One thing Australians can’t leave home without when going on a trip is their smartphone.
Smartphones serve a number of purposes for travellers – as a camera, language translator, currency converter, and a source of entertainment. This expensive gadget has become such an essential part of travelling, many Australians have no idea it’s not necessarily covered by travel insurance if lost or damaged. In fact, cracked screens and other damage to smartphones are becoming so common, insurers are increasingly restricting coverage for that damage altogether.
“All too often travellers damage or lose their gadgets only to later discover that they aren’t covered – or they can only claim back half of the phone’s original cost,” said comparetravelinsurance.com.au’s Natalie Ball in a news.com.au report. “What’s more, a standard travel-insurance policy may not necessarily cover the entire cost to replace your phone, due to single-item cover limits, particularly if it’s a pricey model.”
Ball said travellers who lose their phone in their hotel room or bus seat are usually left high and dry, as these wouldn’t be covered by insurance. Those whose smartphones are stolen, on the other hand, should report the theft to local police or a relevant authority and have proof of purchase ready to make their claim.
When taking out a policy for a smartphone that is worth more than $1,000, Ball said it’s best to find a policy with higher per-item limits, or one that allows owners to pay an extra premium to cover high-value gadgets. Ball also said that listing a smartphone as a specific high-value item will safeguard it against depreciation.
“Most travel insurance companies will apply depreciation unless you specify your phone as a high-value item,” Ball told news.com.au. “Just a few years can drop your phone’s value by as much as 50 per cent, so it may be worth spending a little extra to ensure the phone value remains.”
Kate Smith, marketing manager of Zoom Travel Insurance, said there’s a big increase in claims as a result of damaged and missing phones this year, with 10% of all paid travel-insurance claims related to mobile phones, news.com.au reported.