Your Questions Answered: ‘Should I take out gadget insurance on the expensive phone I bought?’

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Gráinne Griffin, Director of Communications at the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

Q I smashed my smartphone and had to buy a new one. For the first time, I spent a lot of money on a state-of-the-art phone. Given how much money I spent on this new phone, it is worth taking out gadget insurance in case I break it or it gets stolen?

Jim, Co Cavan

A Typically, gadget insurance covers you for issues such as loss, theft, or damage of devices. The amount of cover given will depend on the terms and conditions of any policy you take out. But before you take out gadget insurance, there are some things to consider:

Could it already be covered?

You may already have insurance in place that will cover your new phone i.e. you may be able to add the phone to your existing home or contents insurance policy. If there is cover under your home insurance policy, remember to check the excess as it may be higher than the cost of a new device. A phonecall to your home insurer will confirm these details. Remember, though, that if you make a claim on your home insurance, your premium is likely to increase.

How long should you insure it for?

Gadgets typically depreciate in value the longer you have them, so your phone will likely not be worth the same amount you paid for it in a few years’ time. You could consider insuring your phone for a year or two while it’s at its most valuable and then either reduce the level of cover or cancel the policy if the cost of the insurance exceeds the value of the phone.

Don’t forget your consumer rights.

If the phone you bought becomes faulty, you are entitled to return it and get redress. You do not need insurance to get redress for a faulty product.

Will you have to pay an excess?

The excess is the amount you will have to pay towards any claim before your insurer pays the balance and your insurer will reduce any claim settlement by the amount of the excess. You cannot claim for an amount less than the excess, so check it and make sure your device is worth insuring as the excess could be more than the cost of replacing the phone.

Check exclusions and specifications

It’s vital to read all the terms and conditions of any policy before you take it out as this is the only way to know if the policy is worth it for you. The terms and conditions will list any exclusions and specifications a policy has. Generally, the gadget must be under 12 months old and it must have been purchased new by you in Ireland, the UK or the US. You must also be able to provide evidence of ownership.

In terms of exclusions, you may not be covered if you lose your device, or you may need to specifically request this cover and pay a higher premium. You may also not be covered for theft if your device was left in an unlocked car. If you travel abroad regularly, it may also be worth checking if the cover is worldwide.

Do you have other gadgets?

If you also have a laptop, camera or tablet, for example, it may be cheaper to get a policy with multi-cover rather than buying separate policies for each device.

Will you be given a new device?

It will depend on the terms of your policy, but generally speaking the intention of the insurance is to put you in the same position you were in immediately prior to the incident. Therefore, your replacement device will most likely be the same or similar age and specification as your original device immediately prior to the incident.

How do you make a claim?

Contact your insurance company as soon as possible, explain what happened, and ask what your next steps are. You may be asked to complete a claim form and submit supporting documentation, such as proof of purchase or a Garda report.

‘I paid in advance for a cake from a local business and it was never delivered. The business has stopped relying to my Instagram messages. How do I get my money back?’

​Q I ordered a cake from a local business for my dad’s birthday and paid by credit card online in advance. The cake was never delivered, the birthday has come and gone, and the business has stopped replying to my messages on Instagram. What can I do to get my money back?

Lee, Kildare

A Since you have already requested a refund from the supplier you could talk to your card provider about the possibility of a chargeback. A chargeback is a reversal of a disputed transaction on a debit or credit card. Chargebacks can apply if goods are damaged, not as described, or haven’t been delivered.

I’d recommend contacting your card provider as soon as possible, giving them details of the transaction, and requesting that they follow it up. It’s important to act fast here because card providers generally place time limits on chargebacks, such as up to 120 days after payment for a product or after an agreed delivery date.

Your card provider may look for proof that you have already requested a refund from the business, so take screenshots of your conversation history on Instagram and save any other proof you may have, such as texts or emails with the business.