What is office portable equipment cover?
In the early 1990’s, mobile phone ownership started to increase. Shortly after mobile phones, P.D.A.’s, or portable digital assistants, hit the market. These were handheld devices, that replaced manual, paper, diaries. After the P.D.A.’s, we gradually moved to portable computers and tablets.
P.D.A.’s are a thing of the past, as most of their functionality is now standard within a smart phone. However, all of these items are portable. Nearly all office workers, from the late 1990’s to today, have at least one of these, provided by their business.
Are these not automatically covered within an office insurance policy?
Most office insurance policies only include the option of insuring portable equipment. Very few of them include this cover as standard. If you do not request this cover, you’re simply not covered.
How do I get this cover included?
Before you look to take out insurance cover for your office, you’ll go through the quote process. Obtaining an office insurance quote is a relatively simple, quick and free process. An independent business insurance broker should always be the first, and only place, you’ll look. They’ll go through a process to assess your insurance demands and needs. Once they have these, they’ll seek and provide you with a suitable quote.
You need to let them know if you need cover for items that are taken out of the business premises. This should be a standard question that they’ll ask you.
What different types of cover are available?
As with most types of business insurance, you do not get levels, or ranges, of cover. For example, you do not get computers up £5,000, or £5,000-£10,000. You have to specify the amount of cover you need. For portable equipment, this includes the value of the equipment and the territorial limits.
How do I decide on the value of my equipment?
A business insurer will want to know the replacement cost for your physical assets. This is not always the same as the purchase price.
As a general rule, computer processing ability and memory capacity doubles every 18 months. This means that a laptop purchased 18 months ago, will cost less to replace today.
Other items may cost more to replace, than when purchased, but these are a minority.
Do insurers want an exact valuation?
Business insurers do not expect you to undertake a detailed valuation of every item belonging to the company. What they do need, is an accurate assessment of the replacement cost, in the current market. A word of warning though, do not underestimate, as this could affect (ie reduce) any claim settlement.
You also need to include the cost of any single licence software on a laptop. If the software cannot be used on another machine the amount insured should include this.
What about territorial limits?
Where you need to insure a laptop, insurers will want to know where this item is used. Travelling around the world means your laptop is more likely to get damaged and/or stolen. If the laptop is just used in the UK, the likelihood of damage reduces. There is not a vast difference in rating, but you do need to let your broker or insurer know.
There are usually three territorial limits. Anywhere in the U.K., Europe or Worldwide.
Most portable equipment cover is subject to an excess. This is the amount that you, the insured, contribute towards any loss. This excess is usually less than the standard office insurance policy excess. You should expect to pay around £100 excess.
Getting a quote and cover
As we’ve mentioned above, you’ll need to speak to an independent business insurance broker. They will get you quotes from a number of insurers. Once they have these, you’ll get their recommendation of the most competitive premium, for the widest cover. You can search on-line for sites that compare office insurance for you. These sites tend to concentrate on cost only. Please remember, that cheapest is not always the best. You do not want to find this out six months after you start your policy, when your claim is turned down.