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I dropped my iPad at home and broke it. Will home insurance cover it?

No, standard home insurance would cover theft of the iPad or loss due to a peril named in the policy, such as lightning or fire. But it would not cover loss from accidentally breaking it, unless you purchased a personal articles endorsement that covers accidental breakage.

Unfortunately, a manufacturer's warranty would not cover the loss either. A warranty covers a product for a certain amount of time in case it malfunctions. However, it doesn't cover losses from mistakes you make--like dropping an iPad or spilling coffee on a laptop keyboard.

You might be in luck, though, if you purchased an extended warranty. This type of warranty typically protects against malfunctions as well as accidents, such as drops and spills. An extended warranty, however, usually doesn't cover loss or theft.

It's a good idea to consider insurance whenever purchasing an expensive electronic item. Home insurance typically includes a coverage limit per electronic product that's stolen or damaged by a named peril. You pay a higher premium to increase the limit. Learn how long the manufacturer's warranty provides protection and what it covers. Inquire about an extended warranty, and weigh the cost of protection against the likelihood that you would ever make a claim.

Although some extra protection might be worthwhile, it's a waste of money to buy coverage that will last longer than the device's expected life span, or that will end up costing you more than it would cost to replace the gadget.

For more, see Getting gadgets for the holidays? A guide to insurance and warranties.

Last updated: Dec. 12, 2011