Are your gadgets insured for travel?

Look around any airport’s departure lounge today, and you’ll see a multitude of smartphones, e-readers, tablet computers and laptops

Person using tablet

As tech has gotten smaller and lighter, these expensive items have become common travelling companions – whether they are for keeping us entertained on a plane, staying in contact with home, or even a spot of reading on the beach.

According to research by RAC Travel Insurance, British holidaymakers take an average of 3.2 gadgets away with them, totalling 121.4m throughout the year. The value of these devices is estimated to be a whopping £20.2bn.

In fact, almost a third of those surveyed (31%) said they personally took away with them between £200 and £500 worth of electronic devices. 

But how many of us actually check that our gadgets are insured for travel? 

Here we take a look at the implications on your travel insurance and how to ensure your gadgets are fully covered.

Single item limits

When comparing travel insurance policies, it’s tempting to go for the absolute cheapest option. But ignoring the small print in favour of cheap cover could in fact prove more costly if you were to lose or damage one of your expensive gadgets and find the policy doesn’t pay out for its full cost.

This is why you would be well advised to check each policy’s ‘single item limit’ before making a purchase.

As it says on the tin, a single item limit is the maximum amount the insurer will pay out for a single item, regardless of how much cover the policy gives you for your personal belongings overall. Single item limits vary from policy to policy.

For example, a quick MoneySuperMarket travel insurance comparison for a couple, both aged 25, travelling to Dubai (with baggage and cancellation cover) returns three quotes under £15. However, the single item limits range from just £100 to £200.

Bearing in mind that you may also have to pay an excess charge for making a claim, losing or damaging something like an iPad - which can cost anywhere between £200 and £800 - could prove to be very expensive.

However, it is sometimes possible to increase your single item limit (sometimes referred to as single article limit) for an additional fee.

Be aware that some policies simply won’t cover you at all for some items like mobile phones. So if you’re planning on taking your iPhone, Blackberry or any other smartphone abroad with you, you'll need to arrange alternative cover.

If you have insurance included as part of your mobile phone contract, for example, that may cover you abroad, but you need to check the policy details.

Specialist cover

Alternatively, you could take out a separate gadget insurance policy.

Specialist gadget insurance policies are the most comprehensive way to make sure your tech is protected, and prices start from around just £1.50 a month. Many gadget insurers offer worldwide cover, but as with any insurance policy it's really important to read the terms carefully so that you know exactly what's covered and for how much. Keep an eye out for any exclusions that could affect you, based on which gadgets you might want to take away with you.

Click here to see the gadget insurance providers we work with.

Doesn’t my home insurance cover me?

It's also worth checking your home insurance policy as some policies will cover your valuables abroad if you have personal possessions cover.

So check whether your policy includes personal possessions cover, how much it covers you for and for how many days abroad it covers you.

If your policy doesn't include personal possessions cover, it could be worth adding it - although this extra level of cover will increase your home insurance premiums, it will give you extra peace of mind when taking your gadgets abroad.

What if my travel and home insurance both cover me?

If you lose or damage any of your gadgets abroad and find that both your travel insurance and the personal possessions element of your home insurance covers you, which one should you claim on?

If you can, it’s probably best to claim on your travel insurance because if you make the claim on your home insurance policy, you’ll have to pay the excess and it will probably push up your premium as you’ll be losing your no claims discount.

Make sure you’re covered

To make sure your holiday doesn’t land you with the unexpected expense of having to fork out for a new laptop or smartphone this year, be sure to read the small print of your travel insurance cover.

You can play around with options and search for the best deal for you on MoneySuperMarket’s travel insurance channel.

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct

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