Does renters insurance cover your laptop, tablet or phone?
Last updated: November 2023
Your renters insurance policy may help pay to repair or replace personal handheld electronics, including a laptop, smartphone, tablet or personal computer, if they are stolen or damaged by certain causes.
The personal property coverage in a renters insurance policy typically helps cover your personal belongings if they are damaged or destroyed by a covered risk, often referred to as a peril. Perils that are covered by renters insurance may vary, but they typically include fire, windstorms, lightning and certain types of water damage. Renters insurance may also help cover theft of your belongings.
How much coverage do I have for my laptop, tablet or phone?
How much coverage you have for your devices depends on the personal property coverage limits stated in your policy. A limit is the maximum amount a policy will pay toward a covered claim. You'll want to know your policy limits and how much coverage they provide for your electronic devices (as well as other belongings). Keep in mind that you'll also need to pay your deductible before your insurance provider reimburses you for a covered loss.
When you purchase a renters insurance policy, you'll likely have to choose between "actual cash value" and "replacement cost" coverage. The type of protection you choose helps determine how much you'll be reimbursed for a covered loss.
- Actual cash value coverage: Takes depreciation into account when determining how much your policy will pay out after a covered loss, such as laptop theft or damage caused by a lightning strike or power surge. Maybe you spent $800 to buy your laptop or tablet several years ago, but, due to depreciation, that's not necessarily what your insurance company will cover if you file a claim today.
- Replacement cost coverage: Provides for the cost of a replacement device, of similar make and model, in today's dollars. Premium costs for this coverage may be higher than the cost of actual cash value coverage, but you'd likely have greater protection.
In some cases, you may be able to purchase additional protection for your devices. Your insurance provider can explain what coverage options are available to you.
What does renters insurance cover on my laptop?
Since the personal property coverage in a renters insurance policy typically only applies to damage caused by certain risks, it's important to understand when your laptop or other electronic devices may and may not be covered.
For example, if your laptop is damaged by a fire in your apartment, renters insurance will probably help pay to repair or replace it. Similarly, your renters policy may act as laptop insurance — providing coverage if a laptop is stolen from the place you're renting (again, your coverage limit and deductible will apply).
However, renters insurance does not cover accidental damage to your laptop. So, if you knock your laptop off your desk, the cost of repairing the cracked screen would not be covered. Renters insurance also does not cover lost or misplaced items.
In addition, renters insurance does not cover repairs to a laptop or electronic device if a part breaks or it simply stops working. Check your device's warranty, however, to see if the necessary repairs are covered by the manufacturer.
It may be hard to picture life without your laptop, tablet or smartphone, which is why it makes sense to understand what kind of coverage your renters insurance policy provides. Your insurance provider can help you review your policy so you can determine whether you have the coverage that is right for you.