From knowing what the excess on your policy is to getting up-to-speed on the claims process in the event of a claim, there are a few important things to know before taking out gadget insurance.
Gadget insurance has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially now that €1,000 plus smartphones and laptops have become the norm!
However it often doesn’t represent good value for consumers. Indeed a report from the Central Bank on gadget insurance back in 2018 was highly critical of how the industry operates.
That’s not to say gadget insurance can’t be useful. Just make sure you’re up-to-speed on what you’re getting before you buy it.
So here’s a list of eight things you need to know before taking it out to help you decide whether it’s really worth it.
1. Does your existing policy cover you?
With gadget insurance the first thing to know is whether any existing insurance policy you have covers the item you want to insure.
Many people’s home and contents policies will either cover items like phones, laptops and cameras already or allow you to include the item for a small extra fee. For this reason, separate gadget insurance rarely makes sense as it’s often poor value at best and not even needed at worst.
Read your policy terms and conditions to find out what you’re covered for. If you’re in any way unsure, contact your insurance company and ask if you’re covered. If not, ask how much it would cost to add cover for your phone, laptop or smartwatch etc. Be honest and explain how much the item is and where you intend using it as some items will only be covered inside the home.
2. What’s the excess?
An excess is the amount you’ll have to stump up yourself in the event of a claim. Most policies will have an excess of around €75 but for smartphones and more expensive laptops it can be far higher. If it’s a few hundred euro, you have to ask whether the policy is really worth it?
3. What’s the waiting period?
Is there a waiting period or a certain amount of time that the policy needs to be in force before you can make a claim? This can range from as little as a few days to a few weeks.
4. Will I be given a new device?
In the event of a successful claim, will you be given money for a brand new item, or given a second-hand, factory refurbished replacement (this is common with smartphone policies in particular).
Don’t automatically expect a brand new phone or laptop as a replacement.
5. What does the policy cover?
Cracked screens and water damage are the two main reasons for people claiming for phones, but many policies won’t cover this so you need to ask.
Also, wear and tear and the gradual deterioration of performance isn’t covered under most policies. So when your iPhone battery goes kaput after only two and a half years of use, don’t expect to be able to make a claim!
What’s more, simply losing your phone isn't a reason for a valid claim under many policies. And, bizarrely, breakdown cover often doesn’t extend to laptops.
As you can see, short of having your phone, laptop or watch robbed from you, a successful claim can be quite difficult to achieve.
6. If your item is lost or damaged outside of Ireland, are you covered?
Many claims are only valid if the incident happens within the Republic of Ireland and maybe the UK. Yet going on holiday is when many thefts and damages occur.
If policies do cover worldwide locations, it’s usually only up to a certain number of months.
7. What’s the claims process?
If your phone or laptop gets stolen, do you need to go to the Garda within a certain amount of time to report the theft? What do you need from them to progress your claim: an ID number, a document, a signed statement?
Be fully up-to-speed on what you need to do so that you don’t get caught out and have your claim refused.
8. Does your policy cover gadgets bought abroad?
Some insurance policies will only cover electronic gadgets bought in the Republic of Ireland, the UK or US. So if you went on holiday to Australia or Asia and picked up a new gadget in Duty Free on the way home, you may not be able to insure it. Check to see what you’re covered for so that you don't spend money on an insurance policy that won't pay out.