Gadget ownership in the UK is now at an all-time high. Such is our obsession with new technology, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t own some form of gadget, whether a smartphone, a tablet or a laptop. But how many people have gadget insurance?

The UK Gadget Obsession

As with all things tech, there is a growing fear surrounding our incessant use of smart technology, and some people flat-out refuse to buy into this new dawn. But, for the majority of us, gadgets are an obsession:

  • 85% of adults in the UK own a smartphone
  • 78% own a laptop
  • 68% own a tablet

If this shows nothing else, it shows that, as a nation, we are welcoming new technology into our everyday existence with open arms.

We cherish our gadgets nearly as much as we cherish our kids (okay, maybe that’s a bit extreme – most of us could do without the kids if push came to shove). However, many of us don’t protect our gadgets properly. 65% of us in fact are walking around without a gadget insurance policy.

Mobile phones, laptops, cameras, tablets, games consoles, smartwatches – these all cost a lot of money. And they’re easy to break. So why aren’t we insuring them?

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “This doesn’t apply to me as my gadgets are covered by my home/travel/contents insurance”. Unfortunately, I’m afraid to say that you may be horribly wrong.

Some of us may be lucky and have cover for our portable gadgets via our home contents insurance. But the belief that our things are automatically covered elsewhere is a common misconception – they’re not. Most of the time you will need to get portable gadget protection as an extra.

What this means is that most of us are vulnerable should anything go wrong with our beloved gadgetry …

Common Threats to your Gadgets

According to recent research into phone damage, 26% of people admitted that they had damaged their phone over the past year. 16% said that they had cracked their screen. And 8% said they’d suffered water damage.

While you may think a bag of basmati rice and some good luck is the answer to all your smartphone worries, it’s best to take out an insurance policy that will cover you should a bag of the delicious grain not suffice.

With the busy and bustling nature of modern living, there’s a multitude of ways that our gadgets can become damaged.

Taking your belongings to and from work on busy trains can lead to accidental bumps and drops. Having your phone out at the pub or in a restaurant increases the likelihood of spillage and water damage. Not only that, but walking around with hundreds of pounds of tech in our pockets and bags increases our vulnerability to theft and robbery.

Add Gadgets to Your Home Contents Insurance

If you’re reading this and thinking you need to get your life in order and protect your gadgets, it’s all fairly simple once you’re through the jargon.

If you have home or contents insurance, it’s more than likely it only covers your mobile phone and other portable gadgets if they’re stolen from your house. To protect your things while out and about, you will need to add “out of home cover” or “accidental damage” to your insurance policy. Of course, this will come at a small fee, but it’s worth it for the protection it offers.

The chances are you have various other valuables besides your gadgets, some of which you will also carry round with you. For instance, many of us have expensive and nostalgic items, like jewelry, that we haven’t insured. So by getting an all-inclusive contents policy, we are able to ensure that all our belongings are covered – not just our gadgets.

This is all positive and can be done cheaply. However, there is a downside to adding gadgets onto your home contents insurance.

Often, this type of policy comes with a higher excess level than other types, often £100 – £500 per claim. If the excess ends up higher than the claim itself, it doesn’t take much to see that it’s not worth claiming. Plus, if you have a no-claims discount or bonus on your home contents insurance, then claiming could jeopardise this. And it might also could lead to higher home insurance prices upon renewal.

So, claiming on your home insurance isn’t always the most economical way of doing things. An alternative is to take out dedicated gadget insurance.

Get Dedicated Gadget Insurance

Dedicated gadget insurance covers either a single device or a bundle of devices under one insurance policy. Often, covering several devices will give you a discount on your premium. However, while you may think gadget insurance is the policy for you, there are a few things to consider.

Gadget insurance is there to take care of the items that mean the most to you. If you have not listed an item on your policy, it will not be covered.

Also, if your insurer feels your gadget has been lost or damaged due to carelessness, they may reject your claim. Likewise, if the gadget is stolen while unattended, most insurance policies will not pay out. 

Of course, when insurers protect your property, they also have to think about their side of the deal. For this reason, an insurer may not cover an ‘old’ device, due to the increased risk of it malfunctioning.

It’s likely as well that they will ask you to report damage within 24 hours and provide proof or purchase for the item in question. This applies even if the item was a gift – you will still need to provide evidence of the original purchase order.

These are just a few reasons why it’s important to check what your cover is for, and whether there are any important exclusions. To help you with this, we’ve summarised the most common exclusions in gadget insurance below.

All this said though, if you’re someone that relies heavily on their gadgets, and you’re also a little bit accident-prone, then gadget insurance is likely a good choice for you. Most policies will cover issues such as liquid damage, mechanical breakdown, loss and theft.

