When Are My Devices Covered By Insurance?

People these days never go anywhere without their devices. But what if you do leave your smartphone in your car for a minute, only to find it missing when you return?


What if you are working on your laptop in your favourite coffee shop, and you accidentally spill your hot beverage all over the keyboard?

As devices and gadgets become a bigger part of our lives, so grows the need for insurance coverage and other plans that offer peace of mind in case of an incident. Devices are typically very expensive to replace. Not only are they easy targets for theft, but they are typically fragile as well. According to an AT&T survey of U.S. consumers 72 percent have broken a phone, and 57 percent have broken a phone more than once.

Before you find yourself with lost, stolen or broken device with no way to seek compensation, it would be wise to take a moment to consider whether or not your devices are covered. Many people think that their insurance policy covers accidental damage to their devices, but that isn't often the case.

Are You Covered By Your Mobile Carrier?

When it comes to smartphones and other mobile connected devices, the first layer of defense is if you purchased a protection plan from your carrier. Such plans are paid with an additional charge added to your monthly bill for a set period of time. These plans typically cover accidental damage, such as liquid spills and cracked screens. Many plans cover lost or stolen devices, but not all of them do. If your plan does, be prepared to pay a deductible, around a couple of hundred dollars in most cases, to replace your device.

Are You Covered by Another Protection Plan or Extended Warranty?

Mobile protection plans are typically limited to phones, but what about other devices?  Laptops, cameras, tablets, smartwatches, and other electronic devices can be covered for damage, theft, or loss by various independent protection plans. Keep in mind that you'll need a plan for each individual item you want to cover. Plans can typically cover your device for two to three years after paying a one-time fee. You can sometimes pay more for a no-deductible plan. If you are accident prone and worried about breaking your fancy smartwatch, this is the exact kind of coverage you should spring for. Your plan provider will either repair your broken item, or they will give you money for a replacement.

If you purchased an extended warranty when buying your device, there is a chance that it covers accidental damage from handling. Not every extended warranty will offer this protection, however. Also, most protection plans and extended warranties won't cover loss or theft. One notable exception is AppleCare+, which offers replacement coverage for current iPhone models.

Are You Covered by Your Insurance?

In the case of a device stolen from your car, you might think you'd put in a claim with your auto insurance provider. But car insurance doesn't cover theft of personal items from your vehicle. Instead, you would turn to your renters or home insurance policy to make a claim.

Renters and home insurance policies typically cover your personal property from theft, both inside and outside the home. Of course, you will have to pay a deductible when making a claim and there are limits as to the maximum loss you can claim. Also, you usually aren't covered by insurance if you just misplace your item.

However, most standard policies won't cover accidental damage to your devices. Some renters policies offer coverage for accidents such as drops or spills, but this is an additional coverage you would have to add to your policy.

Finding the Right Coverage

At the end of the day, it is up to you to read all of the fine print to understand how your particular devices are covered. If you are worried about accidentally damaging or losing your device, your best bet is probably to go for a protection plan or extended warranty. If your personal devices are stolen, then you can turn to your homeowners or renters policy. Compare insurance quotes for your property at InsuranceHotline.com.