Gadgets Insurance for your Travels
For most of us, our gadgets are the most expensive items we will take away with us. Yet, while people know their clothes are covered by insurance under belongings, most aren’t sure about gadgets! We’re here to expose some truths about travel insurance for gadgets and all the ins and outs, so keep reading...
Do you need gadgets insurance cover when travelling?
The purpose of gadgets insurance is to cover your electronic items when travelling. These days, most people's phone is like an extension of their body and the mere thought of being without it induces hysterical panic! Gadgets are fast evolving, but common items people take travelling are:
- Computing - tablets, laptops.
- Personal - mobile phones, smart-watches, wearable devices.
- Entertainment - E-readers, MP3 players, headphones/earphones, handheld game consoles.
- Photography - digital cameras, camera lenses, video cameras.
- Car - sat navs, in-car computers.
As gadgets insurance is the newest area of the travel insurance world, price and cover offered between insurers varies more than any other benefit. This can make it unbearably complicated when you’re searching for the right deal for you and your tech babies, but don’t worry, we’re going to simplify this as much as possible. Here are some key areas of cover you should consider before searching:
- Accidental damage - if you legitimately break a gadget by accident (and it’s not difficult enough sadly!).
- Liquid damage - for example, if you’re device decides to take a swim or drink some of your juice.
- Cracked screen - if this hasn’t ever happened to you, you surely don’t own a phone!
- Accessories - if you’re lucky enough to own the latest Bose headphones, you know that these cost more than many phones themselves.
- Unauthorised use - if your phone is lost or stolen this will cover you for the cost of any unauthorised calls, messages and downloads made.
- E-wallet cover - if your phone is lost or stolen this will cover transactions that are made from your debit/credit card if your phone has an e-wallet facility.
- Theft cover - one of the most important things to protect yourself against as gadgets are popular to thieves in every country.
- Loss cover - if you know yourself and you’re prone to losing things, you’re especially vulnerable overseas where you’ll probably be using your phone more for taking photos and using maps.
Pitfalls of gadgets travel insurance
As with every insurance policy that ever existed, gadgets insurance also has exceptions you need to be aware of. Remember, these vary across insurers but here are some common rules you can find in policies:
Your device itself
- Insurers will always factor age into the policy. It is common that they won’t insure any device older than three years. Many insurers also work on a sliding scale, so the value of a claim goes down x% per year since you bought the device.
- You may find it has to have been bought in the UK.
- Some insurers don’t cover second hand items. Others will cover them or refurbished devices as long as you have the original proof of purchase or letter from the original owner.
- You will have to register each individual device on your policy. If you try and claim for a device you haven’t added, there is very little chance an insurer will even entertain the idea of paying out.
When reporting a device as lost or stolen
- Lost and Stolen - you will need to report a missing ‘connected’ device (i.e. phone) to your network provider as soon as possible, but usually within a specified timeframe (24 hours is the most common). Your provider may be able to help you by blacklisting the device so no one can use it.
- Stolen - you will need to notify the police of any stolen device as soon as possible, and always within a specified timeframe (usually 24 hours). Make sure you get a copy of the police crime report and a reference number. You will need this when you make your claim.
When making a claim
- Accidental damage - you’ll usually need to return your device to the insurer if claiming under this cover. Also, if you’re flying, make sure to take it onto the plane and don’t check any device into hold luggage as you probably won’t be covered if it does break.
- E-wallet protection - for the claim to be successful you have to have had a pin set up for all transactions. You will also only be covered for a certain timeframe e.g. the first 24 hours after you discovered your device was missing. After that, it’s up to you to cancel or put a hold on all apps so no one can use them.
- Unauthorised usage - there will also be a timeframe attached to this. You’re usually protected for transactions made within 24 hours of discovering your device is missing.
- Loss - you may need to prove that you haven’t used your device since the time you recorded it missing (especially for phones). As with accidental damage, don’t check any of your devices in with airline hold luggage but carry them on the plane with you. Likewise, if you leave your device lying around when you’re not there, you won’t be getting any compensation (unlikely you would do this at home but that holiday spirit can take over!).
