The required response to this question in order to obtain a license to sell insurance in most US states is, “Maybe.” The second required insurance agent phrase now follows. “It depends…”
I can, however, give you one absolute answer hardly tarnished by any hint of equivocation. And that is “No! Your computer will not be covered by your homeowners’ insurance when you find those pictures of your husband’s ex-girlfriend in that unmarked folder and opt to toss the entire system through the second-story window of your shared study. (The window probably won’t be covered either). Your computer also won’t be covered if it floats in a flood or if an errant piece of Sputnik targets it as it sits on your desk, either.
You might have a claim, though; had you reported that your neighbor’s dog attacked the system.
Here’s when the “insurance speak” begins. It depends. It depends on your coverage, how your computer is damaged or missing, how old the computer is, how much it cost, maybe how much it would cost to replace, whether your policy contains a replacement cost endorsement, who wrote your policy and how much of a deductible you chose when you purchased your policy.
But you aren’t the first person to ask this question. Indeed, according to a May 22nd report 2012 for 2011 claims, Enservio, reported that electronics comprised the second most expensive contents-loss category with a 13 percent Replacement Cost Value (RCV) as determined by the dollar value percent of total claims. Approximately 65 percent of the electronic claims were for loss by theft and claims including this category rose by 15 percent last year. Way back in 2002, when personal computers weighed as much as Vintage VW Bugs, thieves stole over half-a-million computers. The main concern with desktop computers now is identity theft, not theft of the plastic housing. With the advent of portable laptops, the number lost or stolen is so huge isn’t even estimated.
Here are the nuts and bolts: if your computer is covered, it is probably only covered to a limit of perhaps $1,500. This is adequate for most of us. If it requires more than this, you should probably speak to your agent to determine if additional coverage is necessary. Also, unless you purchased a replacement cost endorsement, your claims adjustor will deduct the use and wear of however many years ago you purchased the laptop or desktop. Assuming you bought a scaled down MacBook Pro laptop three years ago, your computer might be currently valued at $500 — not even counting the software updates. But there’s one more thing: you chose that $500 deductible way back when you first purchased your policy. You know, so you could save money. So, your insurance company owes you $0.
Before you throw your arms up and say, “See? Nothing is ever covered!” consider an alternative. For less than a cup of coffee a day, you might have purchased a replacement cost endorsement back when you bought the policy. Depending upon the company and your claims history, you might have purchased a smaller deductible too. If the lowest model MacBook Pro is now $2000 and you purchased a replacement cost endorsement with a $250 deductible, you now get a replacement laptop valued at two grand for the cost of your deductible.
Finally, consider this alternative: call you agent now to find out these details. Don’t wait until a thief makes the call necessary.