Accidental damages are mostly covered; however, damages caused by gross negligence or deliberate damage are a personal risk which is not covered by most appliance insurance. So, if you spill the coffee cup over the keyboard of your laptop, you have to reckon with the fact that the device insurance may consider this as gross negligence if it was not accidental.
The same applies if the mobile phone is stolen. Here, too, the equipment insurance company will regularly want to ascertain the circumstances before paying compensation, with the exception of rare cases. The customer is also obliged to reliably prove the fact of theft. At the very least, in this case, it is advisable to report the complaint to the police.
An appliance breakdown cover provides comprehensive protection. Typically mechanical, electrical, accidental, liquid, and fracture damage are insured, but it is advisable to study the insurance conditions in detail for these instances. Only explicitly listed causes of damage are covered by the insured risk. Insurance companies always interpret these conditions in a petty way.
Liability in case of liquid damage
For mobile insurance, the situation may be different with liquid damage. What plays a crucial role is how the moisture got into the device. Whether you poured a coffee on to your new smartphone, condensation formed during the transition from the cold to the heat, the device was left lying on the garden table during a thunderstorm, it fell into the toilet or it got wet during floods or a pipe break, is a crucial difference for some insurers.
Damage caused by weather and condensing water is often expressly excluded. Moisture damage is often only covered in special cases, for example as a result of building damage or pipe leak. From the customer’s point of view, the spilt coffee can be subsumed under “awkwardness” or “accident”, but could be countered by the insurance company with the counter-arguments on “liquid damage”.
No insurance cover in case of gross negligence or deliberate damage
Sometimes the exclusions seem very arbitrary. For example, some insurance companies do not insure theft from vehicles between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Other insurers replace theft damage with no time limits but require the customer not to store devices prone to theft in the passenger section of your car. If a smartphone or sat nav is stolen from the trunk or glove compartment of a locked car, most insurers pay if you have taken out theft insurance.
Small scrapes and other cosmetic flaws are always excluded from liability. Only when the device is impaired in its function, for example with a jumped display, does it become an insurance event. Insurance is only liable in full if the policyholder has not acted through gross negligence or intentional action. Anyone who ignores all caution when handling the device can only expect a partial compensation of the damage at best.
The damage reduction obligation also applies in other respects. If the device falls into the water, you should at least try to save it by removing the battery and thoroughly drying the device before using it again. However, there is no need to put yourself in danger. You don’t have to jump behind a device that falls into a lake or river. If the device is stolen, a notification to the police is mandatory.