Keeping your personal gadgets safe

The 21st century has seen the personal gadget rise in popularity like never before. As well as our media players and cameras, we now have smartphones and mobile devices, tablets, ebook readers and other personal electronic devices that make our lives easier and keep us entertained.

These high-tech, highly portable devices are with us all the time, and built for use on the move – meaning they’re compact, light and easy to use one-handed, often with more than one function rolled into it.

Unfortunately the small size and high value of modern gadgets makes them prime targets for theft, as they’re so easy to slip out of a pocket or handbag by a light-fingered opportunist.

Their size and weight means they are also surprisingly easy to lose or drop. Smashed screens, devices dropped into water – it’s all seen on a daily basis by insurance claims handlers.

Keeping your device safe out and about

The best cure is always prevention, so its worth adopting a few sensible habits to keep your device and (the information stored on it) safe:
  • Keep your device close to you, putting it in a trouser pocket or a zipped compartment in your bag.
  • Don't leave it somewhere loose or open where it could fall out or easily be lifted off your person. When you're at home, put your device in a drawer or on a high shelf away from small children and pets.
  • Equip your device with a PIN or lock screen, if it has that functionality. It might take a second longer when you use it, but it could prevent someone stealing your personal data, if the device is stolen. It can also stop children from accessing harmful content or making purchases online.
  • Make sure your device is covered by insurance, whether its specific cover like mobile phone insurance, or as part of your household contents cover.

Checking what’s covered

Insurance policies cover items in the home, but you may require additional cover for your electronics outside of the home. If you have a few devices that regularly travel out and about with you, check your policy to make sure their total replacement value (ie how much it would cost to by brand new ones) doesn’t exceed any limits on your policy.

What’s your upgrade worth?

With electronics markets moving fast and devices becoming more and more affordable, it’s not unusual to change or upgrade your phone, tablet or camera more than once a year, but you can always contact your insurer to adjust your policy and make sure your new device is covered – after all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Contract phones are often “free” or very cheap with a contract because you are paying a monthly cost that helps the phone shop cover the cost of the handset. But if you were to replace your contract phone with a brand new handset of the same make and model, the handset might cost several hundred pounds, especially if it’s a popular or high-spec model.

So when you’re adding up your Home Insurance cover needs, remember to estimate the monthly cost that helps the phone shop cover the cost of the handset on a pay as you go, unlocked or SIM-free basis.

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