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Protecting Gadgets with Travel Insurance: How it Works

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Your gadgets are possibly the most valuable items you take on holiday. While many people mistakenly think these items will be covered under the "Valuables" section of travel insurance, this isn't usually the case. Most of the time, you'll need special "Gadget" cover.

Below we explain what to look for in a travel insurance policy to help protect you from financial loss if items like your mobile phone, iPad and laptop are lost, stolen or damaged.

Valuables Cover

Somewhat rarely, you may find that gadgets are covered by the Valuables section of Personal Belongings or Baggage cover. In that case, there will be two limits to be aware of: the total Valuables limit and the "per item" limit. For instance, a policy might have a £400 total Valuables limit and a £200 per item limit—no item would be covered over £200 and the maximum total cover would be £400 for all “valuable” items.

On most travel insurance policies, however, "valuables” are defined as jewellery, watches, leather goods, items containing gold, precious stones, etc.—not including gadgets. In that case, you need to be on the look out for Gadget-specific cover.

Gadget Cover

When gadgets aren’t covered under the Valuables section of travel insurance, you may still find protection under standard or optional "Gadget" cover. In some cases, a low level of Gadget cover is included as standard but if that is not enough for your individual needs (e.g., the gadgets you travel with are worth more), then you may be offered the chance to increase the limits for an added premium.

Cost of Gadget Cover

The average cost of optional Gadget travel cover is £34.76 when it's added to an Annual, Multi-trip policy, or £13.48 when added to a Single Trip policy for a 7-day holiday.

In the chart below, you can see how the added cost of optional Gadget cover changes according to the amount of cover.

chart showing the cost of optional gadget cover to travel insurance plans, by amount of cover

Some of the cheaper Gadget options can be found with Insure & Go and Travelinsurance.co.uk, where you can add £1,000 of Gadget cover (max £500 per item) to your Annual, Multi-trip holiday cover for £9.50.

How Much Cover do you Need? Tally up the Value of all Gadgets for all Insured People

When deciding how much gadget cover you need, keep in mind that the cover limits for Gadget cover are often on a "per policy" basis as opposed to a "per person" basis. This is different from other components of cover (e.g., Emergency Medical, Cancellation and Baggage) that are usually granted on a "per person" basis. When deciding upon a suitable level of Gadget cover, tally up the total value of gadgets for your entire insured party.

In addition to considering the total Gadget limit, take note of the per-item limit. This amount is frequently—though not always—around half of the total limit. For example, to insure a new £1,000 phone, you may need a policy offering £2,000 of total gadget cover with a £1,000 per-item limit. This detail catches many people out, so be sure to look for this information in any coverage you buy.

Does Gadget Cover Pay for the Full Cost of Your Items?

In the event you need to claim, you may not get the full purchase price back on your gadgets. The amount a plan will reimburse you for any lost, stolen or damaged gadgets varies from insurance provider to insurance provider. But it's often the case that reimbursement amounts will reflect wear, tear and depreciation. Or a provider may have the right to replace the gadget with a refurbished item, instead of paying you cash.

Common Exclusions to Cover

Gadget travel insurance might not cover the cost to replace downloaded content stored on your gadget (e.g., music, videos, games and apps). Similarly, you may not have cover for any prepaid or contracted rental charges that you have paid for or are liable for on your gadget. For example, pay as you go costs for minutes, text messages or data charges on a mobile/smart phone may not be covered. Also, claims as a result of unauthorised use of your gadgets, including unauthorised calls, messages and downloads may not be covered.

Final Tip

If your mobile/smart phone or tablet is lost, stolen or damaged, contact your service provider ASAP to discontinue the service for your device. To make a successful claim, you may be required to provide written confirmation from your service provider confirming the time and date you contacted them. You should also check the details of your policy wording, as there may be requirements such as notifying the police of a theft and providing your insurer with the related paperwork.

To see a list of companies that offer a gadget travel insurance add on please see our article, Travel Insurance Companies with Optional Gadget Cover.

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The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.