Are your digital downloads insured?

Would your digital music collection be covered if you were forced to make a claim on your home insurance? The average UK adult has almost £1,200-worth of music, films and software but just three in 10 of the most popular contents policies cover it…

Although some of us still like to buy CDs, or are hoarding vinyl records from yesteryear, people are moving on. Tiny MP3 players crammed with thousands of songs are replacing CDs on shelves, while computers are increasingly filled with expensive software and games.

Your digital content has never been so valuable. In fact, in total, the country’s internet users have around £46billion-worth of music, films and software stored digitally in their homes.

Despite this, just three in 10 of the most popular home contents insurance policies would pay for digital contents to be replaced if you fell victim to thieves, fire, flooding or accident.

Are you a digital hoarder?

While the moneysupermarket.com research showed that the average person in this country has almost £1,200-worth of music, films and software stashed on a hard drive, there are two million extreme cases with content worth more than £5,000.

These digital hoarders are typically aged between 18 and 34. That makes it likely that some of them will never have bought a disc or tape, but simply purchased music online their whole adult lives.
 
But it seems that some people simply don’t consider stored music to have value, even if they’d think about the value of CDs on a shelf if disaster struck.

Julie Owens, moneysupermarket.com’s home insurance expert, said: “Whether it’s Beyonce or The Beatles, people don't associate the same value to an MP3 player full of music as they do to a wall full of CDs or vinyl, but it is just as - if not more - valuable in terms of money, so people need to ensure they are appropriately insured.”

Which insurers will cover my downloads?

The majority of popular contents insurance policies don’t cover digital downloads, but which do?

Well, out of the 10 most popular policies, just three offer this essential protection. These are: Halifax, which provides cover for up to £2,000-worth of content; LV=, which offers protection for songs and software worth up to £1,000; and Hiscox, which gives policyholders up to £2,500 in protection for policyholders’ downloads.

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What kind of content?

Maybe you’re now wrinkling your brow, trying to work out what kind of downloads you might have stored on your computer – but it’s not just music.

As a nation, we’re downloading more and more content online – physical copies are so 2009. For example, you can buy Hollywood blockbusters online, TV series, PC games, software - you can even pay to subscribe to some podcasts series.

The value of this kind of content soon adds up, meaning you wouldn’t just lose an expensive computer – you’d lose a library of music, games and other entertainment.

Can’t you just download it again?

One of the reasons we don’t value our digital content may be that we assume we could simply download it afresh if anything happened.

However, that’s not always the case and, if you can’t access the content again, it’s important to be able to make an insurance claim – or you risk being thousands of pounds out of pocket (or worse still, stuck listening to CDs you lost interest in years ago).

How do you know whether or not you’re covered?

Maybe you’re not sure whether your digital haul is covered. It’s really important to check the small print in advance and upgrade your cover if you need it. If disaster does strike, you don’t want any extra nasty surprises.

Julie added: "I recommend checking the small print of your policy to find out what you are covered for and to what value. Being underinsured is also a dangerous position to find yourself in - if in doubt, speak to your insurer to find out whether you need to increase your cover for downloaded material.

“For people with an especially high value of digital content it may be worth considering cover from a specialist provider; Hiscox for example will insure up to £2,500-worth of downloaded material."

Peace of mind pays

When comparing home insurance policies it’s really important to look beyond price. You obviously don’t want to be overpaying for cover, but it’s also essential to ensure that you have the right level of protection.

Opting for the cheapest quote could prove a false economy if you come to make a claim only to find that you aren’t covered.

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