to insure it. Also, check the policy wording regarding replacements - do you get a new for old item, or do you get the value of the item that was stolen or damaged? There may be a big difference between the two as technology advances so quickly.

Does gadget insurance cover me on holiday?

That depends on the terms of your insurance policy. Many of us bring expensive gadgets on holiday, whether it’s a mobile phone to keep in touch with people back home, a camera to capture special moments, or a tablet to keep the kids entertained.

By packing even a couple of gadgets, you could very easily find yourself carrying over £1,000 worth of hardware on holiday. If one of your gadgets is lost, stolen or damaged while you’re away, the cost of your holiday could really add up.

Most new gadgets come with a manufacturer’s warranty, but this will only cover you for mechanical breakdowns, and usually only for the first 12 months of ownership. A manufacturer’s warranty does not provide cover for accidental damage, loss or theft — so you’ll need to cover your gadgets elsewhere if you want a replacement without ending up out-of-pocket.

Depending on your gadget insurance policy, you may be covered for loss, damage or theft if you are outside the UK.

Do I need to tell my travel insurer what gadgets I am taking?

If you’re planning a trip abroad, you’ve probably already taken out travel insurance — this is wise as it can provide valuable protection for healthcare and if your holiday does not go to plan. But you shouldn’t rely on your travel insurance policy to cover all of your possessions, especially if you’re bringing expensive gadgets on holiday with you.

While most travel insurers offer a generous payout for lost baggage, you could be subject to a limit of as little as £100 to claim back for a single item. With some modern smartphones costing upwards of £700 and high-end cameras even more, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to claim back enough for a replacement on a standard travel insurance policy.

Therefore, you do need to specify if you want cover for single, valuable items which you are planning to take abroad.

Are gadgets covered on my home insurance?

If you have personal possessions cover as part of your home insurance policy, you may be able to claim for loss, damage or theft. Again, you may have to specify single items worth more than £500 when you are asking for an insurance quote.

Some home contents insurance policies will cover your gadgets while on holiday but this is not usually included as standard. Personal possessions cover is not automatically included with most home insurance policies, so it’s unlikely you’ll be covered unless you’ve specifically requested it as an add-on to your policy.

If you do have personal possessions cover and want to use it to protect your gadgets on holiday, it’s best to check with your insurer whether you’re covered while abroad and how long this is valid for. If you want your gadgets to be covered for accidental damage, you might have to pay extra to add this to your policy.

Before relying on your home insurance cover to protect your gadgets on holiday, you should consider the excess applicable to any claims, and bear in mind that any claim for a gadget might cause you to lose your no claims bonus and affect the price of your entire home insurance policy.

Gadget insurance with worldwide cover

If you want to protect your gadgets while you’re on holiday, you could consider a standalone gadget insurance policy with worldwide cover.

Gadget insurance covers all the hardware you might take on holiday with you, including mobile phones, cameras, tablets laptops and smartwatches. Plus you can cover your home-based gadgets such as TVs and games consoles.

Gadget insurance policies from providers such as Protect Your Bubble are separate to your home insurance, meaning you won’t be charged more after making a claim. The excess you pay for a claim could be cheaper too, at £50 for mobile phones (£75 for loss claims), and just £25 for tablets and other gadgets such as cameras.

A good gadget insurance policy will cover you for mechanical breakdowns, theft, liquid damage and other accidental damage such as cracked screens, and you may want to consider adding loss cover for a small additional charge. Your gadgets will be repaired or replaced when you make a claim, and you should also be covered for any unauthorised calls or data made from your phone if it’s lost or stolen.

Can I insure more than one gadget?

Yes you can. Most insurers will offer a multi-gadget policy because they recognise that a lot of us need a mobile phone, laptop and other devices in our daily lives and we rely on our multiple tech devices to keep us connected with work, friends and family.

How do I make a claim on gadget insurance?

If you are claiming for a theft from your home, you will need to report the incident to the policy and get a crime number. If your device is damage, you will need to contact your insurer and supply details of the accident and photographs of the damage.

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