Nila Sweeney

If you’ve purchased a top-notch smart phone or tablet it’s sensible to think about insurance … but don’t expect full cover, no matter who you insure with.


You have three main options for insuring your smart phone or tablet: you can be content with the limited cover provided by your home contents insurance, you can insure through your telco or internet provider, or you can buy a tailored policy.


Each option has its pros and cons. Here’s the YMM guide.


Check your home contents policy first


You can choose to rely on your home contents insurance policy but it’s likely to have some serious limitations.

Sub-limits apply to individual items under most contents policies, and for smart phones $1,500 is typical. If you want higher cover, you can pay an additional premium and insure your gadgets for their full replacement value.


You need to check how much your general excess is: if it’s high, $500 for instance, it might mean it’s not worth your while claiming for smartphone loss or repair.


The main limitation is that you won’t be covered for theft that occurs away from your home: if your phone is stolen from your work bag on the train, you won’t be covered. The same applies if you’re using your phone for business, trade or professional purposes. Exclusions and limitations are good reason for seeking out specific cover.


Some insurers – AAMI for example – offer ‘portable valuables’ cover for a small additional premium: under an AAMI Home Contents policy this will cost you around $45 per year to cover both an iPhone and and iPad, cheaper than most policies offered by telcos.


Do you need special cover?


The telcos all sell special cover for smart phones and tablets, prices and coverage vary. Optus, for instance, reserves the right to repair or replace your phone.


According to posts on, sometimes the replacement phone is a refurb rather than a brand new handset. However, according to the Whirlpool nerds refurbished phones are reliable and as the outer casing is brand new it is difficult to tell the difference between a brand new and a refurbished handset.


Telstra offers a Premium Care mobile insurance, underwritten by CGU. You have to own an approved post-paid handset that you purchased from a Telstra store or dealer within the last six months that you’re still using on the Telstra network. And you’ll need proof of purchase if you want to insure the phone after you buy it.The cost will be $9.95 per month or $119.40 per year for basic cover. This gets you up to $1,000 for repair or replacement due to accidental loss or theft in Australia or $400 if you’re overseas.


Excesses are lower when you purchase specific insurance from a telco but they can still be as high as $250 and again, don’t expect to be covered for open-air theft. You’ll still only be covered for theft if it is the result of a break-and-enter from your home.


A new provider, Covertec, has been offering smart phone and tablet coverage to “mums and dads” for the past four months. Managing director Julian Day says the Covertec excess is lower than most others in the market at $100 and premiums are competitive. “We have positioned ourselves as a coverage leader. We provide full accidental damage cover Australia-wide but there is some contingency on the theft side,” says Day.


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