Is your mobile phone insured overseas?

Take care when taking your phone abroad, as your insurance could leave you in the lurch!

With a rainy Easter firmly behind us, thoughts now turn towards the next big break: our annual summer holidays. As usual, I'm off to Cornwall for a fortnight, but millions of British holidaymakers can look forward to jetting or sailing off to sunnier climes this summer season.

When going abroad, you need to take extra special care of your prized belongings, especially your mobile phone. That's because damaging or losing your phone abroad -- either by accident or through theft -- can be an extremely costly mistake.

Protect your phone

According to a new survey from independent financial researchers Defaqto, even claiming on your home insurance or travel insurance for a lost, damaged or stolen handset could still leave you considerably out of pocket.

Defaqto warns that while travel insurance and home contents insurance policies may cover your mobile phone, this cover is likely to be extremely limited. As well as restrictions on the amount you can claim, there may be limits on what you can claim for.

For instance, your policy could include a single-item limit (restricting the maximum payout per article) and a policy excess upwards of, say, £50. What's more, your policy may not cover unauthorised calls and loss of credit. Added together, these restrictions and loopholes could leave you hundreds of pounds worse off.

Smart cover for smartphones

Therefore, it's a good idea to look into specialist mobile-phone cover that includes protection when travelling abroad. Defaqto compared this market, checking the details of all 95 mobile-phone insurance policies that provide overseas cover as standard, and found some pretty wide differences in the level of cover on offer.

Maximum length

of overseas cover

per year 

Percentage

of policies 

30 days

14%

60 days

17%

90 days

15%

One year

54%

As you can see, one in seven specialist policies (14%) includes only 30 days of overseas cover in one year. Another sixth (17%) offers only 60 days' cover, while a further 15% extend this to 90 days.

On the other hand, more than half (54%) of policies provide all-year-round cover for your mobile overseas, which is good news. So if you're planning a long spell abroad, or intend to make multiple trips in one year, then make sure you have cover for the complete year.

Don't delay; claim right away

Defaqto also found firm restrictions on the amount of time you have to report a claim after your mobile is lost or stolen. In many cases, insurers insist you inform them within a couple of days, as this table shows:

Time limit for

reporting loss

to insurer

Percentage

of policies

As soon as possible

13%

24 hours

6%

Within 48 hours of discovery

11%

48 hours of return

31%

Within 7 days of discovery

4%

48 hours of return and within 30 days of discovery

29%

7 days of return and within 30 days of discovery

4%

Within 60 days of discovery

2%

Around 13% of policies require you to notify any loss to the insurer 'as soon as possible'. A further 6% insist this is done within one day, while 11% give you two days from discovery and 31% require claims to be filed within two days of returning home. A mere 2% of policies give you a generous 60 days to make a claim after discovering your loss.

In short, if you're unlucky enough to have your mobile stolen or lost, then remember this rule: don't delay, claim today. Otherwise, if you fail to claim in time, then your insurer has the right to reject your claim in its entirety -- leaving you with a big bill for a new handset.

In order to help you to choose the best-value insurance for your mobile or smartphone, Defaqto has ranked all 95 specialist policies based on their features and benefits. It has rated them from one star (Don't Buy) to five stars (Best Buys) and you can view these ratings here.

Finally, before rushing off to buy new beachwear, suntan lotion and sunglasses, please take some time to shop around for the best travel insurance. To help you choose the right policy at the right price, read Top travel insurance for your holidays.

More on mobile phones:

Compare phones and tariffs at Recombu

Barclaycard PayTag: new way to pay with your mobile phone, no matter how old!

Sim-only tariffs: how I saved £234 on my mobile bill

Landline vs. mobile: time to ditch the home phone?


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