Should You Take Out Gadget Insurance When You Travel?

October 1, 2019

Do you travel for work or leisure? How was your experience living outside your luggage, laptop, and all? Hopefully, you have not lost or damaged your camera and found out that standard travel insurance or home insurance, for that matter, does not cover it.

Pew Research Center tracked ownership of devices among the US populace from 2008 through 2019, and found that 96% of Americans have a “cell phone of some kind.” Also, 74% of adults in the country have laptops or desktops, and 52% own a tablet computer. You would expect them to bring these portable devices when traveling, along with headphones, MP3 player, and laptop accessories.

The widespread ownership of consumer electronics and the way people are using them wherever they go have given rise to gadget insurance. It ensures that your hard work to acquire and care for those devices will not be all for naught. Read on.

Gadget Insurance in Plain Language

This policy offers protection for devices that you use daily, like smartphones, laptops, tablets, e-readers, game consoles, and smartwatches, among other things. The insurer will shoulder the cost of repair or replacement of the covered device.

You can obtain the protection as an add-on to travel insurance (you have probably heard of Gadget Cover in the UK), additional coverage to homeowners’ insurance, or a stand-alone policy designed for your consumer electronics.

These are circumstances that a gadget insurance policy typically covers:

  • Theft: standard gadget insurance covers this event, but some insurers may exclude it if you have left the item unattended, etc.
  • Loss: insurers can cover this event as a given or option with an additional cost. 
  • Accidental damage: spills, drops, falls, power surges, and specific events that cause damage to your phone.
  • Travels: worldwide cover protects your valuable electronics as you lug them overseas.

Policies vary by inclusions and exclusions. Some insurers include a handful of gadgets; others work with a limited number. The circumstances that qualify for a claim also differ.

Your homework is to find out which insurance plan suits your lifestyle and the devices you have. 

Some Considerations

There is the cost. You can get blanket protection for all your gadgets or you obtain one each for your mobile phone and your laptop. Insurance companies package their products differently that you need to shop and look. Either way, you have to pay for additional premiums.

As the cost looms, you have to factor the price of the electronics into your purchase of gadget insurance. 

  1. Does the price or market value of the laptop merit insuring it and incurring additional cost?
  2. Can you afford to replace the item if it gets lost or stolen without insurance money?
  3. Are you out most of the time with your gadgets in tow? 

Tips for Taking Out Gadget Insurance

  • Ask questions. Some retailers offer insurance as an add-on or bundle it into a phone or laptop. The explanation is verbal and the time to explain the salient points is limited. Thus, you need to ask questions. Of great importance is asking about cancellation policies should you change your mind.
  • Read the policy or written information cover to cover. How does it define the term gadget? What are the conditions for filing a claim? Given how insurance policies are written in a different language, it is best to know about and understand them now then lose your claim over a technicality.
  • Look up what others have to say about a particular insurance product you have been eyeing. Did users say that it is difficult to file claims? What are the commonly lodged complaints or shared experiences about the product you read on social media? 
  • Shop around. You have several options to buy insurance (e.g., online, in-store, and a reliable insurance agent). Solicit at least three offers, and compare them based on coverage, cost of insurance fees, and criteria relevant to you. Each proposal likely has an advantage over the others, so the clincher will be whichever meets your goal for the protection.

The Answer

For your peace of mind, the answer is yes. You shudder at the thought of losing or accidentally damaging your gadgets, but these events do happen, and the likelihood is higher when you are outside the home.

Think of gadget insurance as a necessary expense for your laptop, which is the centerpiece to your work. It is also worthwhile to check if accessories critical to your computer are included in the policy. You may have a USB hub that covers the lack of ports and slots for multiple peripherals on the laptop. There is also an external hard drive that serves as your file backup storage, a charger that ensures you can power your device, and more.

Happy shopping and traveling!

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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