Digital download insurance

If you download music, games, films, books and more, do you know whether your digital belongings are covered by your home insurance policy?

Because they don't have a physical presence in the same way as a wall of DVDs, CDs, vinyl records or books, people may not have given any consideration to the value of their digital downloads
Ben Wilson, Gocompare.com

Owning things digitally rather than physically is an increasingly common feature of modern life as things like books, CDs, DVDs and the devices that play and store them fall to the mobile, on-demand onslaught.

While something like a downloaded film may not seem as real as a DVD it's still a possession, and as your digital hoard grows you should consider whether you need to protect it with some sort of insurance.

The device you store this information on - perhaps a PC, laptop, smartphone or e-reader - may be covered against theft, loss or damage, but what about the data on it?

In many ways it seems like sections of the insurance industry haven't kept pace with 21st-century developments.

How much digital download cover is available?

In January 2014, Gocompare.com conducted a study of 313 home insurance policies using data from independent financial researcher Defaqto and found that 41% of them did not provide any cover for lost digital downloads.

Of those policies that did offer cover and that stated a specific limit, there was a wide variation in the level of cover available, ranging from £150 to £10,000. Typically most had a policy limit of between £500 and £1,000.Student contents

"Because they don't have a physical presence in the same way as a wall of DVDs, CDs, vinyl records or books, people may not have given any consideration to the value of their digital downloads," said Gocompare.com's Ben Wilson.

"But if you buy a lot of digital data it may be worth checking your home insurance to see if your downloads are covered because the data you purchased may no longer be available, and not all providers allow you to replace lost tracks for free.

"Remember that, regardless of whether you're insured or not, it's sensible to make regular back-up copies of your digital assets."

See also:

By Sean Davies