- Theft - you will need to provide a police crime report. There are many factors that may invalidate your claim, the most critical is that your item was secure at the time it was stolen. The definition will vary between insurers but if someone smashed a window of your car to steal it from the front seat you probably won’t be covered. However, if your car was locked and it was hidden in the glove box you stand a better chance.
As you can see, there are a lot of factors to consider when keeping your gadgets travel insurance policy valid. The most important thing to remember is to keep your device safe in the first place so if you do have to make a claim you are more likely to win. Why not read our guide on making a successful claim? It will give you lots of tips on things you should do before you go away to make sure any travel insurance claim you make is accepted.
Do you need to add gadget cover on travel insurance?
Whether you need gadget cover on travel insurance depends on your circumstances. The main questions you need to ask yourself are:
- Do I have any gadgets I am taking away? It’s an obvious one with a simple answer! If you don't, then you won’t need this cover.?
- How much are my gadgets worth? The excess on gadgets insurance is often high, which can make it pointless if you only have a cheap device. Look at our section on prices below for an example to illustrate this.
If you have gadgets you need to insure while away then you need to either find a standard travel insurance policy that includes this cover, include it as an add-on or buy a specialist policy.
Most travel insurance policies will not include mobile phones, even if they include other ‘gadgets’ in their policy wording. It will always be specified in the wording so make sure you read it carefully before purchasing and add gadgets cover on if you need to. After all, phones are the most likely to take a tumble or find a new home against your will.
Gadgets travel insurance prices
Some travel insurance policies do include gadgets under baggage or belongings. Beware though as the limits are usually very low and restricted to one device.
We ran quotes (September 2019) for a 35-year-old travelling to Spain for one week. The following examples are for gadgets cover included in travel insurance policies:
1) Travelinsurance.co.uk: Economy Policy
The premium charged is £5.59. There is a total limit of £1,000 for belongings and baggage and gadgets are included. The gadget limit is £200, but the excess is £250. That means you would pay more for the excess than you would receive for the claims payout. Verdict - you’re not really covered!
On this same policy, there is the option to add gadgets extended cover and then you would get £500 single item limit and only pay £50 excess (or £75 if you lose your device). It costs £5.90 extra to include this add-on, which is more than the standard policy itself. However, if you received the full £500 you only have to pay £50, meaning you would get £450 back.
2) Coverwise: Platinum Policy
With one of the most expensive platinum policies it will cost £40.38 for the premium, and mobile phones aren’t even covered on this one! Other gadgets are included under baggage up to £3,500, although the single item limit is £300. There is no excess to pay though!
We know that travel insurance jargon can be confusing. That’s why we created this jargon-busting glossary to help you.
Gadget travel insurance reviews
A popular specialist gadgets insurance company is Switched On Insurance. It has 761 customer reviews on TrustPilot and has a rating of excellent with 4.5/5 stars (five being the highest). This is very positive, however, not all reviews are about using the policy overseas.
Generally, customers say the sign-up process is easy and customer service is good. Most negative reviews centre around the claims process. It’s so important to read any policy first and know what an insurer will ask for in the event of a claim (i.e. police crime report).
“I have claimed under the insurance, my claim was successful and response times were good. I had to search high and low for the invoice though. Also, they asked for copies of my boarding passes from the trip I was on when the damage occurred - this is completely irrelevant and I feel just another attempt to dodge the claim. The amount they paid out was significantly reduced due to depreciation - this meant (that) to get a satisfactory replacement I still had to put £100+ of my own money.” TrustPilot Customer
Another popular gadgets insurance company is Gadget Cover. It has 1,076 reviews on TrustPilot and scores ‘great’ with 4/5 stars.
“Really good company, helped a lot and reasonable insurance cover for the device I have.” TrustPilot Customer
Every insurer includes time limits for reporting lost, broken or stolen items so don’t forget to read the policy wording before you go away!
We hope you found this article interesting and you are ready to start your search for gadgets insurance for your trip. Remember, if you like your phone (or device), then other people out there will too. Keep your gadgets safe at all times and insure them.
Data and information correct as of September 2019.
All material on this page and the selectra.co.uk website is for information purposes only and does not constitute any form of financial advice. Selectra.co.uk is not responsible for any consequences that might arise from your use of the information provided.