Does Your Insurance Cover Hi-Tech Gifts?
By Tim Dodge
Electronics are some of the most popular holiday gifts either given or received. Yet a recent Trusted Choice@ survey finds seven of eight shoppers do not fully understand key aspects of their insurance coverage when it comes to these expensive toys. Trusted Choice@ is a national consumer brand representing thousands of independent insurance agents and brokers who are committed to quality service while offering a wide range of products.
Respondents of the national study consist of those who are expecting or giving such presents as iPods and iPhones, video gaming systems, computers and plasma televisions. Only one-fifth of those surveyed said they plan to contact their insurance agent to discuss the need for additional coverage.
Although most homeowners or renters policies cover electronic devices, consumers should be aware of important exceptions, such as coverage limitations and exclusions:
- Most homeowners or renters policies do not cover electrical power surges, although 55 percent of those polled in the Trusted Choice@ survey believe otherwise. Also excluded in most cases is the loss of digitally downloaded data. Even if your computer is covered by fire, windstorms and theft, downloads are not. Consider surge protectors or an uninterruptible power supply and securely back up information to multiple locations or a portable storage device as well as insurance policies that cover specialty electronics.
- If your gift list includes technology for someone who works at home, keep in mind that homeowners and renters polices do not offer adequate protection for home-based businesses. A Business Owners Policy provides coverage to in-home business equipment and includes theft, damage and various liability protections.
- Of households who rent, nearly seven in 10 do not have renters insurance. A typical owner’s policy on rental property covers building structures, but not the contents or liability of individual tenants. For as little as $150, renters insurance can provide comprehensive protection similar to that of a basic homeowners policy.
- Other valuables such as wine, fine art, jewelry or antiques need special insurance called floaters. Add this additional coverage to your renters or homeowners policy for a nominal fee.
- Consider buying flood insurance, even though you may not be located in a flood plain. Flood insurance can cover loss of property and contents caused by a broken water main, snowmelt, heavy rains, etc. Homeowners or renters insurance do not cover flood losses caused by rising water.
- Review your insurance policies with a qualified, licensed insurance professional. An insurance policy is a legal document that many consumers may not fully understand.
There is enough activity during the holiday season to last throughout the year. Do not complicate your life with the haze and maze of insurance. For piece of mind, contact a Trusted Choice@ agent in your area by going to www.trustedchoice.com.