Mobile phone, tablet & laptop 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.
Check if your policy covers accidental loss. Some policies don't
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
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
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
- Restoration of electronic records
- Loss of stored files from a claimable event or a virus or
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
- 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
Remember that if someone steals your phone, laptop or tablet,
they can get more information from it than they can from your
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
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.
Last updated: 13 Dec 2016