Updated: September 2016
Whether you use it for work or for school, putting your laptop, tablet or smartphone in a bag and heading out the door may be part of a your daily routine. Thanks to wireless networks, you can be connected just about anywhere — while checking your email in a cafe, working at the kitchen table, taking notes in class or watching a movie on the couch. But what would you do if your laptop or mobile device was stolen or damaged? Would you be able to replace it?
Your renters insurance policy may help pay to repair or replace electronics if they are stolen or damaged by certain causes.
The Insurance Information Institute (III) notes that renters insurance typically helps cover your personal belongings, such as a laptop, should they be 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 cover theft of your personal possessions.
When you purchase a renters insurance policy, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) states that you'll likely have to choose between "actual cash value" and "replacement cost" coverage. The type of protection you choose may play an important role in how much coverage you'll have for a covered loss. For instance:
- Actual cash value coverage: Takes depreciation into account when determining how much your policy will pay out after a covered loss. 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.
- Reimbursement cost coverage. Provides for the cost of a replacement laptop or tablet, 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.
It's important to keep in mind that coverage limits will apply. A limit is the maximum amount a policy will pay toward a covered loss. You'll want to know your policy limits are and how much coverage they provide for your electronic devices (as well as other belongings). In some cases, you may be able to purchase additional protection for a laptop computer.
Renters insurance isn't free — the NAIC says it typically costs $15 to $30 per month. You may decide the cost is well worth the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have certain protections in place for your laptop and other belongings.
It may be hard to picture life without your laptop, tablet or smartphone, which is why it makes sense to be sure it's covered by your renters insurance policy. A local agent can help review your existing coverage so you can determine whether you have the coverage that is right for you.