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Insuring Your Personal Computer or Laptop

Buying a computer is a major investment. And like your other valuables, you're going to want to take steps to insure it properly. Here is some basic information on how to insure your personal computer or laptop.

Is your computer covered by your homeowners insurance?

If your computer is for personal use only, it most likely will be covered by your homeowners insurance. But keep in mind that many homeowners insurance policies have coverage limits for certain property--in this case, your computer. If you use your computer for business, your homeowners insurance may provide only a limited amount of coverage or none at all. In addition, if you have a laptop and plan to travel with it, your homeowners insurance may provide only partial coverage for losses that occur away from your home.

Other coverage options for your computer

If you find that your homeowners insurance does not adequately cover your computer, you may want to consider purchasing a rider or endorsement that will provide a broader scope of coverage. If that's still not enough, you may want to look into purchasing a stand-alone policy that is designed specifically for your computer. Although this type of coverage is more expensive than a rider or endorsement, it may be the only way to obtain complete coverage for your computer.

Exclusions and limitations

When insuring your computer, it's important to know exactly what your policy covers. Typical exclusions and limitations for computers include wear and tear, mechanical breakdown, faulty construction, intentional damage of the equipment, dishonest acts committed by you or anyone taking care of the computer, and water damage.

Computer safety tips

Here are some tips for keeping your computer safe:

  • If you travel with a laptop, keep it with you at all times
  • Use a surge suppressor to prevent damage to your computer from abrupt changes in electrical flow
  • Keep your computer free from dust by keeping it covered when it's not in use
  • Make backup copies of computer software and other important files
  • To prevent someone from accessing your computer, consider a lock-and-key system or password protection
  • Make sure that you install software that is designed to detect computer viruses
  • When you buy a computer, remember to keep all receipts and record all serial and model numbers