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Does your home insurance cover digital music, videos and photos?

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
As more and more of our precious assets are stored digitally, research has revealed huge differences in home insurance policies and what exactly is covered.

The policy wording of 26 home insurers was analysed and 20 of them (77%) stated they offered some protection for loss or damage to digital assets.

But the definition of ‘digital content’ is often vague and inconsistent between policies, according to Comparethemarket.

The comparison site said most policies refer only to ‘electronic data’ or ‘downloaded content’, while five specify digital assets include music or videos. Just two policies include specific wording to cover digital photos.

Of the policies which cover digital assets, many state they will pay to replace legally downloaded audio and visual files which have been lost or damaged, but they will not pay to rewrite or remake them.

Other insurers said digital content is covered as long as the data belongs to the policy holder or their family.

One policy said the policy holder must have a receipt in order to receive compensation.

As well as what’s covered, the level of cover varies significantly with pay-outs ranging from £500 to £10,000.

Most policies cover £1,000, but six insurers didn’t specify the level of cover, meaning customers need to check the details carefully.

But Comparethemarket said the insurers are clearer about exclusions to pay-outs for digital damage. The majority (17) noted that they don’t provide cover for damage or loss to computers or data caused by a virus or malicious software.

Only eight policies offer cover for damage or loss of contents stored on a mobile phone.

Chris King, head of home insurance at Comparethemarket, said: “Many people have no idea how much their digital assets are worth but would be devastated if they lost expensive games, files or precious photographs.

“If there is a fire in the house and your CD collection is destroyed, you are reimbursed for the cumulative loss of these items. Why should it not be the same with your digital music library?”

“Levels of cover vary wildly between different policies so, if you have a lot of digital assets, it’s worth checking your policy and shopping around if you don’t feel your current one meets your needs.”

King added that to protect digital assets, consumers should use different passwords, install high quality antivirus software and back-up important data in the cloud.

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