Gadget Insurance: Rules of Thumb

There are as many different approaches to gadget insurance as there are gadgets themselves. So, while things might seem daunting at times, remember it’s all about finding the right cover for your needs. Whether you’re getting gadget insurance as a standalone policy or adding it to your home contents cover, here are a few tips to help you make the right choice.

Compare different offerings

Make sure that you shop around. As a rule of thumb, you will get better cover by choosing from several options than by choosing from one.

As part of this, be sure to understand what’s covered and whether anything is excluded (we talk about this in a bit more detail below). Check the small print. And, if you can’t find it, ask your insurer to provide it. It’s important to be well informed on what comes with your policy, so that you’re comfortable making a claim, should the situation arise. For this reason, never be afraid to ask for clarification on anything you don’t understand.

Choose the right cover level for you

For example, if you’re only interested in mobile phone insurance, it may be an idea to see what insurance your network provider can provide. Typically, they will get a new handset out to you quicker than any other insurance provider, though they may not offer the most economical coverage.

Check for cover while you’re abroad

Similarly, look at whether your items will be protected while you’re abroad. If you are someone who travels regularly, you should check for worldwide cover. This ensures you won’t be left aghast after a selfie-stick disaster on the Champs-Elysees. 

Excess level

Excess level (sometimes called a deductible) is the amount of any insurance claim that you have to pay yourself. Generally speaking, you can get a cheaper monthly premium by agreeing to a higher excess (and vice versa).

A £200 excess might make sense on a high-end £1000 laptop (your insurer would cover the remaining £800). However, it would make less sense with a cheap phone. The balance you strike between premium level and excess is a matter of personal preference. But it’s worth thinking through a few scenarios (like the example above) to get a feel for what works best. You may even decide certain things aren’t worth insuring.

Remember there’s always self-insurance


With self-insurance, you put away an amount of money each month instead of paying premiums to an insurer. This cash is then there in case anything happens with your things. Self-insurance can save you money (whatever you put aside remains your own money, after all). However, it does mean you’re liable to pay the full amount, should anything happen to your things.

Common exclusions on Gadget Insurance Policies

The most important rule of thumb when it comes to protecting your gadgets is to check for exclusions on your policy. In plain English, an exclusion is where, in a particular situation, your insurance doesn’t apply.

For example, plenty of low-cost travel insurance policies won’t cover you if you’re doing extreme sports. The reason for this is that extreme sports are high-risk and you basically need to pay more to cover them. It can be the same with gadgets. No two gadgets are the same. No two gadget insurers are the same. And gadgets get used in all sorts of contexts and ways.

So, remember to always check the exclusions on a policy – and to ask your provider if you have any questions. You can cover most things for a price, unless you literally want to take your laptop skydiving with you! Here are a few exclusions you may come across on your gadget insurance policy:

  • Older models – many policies won’t cover devices above a certain age, as they’re more likely to break
  • Loss or damage that occurred more than 24 hours ago – many policies require you to notify your insurer as soon as something happens. This helps insurers eliminate fraud.
  • List your items on your policy – most policies require you to list the devices you want to cover on the policy. So don’t forget anything important!
  • Digital Contents – what makes your phone or laptop indispensable isn’t just the hardware. Your insurer may be able to get you a new handset but they won’t be able to magic all of your lost digital contents back into existence!
  • Gadgets bought by other people – when you make a claim, insurers generally ask for proof of purchase. This can make life difficult when it comes to insuring gifts – as you’ll need the original purchase order.
  • Damage due to being careless – if you deliberately smash your device, you definitely aren’t covered. The same may well apply if you break or lose something because you haven’t take due care.
  • Theft of unattended items – part of taking due care of your items is not leaving them unattended. So, if you leave your phone or laptop on a café table and it gets nabbed, the likelihood is that you’re not covered.
  • Specific accidents– some gadget policies may exclude damage caused by spillage. But you’ll want to think carefully about the likely ways you might damage things. If you’re a coffee lover, then insuring your laptop with a no-spillage policy might not be the smartest move.

As our gadgets become an extended version of ourselves, it’s now more important than ever that we look after them. We use technology for pretty much every aspect of our daily lives – so don’t leave yourself vulnerable and exposed by failing to protect your things.

About buzzvault

buzzvault brings you game-changing personalised home & contents insurance – so that you can get on with your day safe in the knowledge you’re covered. Catalogue your worldly possessions in under 15 minutes, from the convenience of your smartphone, and claim back just as quickly. That’s insurance as it should be.

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