"Things you own end up owning you." Aren’t you reminded of this popular quote by Chuck Palahniuk every time you buy an electronic gadget? If you are smart though, you wouldn’t be worrying about someone nicking your pricey gadgets. You would have insured them.
Section 6 of the Constitution covers televisions, cellular phones and laptops against risks like fire, theft and accidental breakdown. This implies that if you’re covered, you are eligible for an insurance claim if you accidentally lose or damage your laptop or television set. Some insurance companies, which provide you cover for your motor vehicle, health and home among other things, also provide cover for mobile and stationary electronic items.
Equipment can be insured either at the replacement value or current market value. Replacement value is the amount at which your gadget can be replaced for a brand new one. For instance if your iPod needs repairs that will cost Rs 2,000, and you have insured it at a replacement value of Rs 5,000, the claim will cover the entire repair cost. However if your equipment is insured at market value, only half the repair cost will be refunded.
When you take cover, compare the sum insured to the gadget’s replacement value. It is always wise to insure at the replacement value, as the cost for replacement could sometimes be more than its market value.
For instance, if the current cost of a laptop (at market value) is Rs 20,000, and the cost of replacing it with a new one (replacement value) is Rs 40,000. Let’s suppose the cost of repairing the laptop is Rs 10,000. Then, the amount refunded, if insured at replacement value, will be Rs 10,000 and if insured at market value will be Rs 5,000.
Companies that provide insurance include New India Assurance, Bajaj Allianz, Iffco-Tokio, Reliance and ICICI Lombard.
New India Assurance
Has had an electronic equipment policy exclusively for stationary computers for the past 10-15 years. An administration officer from the company said that laptops are covered in the portable equipment policy that caters mainly to corporate clients.
Has a policy exclusively for mobile phones under which cover is provided against fire, theft, riot and accident.
Individual clients are not given insurance, as there is a thin line between negligence and theft; clients could simply forget their laptops in taxis and claim that it was stolen.
The company will provide compensation equal to the cost of replacement of the phone with a new phone of the same specification including taxes.
The company will not accept the claim in case of mysterious disappearance, theft from unattended vehicles, mechanical breakdown and damage by wear and tear and due to war or nuclear perils.
Bajaj Allianz Insurance
Has two policies that cover electronic gadgets: the householder’s (individual) policy and the office policy.
Under the householder’s policy, the company provides any individual with insurance: You don’t have to be affiliated to an organisation to avail of it.
Under the office policy, employees belonging to organisations are provided cover for their gadgets.
An estimate of the loss is to be sent to the insurer.
The insurer will deploy a specialist-licensed surveyor to probe into the matter.
All documents pertaining to the lost gadget have to be produced.
The claim amount is decided upon an agreement between the insurer and the insured.
For individuals, the company has a policy called Home and Family Protector insurance policy.
The insurer has to choose at least five from the 12 sections they offer. These include Fire and Allied Perils, Burglary and other Perils, All Risk, Home Entertainment Equipment, Portable Computer/ Mobile Phones and Pedal Cycle, Breakdown of Electrical/ Mechanical Appliances, Personal Accident, Loan Payment Protection, Baggage, Liability and Increased Living Expenses.
Also provides cover under the Office Holder’s Policy, which is exclusively for organisations.
If someone from an organisation is accused of theft, the insurance company covers the damage incurred.
In case the cost of the equipment at that point exceeds Rs 1 lakh, a report from an engineer of the company will be required.
The policies otherwise only cover manufacturing defects.
Reliance General Insurance ADAG
Has separate insurance schemes for organisations and individuals.
For individuals, under the Home Protect Policy, you can insure gadgets like laptops, mp3 players, iPods and stationary computers.
There have four plans — standard, silver, gold and platinum — that provide cover for gadgets starting from a value of up to Rs 50,000 and going up to Rs 5 lakh.
Electronic gadgets depreciate over time. They also soon become obsolete and spare parts are difficult to obtain. In order to claim insurance, you need to provide the insurance company with the manufacturer’s name, model number and the year of manufacturing, including any other specifications the gadget might have. Although this process is lengthy, it ensures proper settlement of claim.