Sunday 21 April 2019

Warning on taking insurance for gadgets

Stock image
Stock image
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

Be on your guard before buying gadget insurance for new devices acquired over Christmas.

Both the Central Bank and the Consumers' Association have told consumers to check whether they need expensive cover at all.

The warning comes as the Central Bank is to carry out a probe into the sale of gadget insurance over fears it is being mis-sold to consumers.

Consumers' Association policy adviser Dermott Jewell said people need to make sure gadget insurance meets their needs before shelling out for what is often poor-value cover.

Research found most people buying insurance for their mobile phones and tablets do not know what they are signing up for.

This means many people are paying for cover they may not need, with regulators suggesting that consumers are not being treated fairly.

The findings of the report have prompted the Central Bank to carry out a probe of companies offering device insurance to ensure they are observing regulatory rules.

Thousands are expected to take out cover for their devices that were given as gifts over Christmas.

But when many people make a claim, they are surprised to find out that the insurance excess - or the amount of a claim they have to cover themselves before the insurer will pay out - can be more than the cost of a repair. Many gadget owners with insurance were shocked to find that the repair of cracked screens is generally not covered.

Many consumers with insurance were also unaware that they have to report the theft of a phone to gardaí before they can get a payout.

Almost half of consumers mistakenly believe wear and tear is covered by the policy they pay for, a survey commissioned by the Central Bank found.

Most people expect to be offered a new device when their old one needs to be replaced.

Some 440,000 consumers have gadget insurance, but double this number held the insurance in the last two years. A premium of €13 a month is not uncommon.

Mobile phone operators and retail outlets are among those selling the cover.

Research found 62pc of those with cover did not shop around to see if they could get better cover somewhere else. One in five failed to cancel a previous policy.

Irish Independent

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