Does home insurance cover mobile phones?

Mobile phones are an essential item for most of us, so it makes sense to protect them from loss, theft or damage.

Mobile phones are often covered by standard home contents insurance but there may be some exclusions. So, here’s how to make sure the loss or theft of your smartphone doesn’t leave you incommunicado. 

Do I need insurance for my mobile phone?

More of us than ever are reliant on our mobile phones. According to Deloitte, 85% of adults in the UK own a mobile phone. We use them to pay bills, work, run businesses, switch on the central heating and even open doors. 

This, along with the evolution of smartphone technology used in mobile phones, means they are often a high value item; some newer smartphones sell for over £1,000.

Why you may want to insure your mobile phone

  • Many of us use them for work – especially people who work from home

  • Downloaded music, films and data can often be worth hundreds of pounds

  • They are worth upwards of £500 so can be costly to replace

Is my mobile included on my home insurance?

Most standard home contents insurance will include cover for mobile phones, a good example is if your mobile phone is stolen during a house break-in or is damaged as a result of a house fire, flood, or burst water pipe.

Your mobile phone may also be covered outside the home as part of a home contents personal possession cover for belongings lost or stolen outside the home.

You would need to check your home contents insurance policy though, as these types of cover are not always included as standard.

Should I include my mobile phone on my home insurance?

Using your home contents policy can be a cost-effective way of making sure you can afford to replace your mobile phone if it’s lost or stolen. 

Standard contents policies will cover your mobile phone the same as any other item in your home. 

Home contents insurance and your mobile phone

If you want to include your mobile phone on your home insurance policy you may need to make sure your contents cover includes the following:

Accidental damage cover

This is included as standard on some contents insurance policies but some insurance companies may charge extra for this.

Having this cover means your phone is covered if it is damaged in the home, such as if you drop it or accidentally put it in the washing machine

Not having this cover means you’ll only be able to claim for damage caused as a result of damage in the home, such as a fire or flood.

Away from home/personal possessions cover

If you want mobile phone insurance to cover your phone outside the home you’ll need to add personal possessions cover to your home insurance policy.

Of course, the point of a mobile phone is that you take it everywhere but for insurance purposes you need to make sure your contents insurance includes away from home cover or ‘all risks’ insurance. 

This covers other items outside of the home, including mobile phones and gadgets, as well as other items that regularly leave the home such as, jewellery, wallets etc. 

  • Some insurers offer up to £5,000 for cover away from home

  • Having this cover means you’ll be covered if your phone is lost, stolen, or dropped while you are away from home

Separate mobile phone insurance versus home contents insurance

Having your mobile phone included on your home contents insurance can offer peace of mind but you may also want to consider what happens if you make a claim. 

Be prepared to pay an excess 

Your mobile phone will be one of many items covered by your contents insurance policy, so it doesn’t get special treatment. An excess is likely to be £200 which may be more than your phone is worth.

If your phone is worth more, consider choosing a low excess if your insurer offers this option, so you won’t end up paying more in excess than the phone is worth.

You may end up paying more for your home insurance

Your premiums may go up overall. Making a claiming for your mobile phone on your home contents insurance could mean you pay more when it comes to your annual renewal.

A single article limit applies

If you’re planning to insure an expensive smartphone on your home contents, you’ll need to check whether single article limits apply. 

Insurers will normally have a ceiling on the amount you can claim on a single item, this can be around £1,500, so if you have an expensive phone you may find you can’t afford to replace it.

Pros and cons of insuring your mobile phone on your home insurance

Pros

  • It’s relatively cheap and easy to do

  • You don’t have to take out a separate policy

Cons

  • Claiming for a mobile phone could increase your annual premium

  • The excess on a home insurance policy is likely to be high - around £200 

  • Home insurance claims can take a few weeks to be settled, during which time you may have no phone

Do I need separate mobile phone insurance?

Packaged bank accounts and mobile phone insurance

If you have a packaged bank account, an account which normally charges a fee, you may have mobile phone insurance included as one of the benefits.

  • This can be a relatively cheap way of insuring your mobile phone and you may be able to include a partner’s phone for the same bank account fee.

  • You will need to check what cover is being offered, for example whether you would be covered for unauthorised call charges

Gadget insurance and mobile phone insurance

If you don’t have a packaged bank account you may want to take out a specialist mobile phone insurance, often called gadget insurance. 

This might be a good idea as it will normally have a smaller excess than a home contents insurance policy and might be more suitable for you if you have a habit of losing or breaking your phone.  

What does mobile phone insurance cover me for?

Specialist mobile phone insurance will cover you if your phone is lost, stolen or broken.

Gadget insurance may also include:

  • Unauthorised calls

  • Phone accessories

  • Apps, games, music and other valuable content

What does mobile phone insurance not cover?

Regardless of what cover you take out, you may not be covered in the event of the following:

Carelessness

In some circumstances, for example driving off with your phone on your car roof, an insurance company would consider you did not take reasonable care of your phone and would not pay out.

Forgetting your phone

If you leave your phone on a table in a pub and it is then stolen you may not be covered either.

You don’t report it stolen

Some insurers will refuse to offer cover either for the phone or any calls or downloads made if you don’t report it lost or stolen to them or the police within 24 hours.

Water damage

Water damage is an exclusion on many mobile phone insurance policies. So if you do have a habit of getting your phone wet or dropping it down the loo then you may find you are not covered.

This exclusion, like carelessness, comes under the clause of ‘reasonable care’.

SIM card is swapped

If you change mobile providers, or use a different SIM card then this too may not be covered. The same may apply if you are using the SIM in a replacement handset.

Replacement phone

Some insurers will repair the phone or provide a refurbished one rather than giving you a new one. This may mean you are without a phone for several days while it’s being fixed. 

Young people

Some insurance policies will not cover a mobile phone used by someone under the age of 16. 

How much does mobile phone insurance cost?

Mobile phone insurance can be relatively expensive, with premiums up to £15 a month, which works out at £360 over an average 2-year contract.

However, you may be able to source cheaper deals, and some providers offer cover for as little as £5 a month.

Can I get cheap mobile phone insurance?

While value for money is important, any insurance you take out will need to be suitable for your needs.  

  • If you use your phone for work, being able to get a replacement as soon as possible may mean you need to get a more expensive policy

  • If you have a habit of losing or dropping your phone, standalone mobile phone insurance may be more suitable 

  • If you buy a lot of music and downloads, you will want to make sure that expense is covered if you lose your phone

Remember you can self-insure your phone by making sure you have money in an available savings account in case your phone is lost or stolen 

Quite often you will be offered mobile phone insurance when buying a new phone or contract so be sure to shop around.


27 October 2020