How to get insurance for your new iPad and other gadgets
Maybe you just purchased a big-screen TV and want to protect against a Wii controller getting thrown through the screen. Or perhaps the warranty on your brand-new iPad doesn't offer enough peace of mind. If you've invested a lot of money in gadgets, the proper insurance coverage can provide financial protection in case of mishaps and disasters.
Home and renters insurance
Electronics are covered under most renters and home insurance policies if they are lost or damaged by threats that the policy covers, such as fire, lightning, wind or theft, according to the Insurance Information Institute. That being said, limits do apply to this coverage:
- If lightning strikes and a power surge fries the circuits on your flat-screen TV, your policy might not cover the damage.
- Your policy may cover electronics only up to a certain dollar amount. If you own lots of electronics and who doesn't these days?), you may need to boost your premiums.
- Some computer equipment and electronics may be excluded.
- The value of gadgets may depreciate over time. Your policy likely would cover only their market value, which may not be enough money to replace them with newer models.
- Homeowner's and renter's insurance does not cover technical malfunctions, according to the Insurance Information Institute. If a device simply stops working, you won't be covered. You would need a manufacturer's warranty if you expect a refund or replacement.
Some specialty companies offer insurance policies tailored to technology. Safeware, for example, specializes in computer insurance for individuals and companies. Individuals can insure desktops, laptops and tablet PCs like the iPad) for threats like cracked screens, drops, theft, fires, floods and power surges. If your computer is "totaled," you'll get cash for its market value.
Specialty insurer Worth Ave Group covers a variety of gizmos, including computers, cell phones and TVs. Premiums for its iPhone policies start at $55 a year with a $50 deductible). You also can insure your gaming system like an Xbox, Wii or PlayStation) against threats like liquid spills and natural disasters.
Keeping your home inventory up to date
It can be tricky to track all the gadgets in your house -- especially if your family is constantly acquiring the latest gizmos. As soon as you bring home a new toy, the Insurance Information Institute recommends contacting your agent to find out whether you need to upgrade your policy.
Make it a habit to photograph all of the gadgets in your home and to carefully store all warranties and receipts. The Insurance Information Institute recommends keeping a computerized home insurance inventory, using digital photographs and receipt scans. Just don't forget to back up that computer -- and get insurance for it.
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