How to Insure Electronics While Traveling
Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

In this era of electronics, where we depend upon gadgets of all shapes and sizes to connect us with the world and manage our lives, it is a rare career break traveler who goes unaccompanied by a cell phone, a laptop, an iPad, e-reader or camera. These days, guarding such precious (and often costly) items from risk of being damaged, stolen, or lost, has become almost as important as protecting your own well being.  Just as your own personal insurance is part of your preparation checklist, so is property insurance if you are carrying high tech valuables.  What are your options for protecting your electronics from theft and loss while on your career break?

Travel Insurance Coverage

Fortunately, travel insurance Package Policies provide comprehensive coverage for both you and your electronics. In addition to important coverage for travel delays, cancellations and medical issues, Package Policies include baggage insurance which is a form of property coverage that is specific to luggage and personal effects, including electronics.

Most plans have a special limit within the baggage coverage for items such as jewelry, furs, cameras, and business-related equipment. There is usually a maximum per article limit (typically around $300), and an aggregate limit for special items such as electronics, furs, and gold/silver.  The aggregate limit for most plans is around $600, and that is the combined maximum amount that the company will pay for all special items.

Though most plans exclude professional equipment, some have Professional Business Property Benefits which will reimburse up to $1,000 with a $150 deductible for theft or damage to business related items. For an additional cost, some plans also offer an option to delete the exclusion for electronics.

In instances of theft, most of the travel insurance package policy plans offer some protection as long as the theft occurred while the coverage is in effect. In the event you ever have to file a claim, be sure to keep/have receipts for your valuables and immediately file a police report for the stolen item(s).

Overall, travel insurance is a good way to cover your smaller/cheaper electronics while you travel.  But what about the big ticket items?

Home Owners/Renters Insurance

It is important to realize that most travel insurance policies may not cover the full replacement cost of your laptop or DSLR.  But for those career breakers who are keeping their home/renters insurance while they travel, check with your agent to see if that policy covers your bigger ticket items while you travel.  You may in fact already be covered.  Note that baggage coverage offered in travel insurance packages as mentioned above is secondary to any other insurance you may have such as a homeowners’ policy.  For the most complete protection available, consider adding a rider for your electronics onto your policy.

Personal Property Insurance

A final option is to take out a separate policy that just insures specific property – a personal articles policy.  This was traditionally used for jewelry, expensive art, etc.; however as the world has become more gadget based, it can also be used to insure your specific gadget.  One of our career breakers, Russ Brooks, found a personal articles policy to cover his laptop and DSLR while he traveled. Costs can be about 5% of the value of the product – but you will need to have all of your paperwork, receipts, and serial numbers in order when getting this type of insurance, so be prepared.

You should note that not all insurance companies will sell a personal articles policy to you if they feel like the length of your travels or your travels in general are too risky for them to insure.  The approval is up to the provider.

Where Should You Start?

Start by deciding which electronics you are taking with you. Then, for more information on insuring your electronics or insurance protection for your career break, contact InsureMyTrip’s exclusive insurance hotline for Meet, Plan, Go! members at 855-773-9375.  They have been trained on the needs of career breakers and can let you know what various travel insurance plans cover and their limits.  If a travel insurance plan doesn’t work for your electronics, then start looking into other types of insurance such as home owners/renters, and personal property insurance.

And whatever you do, take precaution on the road and always lock up your valuables in your bag or in another secure place.  But if you want to keep them the safest, then just don’t bring them!  Unplug for your career break!

Photo by Daniel Feldt.

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