Are second-hand tech items covered by gadget insurance?

second-hand tech insurance
Image credit: Shutterstock (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you've bought any second-hand tech, like a smartphone or tablet, you may struggle to get gadget insurance cover as lots of companies don't cover anything but gadgets bought new.

But that doesn't mean you need to be put off from buying a second-hand bargain if insurance cover is a must, as there are still ways to keep you covered. With second-hand iPhones, for example, still costing hundreds of pounds, lots of sage people will want iPhone insurance.

Why insurance companies don't generally cover second-hand tech makes sense when you think about it – if the company doesn't know the history of the device it's tough to assess how long it will last. A payout might come shortly after, due to damage attained without the new owner's use, like water damage that could take effect in the longer term. But you could still get cover.

Check out our gadget insurance explainer here so you have a good knowledge of the general world of tech insurance. Then read on to find out about what you need to know when insuring second-hand tech. 

Does gadget insurance generally cover second-hand tech?

The short answer is no.

Lots of insurance companies only insure brand new devices. For big name retailers that insure like Carphone Warehouse or O2, you're limited to phones that are 30 or 28 days old respectively, but in both those cases it's for new handsets, not second-hand ones. But then retailers are a bit less flexible than specialist insurers...

Is it possible to get specific gadget insurance for second-hand items?

Now we're getting to it - some insurers do offer cover for second-hand devices up to a certain age. Some good examples are Cheaper Gadget Insurance, which insures on devices up to three years old; Endsleigh, which also operates the three year cutoff; Protect Your Bubble, which covers gadgets up to 18 months old; CUSC Phoneguard, covering up to six months old; and Insurance2Go which also has a six-month cutoff.

Expect to pay a premium for these specific policies but it may be worth it to know your gadget is covered. Also you can offset that cost against the saving you made by buying the gadget second-hand. 

 What kind of tech can be covered?

Companies that offer second-hand gadget cover specifically, like the ones mentioned above, are primarily for smartphones. You could also get cover for other gadgets that are on the go with you. So for tablets, expensive headphones, laptops and the like it could be worth looking for a policy to cover you.

One great option here is multi-gadget insurance which will allow you to cover lots of gadgets all in one policy and simple payment method. Just be sure to check with the provider about second-hand items and how that affects the premium. 

Can home insurance cover second-hand tech?

Yes, home insurance can indeed cover second-hand tech. For phones you may need to call your policy provider and make sure you're covered. There is sometimes a nominal fee to pay for this, around the £20-mark. 

But for other gadgets that you don't take out of the house, like consoles, TVs, appliances, speakers and so on, you can pop them on your house insurance as an easy way to cover them. Most home insurance will cover you up to a certain point, usually under £2,000, but you may need to specify the gadgets depending on the policy type.

Luke Edwards

Luke is a freelance writer and editor with over two decades of experience covering tech, science and health. Among many others he writes across Future titles covering health tech, software and apps, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and plenty more. He also likes to climb mountains, swim outside and contort his body into silly positions while breathing as calmly as possible.