Best gadget insurance

·8-min read
 (Unsplash )
(Unsplash )

Anyone can damage their mobile phone by dropping it, or ruin a laptop by spilling drink over the keyboard.

If you’re someone who’s a bit clumsy, or makes a habit of losing things, then gadget insurance - which covers portable electronic items such as mobile phones, laptops and digital cameras – could be for you.

These devices, often a necessary part of everyday life, don’t come cheap. So, if you’re accident prone, it can make financial sense to buy gadget insurance to protect your treasured gizmos from life’s little mishaps.

Here’s our pick of the best gadget insurance policies. Below the table, we explain how we arrived at our choices and also look in more detail at this particular type of insurance.

1. Switched On - 5/5 stars

Monthly cost: £12

Excess: £50-£150

Maximum number of gadgets: 10

Our Verdict

Of all the gadget insurers we compared, Switched On quoted the cheapest price for iPhone 12 insurance at £5 per month for standard cover. The policy protects against accidental damage (including liquid), mechanical breakdown and cracked screens. However, the standard policy doesn’t provide cover if your handset is stolen. For that you need Premium cover which adds 50p a month to the premiums for a 64GB iPhone 12.

2. Love It Cover it - 5/5 stars

Monthly cost: £13.03

Excess: £30-£175

Maximum number of gadgets: 10

Our Verdict

At £7.99 a month, Love It Cover It quoted us the joint cheapest price on ‘essential’ cover for a Macbook Air and the third cheapest price for an iPhone 12 (£6.99 a month). You’re not covered for loss on the latter however.

3. CoverCloud - 4/5 stars

Monthly cost: £14.63

Excess: £50-£150

Maximum number of gadgets: 5

Our Verdict

At a combined price of £14.63 a month to cover both a 64GB iPhone 12 and a 256GB Macbook Air (2020), CoverCloud offers the third cheapest protection in our list. Multiple claims are allowed.

4. Protect Your Bubble - 3/5 stars

Monthly cost: £19.33

Excess: £25-£100

Maximum number of gadgets: 10

Our Verdict

Protect Your Bubble will cover up to 10 devices against accidental damage, liquid damage, mechanical breakdown and theft. Note there’s a two-claims-per-year limit on theft.

5. Tin Hat Mobile Insurance - 3/5 stars

Monthly cost: £16.48

Excess: £50-£100

Maximum number of gadgets: 10

Our Verdict

Offering the joint cheapest cover for a 256GB Macbook Air (2020), Tin Hat Mobile Insurance allows you to protect up to 10 gadgets under a single policy. Cover starts immediately, except for gadgets older than 60 days which aren’t eligible for claims within the first 14 days.

What is gadget insurance?

Essentially, it’s a form of insurance that covers the cost of replacing, or repairing, a range of electrical devices should they get broken or stolen. These include smartphones, laptops, tablets, digital cameras, smart watches, sat navs, games consoles and e-readers (such as Kindles).

Do I need it?

Possibly. If you’re accident prone, own a large number of electronic gizmos, or rely on a particular device, then gadget insurance gives you financial reassurance should something bad happen to one of them.

Say, for example, you’re a customer tied into a smartphone contract and you lose or damage your handset.

You’ll still have to pay for it until the contract expires. Without insurance, having to replace one mobile phone out of your own pocket, while simultaneously paying for another would be costly.

Especially where we’re talking about some of the latest models that cost well in excess of £1,000 per handset.

Gadget insurance is also useful if yours is a family where everyone is glued to their gizmos. It’s possible to take out a policy covering devices for an entire household.

What does gadget insurance cover?

Policies vary from one insurer to another so it’s always important, before signing up, to read through and check a plan’s details. Look for cover that includes protection from:

  • accidental damage – a cracked screen, for example.

  • liquid damage – dropping a handset in the bath

  • theft – certain gadgets are targeted by thieves

  • mechanical failure – kicks in where the warranty on a device has run out

  • loss

Look also for cover that includes extra benefits. For example, some gadget insurance policies offer a like-for-like replacement in 24 hours. This could be useful where you’re dependent on a particular device.

What isn’t covered?

Exclusions are commonplace in gadget insurance and there are several aspects to consider here.

For example, if you’re buying gadget insurance with your mobile phone in mind, check your insurer’s rules. Some say their cover doesn’t extend to models over a certain age. There’s also less choice if you’re looking to insure a second-hand smartphone.

An insurer is liable to deny a claim if you haven’t taken reasonable care to prevent the theft, or damage, of the device in question. For example, leaving your digital camera unattended on a table while you nip to the loo in a restaurant or bar.

When taking out a policy, check whether it allows an unlimited number of claims. Also, whether the cover extends to unauthorised usage of a device, not just theft or loss.

Bear in mind that the contents of a device, such as photos or software, are unlikely to be insured.

Also note that some gadget insurance policies have to be up and running for a certain period of time (for example, 14 days) before customers can make a claim.

What does it cost?

Anything typically from a couple of pounds to around £20 a month.

It all depends on the number and value of the gadget(s) you’re looking to cover, the level of cover you want and the excess you’re prepared to pay. The excess is the part of a claim that you as the policyholder agrees to pay, before the insurance kicks in.

There may be a discount for covering several devices on the same policy. You can also reduce the cost of premiums by paying for cover annually, instead of monthly.

Getting a good deal

A really good policy will offer comprehensive cover (as outlined above) at a reasonable price, wherever you are in the world.

Location is an important consideration in this respect. If you’ve already got a home contents insurance policy, it might provide a certain amount of cover for your electrical possessions.

But that protection only lasts up to your front door. Most cover of this type is rendered useless, should a mishap befall your device once you’re away from home.

As with all insurance policies, the devil is in the detail, so it’s vital you check. For example, several paid-for packaged current accounts from banks also offer their customers smartphone insurance as part of the deal.

While this is a useful perk, cover like this may not extend to all of your electronic valuables. Gadget insurance is likely to provide a more comprehensive option.

Methodology

The policies listed above were selected from a longer list of products taking into account price, coverage and exclusions (in other words, the occasions when an insurer will decline a claim).

We ran quotes using gadget insurers’ websites for a 64GB Apple iPhone 12 and a 256GB Apple Macbook Air (2020).

We also factored in the excess that customers have to pay as part of a claim, the maximum number of devices covered by a particular policy, the annual claims limit, as well as the level of cover provided by each policy.

FAQs

Is gadget insurance worth it?

Anyone can have an accident involving their mobile phone or laptop. If you’ve got a habit of doing this and also own several expensive pieces of kit, then taking out this form of cover can be worthwhile. The same applies if you live in a household with multiple gizmo users. If you’re careful with your devices there may be less need for this sort of cover.

How do I make a claim?

If your gadget is stolen, first of all inform the police as quickly as possible. You’ll receive a crime reference number enabling you to make a claim on your insurance policy.

Following a theft, notify your insurer as swiftly as possible as well. Ensure, also, that you’ve got the necessary paperwork to hand. Should it be requested by the insurer this includes, as proof of purchase, the receipt from when you originally bought the device.

What if my claim is rejected?

The first thing to do is to complain to your insurer which will probably deal with your concern via its internal complaints procedure.

If you still aren’t happy with the outcome, you could raise the issue with Resolver, the complaints service. Another course of action would be to take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Do I need cover for a gadget if it’s still under warranty?

Many gadgets come with some form of warranty from the manufacturer concerned, but this only tends to extend to mechanical breakdown. Neither accidental damage, nor theft tend to be included as part of this. If it’s fully comprehensive cover that you’re after for your devices, you’ll need to pay for it.

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