It’s best to insure your gadgets

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Sending a child back to school this fall? You might think their phone and gadgets are covered  against damage, through programs like Apple Care. But that's not necessarily the case. And it's important information whether or not you have kids in school.

Move-in day at college means carloads of suitcases, boxes, TVs, and laptops. Many students have a lot of electronic gadgets to keep safe and told us they have laptop locks and various extended warranties like Apple Care.

But while both are good to have, they may still not be enough. A basic repair for a dropped device can run $250 or more.

Almost all extended warranties will cover against breakdown, but they may not cover against breakage. And they almost always won't cover if your gadget is lost or stolen.

Erin Pace learned that the hard way, when her new iPhone 6 was recently stolen.

"It would cost me $650 for a new iPhone 6, because I am not eligible for an upgrade, and I don't have a protection plan," she lamented.

The tech site ZD Net recently compared warranties. They suggest third party companies are best, such as Square Trade or ProtectYourBubble.com.

I did a check of my devices, and Square Trade offered me 2 years of damage protection for a $700 laptop, for a one-time payment of $99. Or you can insure your smartphone for $4 to $8 a month, depending on the brand.

As for loss or theft, the best solution is to add your device to a homeowner's or renters policy, which is what college Junior Kendall Wright has done. "I have renters insurance through Sallie Mae for about $200 a year," she said, "which guarantees if anything happens to my laptop (or other possessions), it's taken care of."

Several other breakage plans are worth considering, such as those offered by Verizon, AT&T, or even Amazon, which sells a plan called Canopy.

So, the bottom line?  Make sure you have one of these protection plans for any device you carry:

  • A third party protection plan from a site like SquareTrade, ProtectYourBubble, or Canopy
  • Damage coverage from your carrier
  • Renter's or homeowner's insurance that will cover loss or damage

With smartphones and laptops now averaging $600, insuring them is smart advice in this dangerous world.

That way you don't waste your money.

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