Mobile phone, tablet & laptop insurance

Mobile Phonelaptop Insurance

Portable electronic devices are highly valuable but also easy to damage, misplace or steal. Insurance can be a good way to offset the cost of repair or replacement.

Before you take out insurance read the fine print, as some providers do not cover accidental loss or mechanical damage.

Choosing insurance

Smart tip

Check if your policy covers accidental loss. Some policies don't cover this.

It pays to shop around as insurance on electronic devices can vary greatly in price and cover.

Because electronic goods lose value quickly, insurance is of most use to you when the product is new. Before you take out insurance compare the cost of premiums per year plus the cost of the excess with the real value of the product.

Once you have taken out the insurance, if you change your mind you can cancel it within the cooling-off period, usually 14 days. Check your insurance contract for the exact cooling-off period and conditions. 

Types of cover

There are three ways you can insure your portable electronic devices. You can:

  • add it to your contents insurance
  • get phone cover from an insurance company
  • get cover through your phone plan provider

Add to your contents insurance

If you already have contents insurance, adding your portable electronic devices to your existing insurance can be a cost-effective option. Ask your provider what cover they provide for an extra portable item.

Ask for specific mobile phone or device cover because most general 'personal effects' or 'portables' extras cover will not insure these devices. You will usually also have to tell the insurance company the make and model of your devices and check if the cover is for accidental loss. 

This will cost extra in your premium but if you need to make a claim, it usually won't affect your no-claim discount.

Separate portable insurance

You can also buy a policy direct from an insurance company. Separate portable insurance can work well for people who have no existing contents insurance, but it can be more expensive than adding it to a contents policy.

Some insurers won't allow you to take out a policy if your device is not brand new. You should also check if you are covered for overseas travel if you are planning a trip.

Insurance through your phone provider

If you have a plan with a phone provider you can also get phone insurance through your plan. This can be convenient if you don't have contents insurance, but it can be a more expensive option. Shop around before signing up for this type of cover.

If you are an Optus customer, or have been in the past, please see ASIC's media release on action we have taken against Optus to refund mobile phone insurance customers.

Case Study: Jessica's phone disaster

Woman With Smartphone

Jessica bought a top of the line smart phone for $900. She looked around online for the best deal on phone insurance but decided against getting any. She bought a case and screen protector to keep her phone safe.

A few weeks later, she dropped her phone down a flight of stairs. The screen
got cracked and the phone had problems turning on. Jessica called the manufacturer but they said it was not covered by their warranty as it didn't cover accidental damage.

Jessica ended up buying a new phone which took a few months to save for. Before she bought her phone, she went online and compared a few insurance plans based on premiums, excess, what damage they covered and how quickly they could replace her phone. She also compared separate phone insurance to adding the phone to her home and contents cover.

The insurance plan she finally decided on covered her for accidental damage and bought her some peace of mind.

Check what's covered

Not all policies cover the same things. It is important that you find a policy that covers your needs. Check the Product Disclosure Statement to see if these things are covered:

  • Replacement if the device is stolen (with a police report within 48 hrs)
  • Reimbursement of unauthorised calls (usually only up to a couple of hundred dollars)
  • Worldwide short-term travel cover
  • Mechanical failure (only some policies cover this)
  • Accidental loss or damage (some separate portable insurance policies don't cover this)
  • Phone or computer accessories, like earphones, headsets, cases or your mouse (this feature is fairly rare, but can provide cover up to a couple of hundred dollars)

Most policies do not cover the following:

  • Phones stolen in a unlocked vehicle or visible in a vehicle or left unattended in a public place
  • General wear and tear, gradual deterioration or developing flaws
  • Restoration of electronic records
  • Loss of stored files from a claimable event or a virus or hacker

Making a claim

If your portable device has been stolen, you will usually have to notify the police within 48 hours and your insurance provider within 14 days. Proof of purchase such as a receipt should be enough to prove your ownership of the device.

You should also:

  • Call your phone or internet provider to disable SIM or internet cards.
  • Ask your phone provider to clear your personal phone data (if you have anti-virus software on the device).
  • Locate your phone via GPS (if you have this facility on the phone).

Remember that if someone steals your phone, laptop or tablet, they can get more information from it than they can from your wallet.

To keep your electronic devices safe:

  • Don't leave them lying around in plain sight. Keep them as safe as you would your wallet. 
  • Don't save passwords on your devices. Try to create passwords that you can remember but no one else can work out.
  • Activate the password or PIN security on your devices.
  • Use mobile networks rather than free wireless when accessing your bank accounts.
  • Always check the authenticity of the sites you visit - a smaller screen can make it hard to identify fake sites.
  • Check your phone and bank statements for any unusual charges in case someone has accessed your mobile without you knowing.

Portable insurance can be a great way of saving you money when your personal devices go missing, but read all the terms and conditions before you sign up. Then you'll know exactly what you are getting for your money.

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Last updated: 12 Oct 2016