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Gadget Insurance Complaints Reach New Highs

gadget insuranceThe Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has reported that they have received a record number of complaints from consumers in relation to their gadget insurance policies last year. The figures are up to a record-breaking 2,200 complaints which is double that of the previous year.

A huge number of people are actively undervaluing the cost of their technological assets and they are unaware that most general insurance policies do not offer cover for any items outside of the home according to the FOS. However, some customers are recognising this and are taking out specialist gadget insurance policies as a result. Unfortunately, around 50% of these new insurance policies are incorrectly failing to pay out on completely valid claims. The FOS has dabbled in 800 claims which were rejected and 43% of these were found to be in favour of the claimant.

Almost everybody carries around an expensive piece of technology these days, ranging from mobile phones to MP3 players and portable games consoles. The FOS did an in-house ‘survey’ recently where their own staff emptied out their bags to get an estimate of how much it would cost to replace their items if they were lost, broken or stolen. Some bags would cost up to £3,000 to replace!

The FOS have pointed out that these gadget insurance policies should cover certain devices against theft, different types of damage and their loss when you are out of the home. They commented saying: “We see an array of complaints about gadget insurance – the two most common resulting from a claim after the device was stolen or accidentally damaged. If an insurer turns down a claim on the basis that it was left unattended, or, in the case of damage, that it was caused deliberately, some insurers will reject the complaint.”

A number of insurers have been applying their contract terms unfairly (or they’re so ridiculous that it seems impossible for anyone to make a successful claim). In one incident the victim had his laptop stolen from his locked suitcase which was left inside a locked room while on holiday. The insurer denied the claim, citing that there was no evidence of violent entry which is required by the policy. The FOS doesn’t find this fair and has had to intervene with the case.

James Savery, 22 December 2014

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