Many people assume their homeowners insurance protects their desktop or laptop computers. However, whether your standard homeowners policy actually does so dependent on a number of factors.
It's important that you understand the various factors that affect coverage. Then, you can adjust your policy, if necessary.
Question 1: Do You Use the Computer for Business?
A typical homeowners policy limits coverage to $2,500 for items used primarily for business purposes. The first keyword is “primarily.” The other keyword is "typical," because yours might be different.
Doing your taxes or bringing home some work is not enough to make your computer business property. If you have a home-based office, either for regular telecommuting or for an in-home business, the $2,500 limit will kick in.
This coverage isn't limited to your computer, either. It includes your:
- Filing cabinets
- Office furniture
- Fax machine
- Whatever other property you have in your home
However, $2,500 isn't much. If there's a fire or theft and you lose everything, $2,500 may barely cover the cost of the computer itself. This is something to keep in mind when you're considering additional coverage.
Question 2: Do You Take the Computer Out of Your Home?
If you own a laptop that you use for business in your home, but also use it while away from your home, the coverage limit might drop. That limit also includes any accessories you use with the computer, such as:
- Portable printers
- External drives
- Zip drives
Question 3: What Caused the Damage?
Not all damage is created equal for homeowners insurance protection.
If you drop the equipment, insurance won't cover the damage. Power surges or spikes are other areas where insurance typically won't cover the damage.
Your policy will list what is and isn't covered. To get a better idea of what you're dealing with, it's best to read the fine print!
Prevent Loss Altogether, No Insurance Considerations Necessary
Lots of computer owners are concerned about insurance limits. However, these same individuals don't consider how to avoid the need for insurance coverage altogether. Although insurance agents are expert insurers, they know a thing or two about preventing loss.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Find a decent backup program, use and abuse it. Keep the backup disks somewhere outside of your home.
- Purchase a surge protector. Consider getting one that also has a place to plug in the phone line coming from your wall jack.
- Be smart when you travel. Theft and damage are most common on the road. Plan accordingly.
Don't forget to ask your Trusted Choice® insurance professional about other ideas. Preventing harm is kind of what they do best.
Additional Coverage for Your Home Computer Is Key
Talk to your local Trusted Choice® insurance professional about what options are available under your current coverage for the equipment and business property you own. The answers are different depending upon whether business is involved or if all of your computing power is for personal use and entertainment.
Standard endorsements to your policy are available to raise coverage limits and expand what damages are covered by the policy (either for all your property or just the computer and accessories).
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