Are Your Electronics and Computers Covered by Your Insurance?

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Today, there is a lot of misinformation about consumer electronics and the way it is handled by insurance companies. Many people believe that their consumer electronics are covered by homeowners and renters insurance.

They often discover that their assumptions don’t hold true… when they make claims.

Yes, some property is covered. There are many limitations and exclusions you should be aware of if you suffer a loss or file a claim.

Do not wait to claim your coverage. This article will help you make informed decisions about your coverage.

Twenty years ago, consumers were not very familiar with computer ownership and usage. A cell phone was small enough to be carried in a small bag. There were very few home fax machines. Although answering machines were common, voicemail was still a possibility. Scanners were not available. Copier and printers were expensive and not common in homes. Satellite TV was only available to the very few who could afford it. The dish measured eight feet in size and was placed outside the home. The Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), and MP3 players were not yet invented.

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Today…

Two desktop computers and monitors are available in our house.
four laptop computers
Four printers
One standalone fax machine
One combination fax, scanner and copier
Three TVs
Two VCRs
One digital video camera and tripod for our home recording studio
One audio mixing board, one microphone and one amplifier are all needed for our home recording studio. We also have two external soundcards and a 500GB hard disk.
Two DVD players
Two cell phones and one smartphone with voicemail.
One satellite TV system with a 24-inch dish mounted on the roof.
two Ipods

While your home might not contain that many electronics, it could have more. Because consumer electronics prices have fallen over the years, ownership is now much more affordable.

But… Is it covered? Do you have homeowners or renters’ insurance that covers electronics?

Three businesses are run out of our house. Our businesses use most of our electronics.

Do do own a home-based business? There are many home-based businesses, ranging from home daycare to service businesses to multilevel marketing companies. Many entrepreneurs have their own office electronics to run their home businesses. Are you using your electronics and computers for any type of home business? It could even be considered business use, even if you answer office emails from your home computer.

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Is your homeowners policy covering them?

If they are business-related, are they covered?

What happens if your laptop or desktop computer is stolen from home or abroad? Is your homeowners insurance policy able to cover the theft?

Your laptop is very vulnerable to theft if you take it through any American airport. (See more below) What happens if your laptop gets stolen in an airport?

These are the answers to your questions.

MAYBE! !

The Homeowners or Renters Policy Coverage C, Contents has special limits of $2,500 on “property, located at the residence premises, that is used primarily for business purposes.” There is a $500 limit on “property not located at the residence that is used primarily for business purposes.” You will need to pay a deductible first. If your deductible exceeds $500, you won’t receive any money from the insurance company.

Do your electronics have insurance? No, but for the following:

Lightning or fire
Hail or Windstorm
Explosion
Riot or civil commotion
Aircraft (not in an aircraft, but if it falls on your stuff.
Vehicles (not in cars, but if they crash into your stuff.
Smoke
Vandalism or Malicious Mischief
Theft
Falling objects (stuff falling onto you stuff)
Weight of Ice, Snow, or Sleet
Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam
Sudden and accidental Tearing Away or Bursting (of hot water or steam system)
Freezing
An artificially generated electrical current can cause accidental and sudden damage.
Volcanic Eruption

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As I mentioned above, the policy limit on business electronics in a residence is $2,500

Your Auto insurance does not cover theft of laptops or other portable electronics.

Remember that Coverage C, Contents pays on an Actual Cash Value basis and not the Replacement Cost Value. You can only get RCV by adding the Contents Replacement Cost endorsement on your policy. You must request it.

What about other types of damage your computer may sustain?

o Accidental damage such as drops, falls, liquid spills, and collisions with vehicles.
o Water damage

These damages are not covered by your homeowner or renters insurance.

What about software and sensitive data on your computer? Are you covered?

It is unlikely. It is unlikely.

To be fully covered, you will need additional coverage.

COMPUTER INSURANCE PERSONAL ELECTRONICS INSURANCE

Safeware Insurance is the leading provider of computer and portable electronics insurance. Safeware Insurance offers programs that are affordable for individuals, schools, and small businesses at extremely competitive rates.

Let me tell you about their amazing insurance product in a matter of minutes.

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If you have:

Computers for desktop or laptop use
Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs),
Smartphones
Digital cameras
MP3 players
Scanners/Faxes/Copiers
Printers
DVD players
Flash drives
Servers
External hard drives
Digital camcorders
Peripherals that can connect to your computer via an USB port, Firewire or other input

These electronic products require special insurance coverage that is not offered in the Homeowners and Renters policies.

These facts about computers are fascinating.

Unintentional damage is the leading cause of loss
o Theft ranks second in loss.
o The third is the power surge
Manufacturer warranties don’t protect your computer against accidental damage or theft
o Although some manufacturers offer “damage only” coverage, this does not include coverage for theft, power surges or vandalism.

It is easy to get electronics with a replacement value of more than $2,500, as you already know. You can find laptops and desktops with loaded capacities that easily surpass $2,500 each.

You have a few options:

1. To add protection to your renters or homeowners policy, call your agent to purchase a Personal Property Endorsement. There are two downsides to this option: a) Many endorsements only cover the Actual Cash Value (not replacement cost) and b) perils such as accidental damage, falls, cracked screens, liquid spills, auto collisions, and accidental damage are not covered.

