A Flat Screen TV May Be a Great Gift, But Make Sure It’s Properly Covered by Your Insurance

Tips for Financially Protecting Expensive Electronics

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NEW YORK, December 9, 2009 — Although holiday shoppers are increasingly budget conscious this year, electronic equipment continues to be a popular gift. In fact, nearly 30 percent of holiday purchases are expected to be electronics, such as flat screen televisions, and personal digital assistants (PDA), such as smart phones, according to the National Retail Federation. When money is tight, financially protecting expensive electronics is more important than ever says the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
“There is coverage for electronics under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies if these items are lost or damaged due to disasters listed in the policy such as fire, lightning or wind. These policies also cover you in the event someone breaks into your home and makes off with your new notebook computer,” said Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and consumer spokesperson for the I.I.I.
However, there may be a coverage limit per electronics item damaged by a surge, as well as limits on computer equipment by the named perils in the policy. Often, an increase to those limits can be purchased for an additional premium.
There may also be other sources of financial protection for electronic equipment, for example from the credit card used for the purchase, and the warranty offered by the store or manufacturer. While warranties are not insurance, they may cover technical problems that are generally not covered by standard homeowners or renters insurance policies.
To make sure your electronic equipment is financially protected, the I.I.I. suggests the following:
  • Contact your insurance professional immediately. Let your agent or company representative know immediately that you are now in possession of a piece of expensive new electronic equipment. And, don't be afraid to ask questions. Make sure you know how much insurance coverage you have and the types of events for which you are covered and not covered. Expensive items can sometimes go up or go down in value, so it important to keep your insurance information up-to-date.

  • Look into specialty insurance for electronics. There are now a few insurance companies which specialize in computers and electronics.

  • Keep a copy of the receipt. You should forward a copy of the receipt for your new item to your insurer so that the company has a record of its current retail value. Keep a copy for yourself and include it with your home inventory.

  • Add the item to your home inventory.An up-to-date home inventory is an important document. It can help you purchase the correct amount of insurance and will make the claims process easier if there is a loss. To make creating a home inventory simple, the I.I.I. provides free, Web-based software located at KnowYourStuff.org. Along with recording the details about the item—such as manufacturer and serial number—you can include digital photographs of your new gift and scanned receipts. Computerizing your inventory makes updating it fast and easy. And, don’t forget all of the accessories that may have been purchased along with the electronic equipment. While the individual items may not be expensive, the aggregate amount can really add up.


The I.I.I. is a nonprofit, communications organization supported by the insurance industry.


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