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.
Choosing mobile phone,
tablet & laptop insurance
It pays to shop around as insurance on electronic devices can
vary greatly in price and cover.
Check if your policy covers accidental loss. Some policies don't
Because electronic goods lose value quickly, insurance is most
useful 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.
If you change your mind after you buy the insurance, you can
cancel it within the cooling-off period, which is usually 14 days.
Check your insurance contract for the exact cooling-off period and
Types of personal effects
There are four 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
- try on-demand insurance
Add to your contents insurance
If you already have contents insurance, adding your portable
electronic devices to your existing policy can be a cost-effective
option. Ask your provider what cover they provide for an extra
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.
Adding these devices will increase the cost of your premium but,
if you need to make a claim, it usually won't affect your no-claim
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 let you 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.
On-demand insurance for portable devices
Some providers offer insurance for your portable devices, such
as your mobile phone, tablet or laptop only when they are in use.
This is called 'on-demand' insurance. For example, if you decide to
take your laptop to a coffee shop, you can switch 'on' the
insurance as you leave the house and switch it 'off' when you
If you have contents insurance, check whether
your devices are already covered when they are taken outside of
This type of insurance typically runs through an app on your
mobile or tablet device. It can save you money by allowing you to
decide when you need your portable personal belongings covered.
However, there are risks with this type of insurance. For example,
if your device is stolen or damaged while your insurance is
switched 'off', you may not be able to claim on your policy, and
will probably need to replace the device yourself.
You will usually be billed monthly and refunded for any days
that the insurance is not active. It is important to remember that
you may only be covered for certain types of damage under on-demand
insurance. Remember to read the Product
Disclosure Statement (PDS) before you sign up.
Case Study: Jessica's phone disaster
Jessica bought a top-of-the-line smartphone. She didn't insure
it and, a few weeks later, she dropped her phone down a flight of
stairs. The screen got cracked and Jessica had problems turning the
phone on. She called
the manufacturer but they said it was not covered by their
warranty, which didn't cover accidental damage.
Jessica ended up having to buy a new phone. Before she did, she
compared a few insurance plans based on their premiums, excess,
what damage they covered and how quickly they could replace her
phone. She also looked at the difference between getting separate
phone insurance versus adding the phone to her existing home and
Jessica made sure her insurance policy covered her phone for
accidental damage, buying her peace of mind.
Check what's covered by your
Not all policies cover the same things. It is important that you
find a policy that covers your needs. Check the PDS to see if
you are covered for:
- 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)
- 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:
- Phones that are: stolen in an unlocked vehicle, 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 on your
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: 06 Mar 2018