With portable hardware costing more and more you could be quite easily carrying around $2,000 worth of equipment simply by taking a smartphone and a laptop on a train. Mobile phones and tablets can represent over $1,000 if taken out to a cafe or bistro together, and with potential for damage, loss or theft at every turn, the importance of protecting your investments is obvious.
There are various services provided by insurers to help you to cover any damage or theft that your laptop, phone, tablet or camera might be exposed to, from specific insurance policies to clauses in other insurance types. In fact, you might even find that you have insurance for your equipment already.
Will Insurers Pay Out?
Getting covered is only one side of the coin, however. The real deal is getting the insurers to pay out. More and more insurers are becoming less interested in paying out and more interested in taking your hard earned money for a service that they have no intention of fulfilling. While the sales literature will make insurance seem attractive, the small print is another matter entirely.
For instance, if an insured mobile phone is stolen from an unoccupied table in a bar, you might expect the insurers to be unhappy about paying up; however the same is often true if the table is fully occupied and the device is surreptitiously spirited away unnoticed.
As a result you should give some real thought as to whether you want to put yourself in the position of having had a $500 piece of equipment stolen only to find that the $20 insurance you’ve been paying for the past 12 months is useless, thereby setting you back a further $240.
Why You Should Insure Your Hardware
However there is a fair argument for insuring your phone, tablet or camera. If the device is damaged then you have a better chance of getting a return on the money you have paid the insurer than if it is lost or stolen.
Note that I said a “better chance” rather than “they will pay out”. After all, even if they agree that the phone cannot be used and that the damage was accidental, you may not get your iPhone 4S replaced with a brand new identical model. More likely you’ll find yourself using a Sony Ericsson Xperia X10, for instance.
Don’t rely on this protection, of course take advantage of useful accessories such as screen protectors and cases for your phone.
Finding The Best Options, Checking Your Current Cover
To get the best insurance for your device, head first to your mobile network and find out which insurer they recommend; they might even have their own insurance they can offer you. See if you can get a discount for buying it.
It is also worth checking the small print and features on any existing insurance policy and bank accounts that might offer protection for your device. Your car insurance may also cover any electronic hardware that is damaged while in your automobile (although coverage for theft is unlikely).
Meanwhile plenty of insurers can be found online that specialize in mobile phones, tablets, laptops and computers.
Don’t Take Any Chances
Whichever options you choose and regardless of the cover that you have signed up for, don’t leave anything to chance.
There are countless ways in which your mobile phone, tablet or laptop might become damaged that isn’t covered by the insurance. In order to protect your gadgets, keep them close by at all times, preferably in a pocket or a securely-attached bag, and don’t leave them unattended. With cameras you can of course keep the device around your neck, but laptops in cases can be lost or stolen all too easily by putting them down for a few moments, perhaps on a train platform or in the lobby of a hotel.
You may well find that mistakes like these will lead to insurers refusing to pay out. One way in which you can add an extra layer of protection is by using one of the mobile phone tracking tools that are available; these can display the location of your device on a web-based map. Similar software is available for laptop computers.
Do you have any mobile hardware insurance? Is there an insurer that you would recommend?