Laptop Insurance and How it Works

Very often, if not every day, you leave your home carrying a small fortune with you. Do yourself a favour and make a quick calculation of the value of your cell phone, laptop, handbag and purse/wallet, jewellery, designer sunglasses and maybe even designer label clothes and shoes.

Laptops have almost become a fashion accessory, thieves love them too, they are very “snatchable.” Statistics show that more than a hundred laptops are reported stolen every day. Losing or having your laptop stolen is always a huge inconvenience. If you did not have insurance cover the event can also cost you dearly.

If you decide to insure your laptop there are various options available to you:

As your laptop is a high value item don’t assume that it is automatically covered under your content (householders) insurance. Laptops travel with you and as soon as it leaves the house it is not covered, unless you have listed it as a specified item under the All Risks section of your policy. You need to provide the insurance company with the make, model and serial number of the laptop. Also remember that you should insure your laptop for the replacement value, not the current market value.

Make sure that you understand the cover provided for your laptop clearly, there may be a number of exclusions listed in your policy document.

Various insurance companies now offer what is called Portables Insurance or Portable Possessions Cover. Some companies will offer you this cover only if you already have car or household insurance with them. Under this cover you can claim for loss or damage of the items you carry with you.

Each insurance company has their own variation but usually you will be covered for loss or damage to your jewellery, clothing and personal items which you usually wear or carry with you. Your family members living with you enjoy the same cover. A limit will be applicable on individual items, usually R1 500. Any item with a value of more than R1 500 must be specified in the policy. Limits will also apply to the total payable per incident, if the insured items where left in your car cabin and a different limit (higher if the items were stolen from a locked boot of a car.

Eyewear such as prescription glasses and contact lenses must always be specified, the same goes for cellular phones and laptops. Bicycles also fall in this category.

Exclusions can include any of the following:

  1. Your watch if damage was caused by overwinding, leaking batteries or immersion in water.
  2. Damage caused by ironing, cleaning, moth or vermin.
  3. An item used solely for business or professional use. (so confirm your laptop usage with your insurer.)
  4. If the laptop was lost while in the possession of a third party.
  5. “Derangement” – when your computer crashes for no discernable reason. You will be covered if the cause is external, such as lighting.
  6. Consequential damage is also excluded. An example would be if you are self-employed and you loose all your spreadsheets that were stored on your laptop.

The moral of the story – always keep back-up copies of your important files or store them with an internet company that provides a back-up service.

A number of cell phone network providers also offer laptop insurance now. Investigate all your options and compare apples with apples. What are the excess amounts payable, the premiums, what are the exclusions, the length of the claims procedure, compare everything before you make a decision. Check if the cover includes the data card as well as the laptop.

When you insure your laptop the insurer will require the model number. If it is an embedded laptop they will require the Embedded IMEI.

Look after your laptop.