In the United States, around 90% of all households have a computer. Whether it’s a desktop PC or a laptop computer, the vast majority of Americans can connect to the internet, stream music and video, and, in many cases, even work from home.
The average price of a personal computer or laptop bought in 2019 was around $700, making it a high-end purchase for most consumers. And if you’ve purchased a Macbook or a Microsoft Surface, chances are you’ve spent double that.
So, what if something happens to your computer? Will insurance cover a damaged or stolen PC or a laptop? Here’s what you need to know about computers and insurance coverage.
Computers for personal use are covered
Take comfort knowing that if your personal-use computer is damaged in a covered peril or it is stolen, it’s covered under your homeowners insurance policy as personal property.
Of course, there are limits to your personal property coverage that you’ve previously chosen, and your PC or laptop’s value will go toward that claimed amount.
If your home has been badly damaged by a covered natural disaster, you can quickly reach and exceed the policy limit on personal property. And if thieves ransack your home, some of your high-value belongings can put you over the total in no time. Even if an isolated electrical surge blows your laptop’s circuitry, it can be covered as long as your policy covers such things.
Expect to pay your deductible
If you’re making a claim for a computer lost in a covered peril, your deductible will apply. After your deductible amount, you’ll be eligible to claim the computer’s value with your insurer, along with any other belongings affected by the same claim, up to your coverage limit. Once your claim reaches the coverage limit, you’re responsible for any additional costs.
How much your insurance pays for a stolen or damaged PC or laptop depends on the type of coverage you’ve chosen: actual cash value or replacement cost. With actual cash value, an aging device will be worth considerably less than new, leaving you holding the bag to pay the difference. But if you insure your personal property for replacement cost, you could receive the amount you paid for the computer prior to depreciation, letting you purchase a current model to replace it.
Take rising costs into consideration
If the only item you’re claiming is a PC or laptop, carefully consider the effect a claim will have in the future. While a claim for a $1,000 computer might seem worthwhile if you have a $500 deductible, you could lose your claims-free discount for three to five years, and your premiums could increase. In the end, you might end up paying more than if you just bought a new laptop outright. Of course, that depends on the value of your computer.
You may need additional coverage for business property
If you have a home-based business or you bring your work laptop home with you, your homeowners insurance may not cover you in the same way. There may be reduced coverage limits or no coverage at all for business property. If that’s your situation, you need to make yourself familiar with your policy’s coverage and limits.
One option is to purchase business insurance coverage that has its own set of limits for any business-related costs. Another consideration could be to see if your insurer has home-based business endorsements or riders available to cover any gaps you have in coverage.
Know the coverage you need
Whether it’s for your personal laptop or PC or work equipment, you should know how much coverage you need. It’s always a good idea to itemize your belongings with model numbers and serial numbers where applicable, along with purchase price and receipts, to make selecting coverage and filing claims smoother and hassle-free.