Barely a couple of days after buying a Samsung Galaxy S6 for Rs 50,000, Rishabh Gupta's heart skipped a beat when he happened to drop it accidentally in a crowded place only to see a cracked screen. The 35-year-old executive working with a multinational firm cursed himself but soon realised that he had chanced upon a lifeline. "The store I had bought it from had insisted that I take an insurance cover of Rs 2,499 on my purchase. I was reluctant at first, but then gave in," he says. On retrospection, Gupta was lucky. He saved the Rs 9,000 for getting the screen replaced only by paying a nominal fee of Rs 499. He is also eligible to make one more claim from the insurer.
Until recently, getting your gadget insured was a tough ask. However, with the high price tags, gadget insurance is almost becoming a norm. Today, you can either get your smartphone or tablet insured over the counter or buy a policy online. These policies cover the cost of things that are not covered under the one-year manufacturing warranty, including damage and theft.
Says Manish Khatri, Partner, Mahesh Telecom: "About 80 per cent of customers buying a smartphone under Rs 10,000 are willing to spend Rs 500 extra for the insurance. On the other hand, only 50 per cent of those who spend Rs 20,000 to Rs 40,000 on gadgets are willing to invest in insurance."
Anil Kaushik, Director, Services, Ingram Micro India, estimates that around two to three per cent of smartphone sales in the country is covered under insurance plans. "However, it is expected to grow exponentially," he adds. Khatri agrees: "More than theft, accidental damage and cost of repair are prompting people to opt for these insurance plans."
Any accidental damage, whether it be a broken screen, damaged touchscreen or a short circuit due to moisture, is covered under gadget insurance. If someone snatches your smartphone or you happen to drop it somewhere, the insurance cover will also reimburse you. You will, however, not get a compensation for the entire amount, but it will be based on the depreciation value of the gadget. For instance, most insurers offer 10 per cent depreciation on the invoice value for up to six-month-old devices and 25 per cent for an older device.
Get a cover
You can choose from a host of policies. For example, PickMe India offers a basic plan of Rs 599 for smartphones priced under Rs 10,000. The premium can go up to Rs 1,999 for smartphones worth Rs 55,000. These plans cover accidental damage, liquid spillage, burglary and fire, and even allow free pickup and drop facilities. PickMe offers services for all handheld gadgets such as mobiles, cameras, watches, laptops, MP3 players, tablets and even data cards.
Likewise, Protection 365 has tied up with public sector insurer The New India Assurance Company, while Ingram Micro has teamed up with another state insurer, Oriental Insurance Company. Apart from the regular features, Protection 365 offers data backup and bacterial removal services, and allows the customer to get their devices repaired twice a year. Ingram, on the other hand, offers plans in the Rs 499 to Rs 4,599 range for gadgets priced up to Rs 80,000. The company's Cover Plus provides an additional cover of Rs 1,000 for misuse of the device in case of a theft, and its Mobile Bill Protection plan pays bills of up to Rs 3,000 per month for three months in case of a job loss. It will soon launch policies for laptops, watches and cameras. Syska Gadget Secure is yet another company that offers complete insurance solutions for handheld devices. Just log on to any of the company websites and opt for the policy that best suits you to secure your devices.
While all this may sound like a smart solution to secure your smart devices against damage or theft, you need to know a few things. One, insurance is available for newly purchased gadgets. Two, you will get a four- to 15-day window from the date of purchase to buy a policy by providing a copy of the invoice. Some companies may also ask you to upload images of the device.
Three, the claims process isn't easy. For instance, if you happened to damage your phone because of carelessness, it will not be covered under insurance. But if someone bumped into you and the phone got damaged, it will be repaired without any questions. Similarly, if you forgot your device at a public place, it won't be covered. But if someone snatched your phone, it will be. You will need to fill in the form that came with the policy documents and submit it. Once you receive a go ahead from the insurer, you can take the phone to the service centre for repair. In most cases, you make the payment and the insurance company reimburses it to you once you submit the documents. The customer, however, has to bear 5-10 per cent of the repair cost.