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2. A custom policy can be purchased that provides additional coverage for your computer and other electronic devices.

Desktops
Notebooks and laptops
Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs),
Smartphones
Digital cameras
MP3 players
Scanners/Faxes/Copiers
Printers
DVD players
Flash drives
Servers
External hard drives
Digital camcorders
Peripherals that can connect to your computer via an USB port, Firewire or other input

Safeware policies include coverage for accidental damage, falls, cracks screens, liquid spills, and auto collisions.

Business Electronics

A laptop was stolen from the home of a Department of Veterans Affairs data analyst in May 2006. The laptop held sensitive information about more than 26 million veterans and military personnel. According to the FBI, the laptop was found after an informant had “snitched” motivated by a $50,000 reward.

It’s not only organizations that handle consumer data that are concerned about thefts. When the laptop is owned by the company, employees who have access to laptops may be more concerned about its value.

Ponemon Institute, an organization that focuses on privacy risk management, published a comprehensive study entitled “Airport Insecurity: A Case of Lost and Missing Laptops” in June 2008. They examined the security of laptops at 106 American airports. On average, 12,000 laptops are lost, stolen, or misplaced at American airports per week. Los Angeles International has the worst record with 1,200 laptops per week. With 450 flights per week, Atlanta’s Hartsfield was the nation’s busiest airport.

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The study also found that 33% of laptops in the airport’s Lost and Found Departments never get reclaimed. Airport authorities dispose of 67% of the unclaimed laptops. Imagine the sensitive business and personal data that is contained in these laptops. It is all at risk. No one knows what will happen to it. The Identity Theft risk is enormous.

Safeware covers electronic devices for hazards that homeowners, renters, or business insurance policies do not cover.

Education Coverage

Students are at greater risk of theft or damage than adults. Accidents can happen when students are putting their stuff in their locker, accidentally getting bumped in busy corridors, or running to catch the bus. They could spill a soft drink on the keyboard or leave their laptop bag behind and then find it gone.

This policy covers students’ computers from accidental damage, theft, power surge, and natural disasters in any country within the USA, Canada, or while they are on transit.

Small Business Insurance covers any business that has electronics property valued up to $49999. It includes coverage for accidental damage, theft, fire, vandalism, power surge and natural disasters.

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Commercial Insurance is for companies with electronics property values greater than $50,000. You can choose from one of the following options: Comprehensive (Accidental damage, theft, fire, vandalism, power surge and natural disasters); Theft only, or Accidental damage ONLY.

Organizations such as:

Schools and colleges who want to make student’s notebook computers safer and less risky.
Companies issue laptops and notebooks to employees in order to reduce their capital loss risk.

These organizations have the equipment owned by the school or corporation and the employees or students use it. The experience has shown that an individual who does not own the computer is more likely to neglect it than someone who did. Businesses and schools need to insure expensive equipment against damage that could make it useless.

Your electronics are not considered to be part of Safeware Insurance policies. They will replace the equipment if you have a claim. This is a huge difference to the Homeowners or Renters policies and could cost you thousands of dollars in a claim.

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Worldwide Coverage An endorsement that provides global coverage for a very affordable price. Standard coverage includes the USA, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

Mobile Advantage covers smartphones and PDAs. Your unit was likely purchased at a huge discount when you signed-up for a service plan. You will have to pay the full retail price for another unit if your device is lost or damaged. Mobile Advantage allows you to pay only $50 per incident for a new device.

Safeware Insurance can provide more information on Personal Electronics Insurance, whether it’s for you, your student, or yourself.

LAPTOP REECOVERY COVERAGE

Can you get your stolen laptop back?

You can protect your laptop and retrieve it after it has been stolen.

Albuquerque police arrested three burglary suspects on February 1, 2008. They were able to use a stolen computer with tracking software to arrest them. Absolute Software developed the software LoJack for LaptopsTM. The software tracked the suspects and gave the police the exact location. Police were also able recover thousands of dollars worth of other stolen property from the spot.

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Absolute Software is the market leader in Computer Theft Recovery (TM), Data Protection and Secure Asset Tracking (TM) solutions. The LoJack for LaptopsTM software is installed and registered at the LoJack website. You should notify your local police to report the theft and the LoJack Recovery Team. When your computer connects to the Internet again, the laptop will notify the Monitoring Center secretly of its location. The Recovery Team can track your computer’s location and give police the information they need to obtain a search warrant and retrieve your laptop.

LoJack for LaptopsTM starts at $39.99 per Year

Cole Harrison, a friend from Atlanta, was recently the victim of a laptop theft. When he noticed the theft, he had Lojack installed on his laptop and immediately notified them. Lojack found the laptop in Thailand the next day.

Lojack for Laptops Lojack has a 90% success rate in recovering stolen laptops.

CONCLUSION

You can get the right coverage for a low price to protect your business and personal electronics. With the right protection, you can be the smartest person in your neighborhood. Get the best coverage to make your business the hero. You CAN DO IT! !

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