Protecting your Travel Electronics

21 February 2013
Protecting your Travel Electronics
Protecting your Travel Electronics

Nearly all of us haul any number of electronics around with us these days – even when we travel. These electronics are expensive and important to us. Not only that, they are key to our ability to communicate with others, record the trip, and get a little work done.

Let’s say a traveler is carrying these items on their trip:

  • iPad with upgraded storage -> $529.00
  • iPhone with basic storage -> $199.00
  • Canon camera -> $459.00

That traveler has nearly $1,200 in electronics if they had to be replaced if you’re held up on a bus ride by bandits looking for anything they can sell on the black market, for example. If you add in a few electronic kid pacifiers, your spouse’s e-reader and camera, you could be facing a few thousand dollars in losses.

When you’re trying to protect your electronics, there are two things to understand with regards to travel insurance plans:

  1. Baggage coverage has per-item limits for electronics
  2. Even relatively high limits are too low to cover most electronics.

Let’s review what that means for your travel electronics.

Baggage Coverage Excludes Electronics

Travel insurance coverage for personal items in baggage includes a per-item limit. While you may have $600 in baggage coverage, the plan may have a per-item limit of $300 which means it will only pay up to that amount for a single item. The latest smartphones cost quite a bit more than that to replace.

If more than one electronic item is stolen, you will have used up the limit of your coverage pretty quickly and have to pay the rest to replace those items out of pocket.

Read How Travel Insurance Works for Electronics for more information.

Limits too low for most Electronics

Travel insurance plans typically have nice high limits for medical emergencies, emergency evacuations, and even flight accidents. Plus, you can often choose a higher limit to get more protection. When it comes to your travel electronics, however, travel insurance plans are typically limited to $750 at the high end as as low as $300. Sure the price of electronics is always coming down, but if you lose a smartphone and laptop in Paris, France, that limit on your travel insurance plan is not going to be much comfort.

Extra Protection for Electronics

Some travel insurance plans come with extra coverage for electronics, which can help. MH Ross offers an Extended Personal Property Pac, for example. It increases the per-item limit of $600 to $1,000 in addition to the baggage coverage limit for just $15 per person. Still, if you’ve lost a lot of electronics that limit is only going to take a little of the sting off.

Best Coverage for your Gadgets

The best coverage for your electronic gadgets is with personal property insurance. Often, your homeowner’s insurance company will give you a deal on personal property because they bundle the plans. Expect to pay around 5% of the total replacement cost per item for the coverage but know that even if you set that camera on the ground and the elephant you are riding steps on it, you’ll have full replacement cost.

Prepare to Make a Claim

If you do this work when you buy your coverage, you’ll have the details you need if you have to make a claim. When you buy an electronic gadget:

  1. Make a copy of the receipt and store it in a folder.
  2. Then, call the insurance provider and add that gadget to your coverage.

Covering that digital camera you just bought for $600 is likely to cost you just $30 a year or less depending on your provider. You may need the original receipt, however, to make a claim depending on the plan.

Purchase Travel Insurance with Focus

If you know that your electronics are protected by your personal property insurance, you can focus your travel insurance purchase process on the important things: like protecting yourself from high medical bills instead. That’s where things can really get expensive.

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Damian Tysdal

Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and is a licensed agent for travel insurance (MA 1883287). He believes travel insurance should be easier to understand, and started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.

Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and is a licensed agent for travel insurance (MA 1883287). He believes travel insurance should be easier to understand, and started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.