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Homeowners insurance does cover damage to a computer or laptop if it’s caused by a covered peril. However, if it’s the only item that was damaged, it may not be worth paying the deductible or the potential rate increase to file a claim.

While the personal property portion of your home insurance covers computers and laptops, most policies have special limits on computer equipment, which may not cover the replacement cost in full.

Keep reading to learn how a homeowners policy covers computers and laptops as well as factors to consider when making a claim.

How much laptop or computer damage coverage does homeowners insurance provide?

Computer, laptops, tablets and other electronics are considered personal property by a homeowners insurance policy, which means they are protected against damage done by a covered peril such as fire, lightning or theft.

Standard homeowners insurance policies have a coverage cap on expensive electronics, including laptops. The special limit ranges from $1,500 to $2,500.

How much you receive depends on if your homeowners insurance policy has replacement cost or actual cash value cost (ACV) coverage for personal property.

ACV policies take deprecation into account when setting a claim value so your five-year-old computer will probably not be worth much in the eyes of your insurer, and it usually does not make financial sense to claim a computer on an ACV policy.

Replacement value policies will replace your computer with a brand new one of similar quality regardless of how old it is at the time of the claim.

A standard home insurance policy provides ACV coverage for personal property. You can upgrade to replacement cost, and it’s well worth the extra premium.

Read our guide to home insurance

When does homeowners insurance cover laptop damage?

Your home insurance will cover laptop damage as long as it’s caused by a covered peril.

When it comes to electronics, lightning is often the culprit. Power surges caused by lightning can destroy television sets, computers, gaming systems, even doorbells. The damage can be extensive-zapping everything that was plugged in-or more selective. A computer might get fried, for instance, but a television might survive.

Find out how homeowners insurance covers power surges and outages.

Home insurance excludes accidental damage from things like dropping the computer, spilling water on it or accidentally stepping on it. Many insurers do offer separate laptop or computer-specific policies that do cover this type of damage, but they require an additional premium.

What section of a standard homeowners policy covers laptop or computer damage?

Coverage C or personal property coverage covers laptop or computer damage. Coverage C protects the personal property in your home, such as a laptop, furniture, other electronics, clothing, kitchen appliances and more.

In most cases, personal property is only covered against specific perils named in the policy. While it can vary, these are the most common 16 perils:

  • Fire and lightning
  • Windstorm and hail
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Explosion
  • Smoke
  • Weight of ice and snow
  • Riots
  • Aircraft
  • Vehicles
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Falling objects
  • Accidental overflow of water from household appliances or plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or fire sprinkler systems
  • Freezing of household appliances or plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or fire sprinkler systems
  • Accidental cracking, burning, tearing, or bulging of plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or fire sprinkler systems
  • Accidental damage due to short-circuiting of electrical current (excluding loss of necessary electrical parts)

Every standard homeowner policy offers coverage for your personal property, but personal property protection is usually capped at 50% of your total dwelling coverage. For example, if you have $300,000 in coverage on your home, your insurer would cover your personal property at $150,000.

In addition to the coverage cap for personal property, there are special coverage limits for specific types of property which can impact your laptop. Many policies will have a coverage limit for portable electronics of $1,500 to $2,500. This means that regardless of how much your laptop was worth when it was destroyed, your insurer will only pay out up to their coverage limit for your new one and you’ll have to cover the remaining balance.

If you decide you need a higher limit for your portable electronics, you can usually increase this coverage limit and pay a higher premium.

Learn more about home insurance basics

Do I need to buy extra coverage to protect against laptop damage?

If your computer is worth a lot more than your coverage cap or you want to protect it against accidental drops, water spills, and breakdowns from normal wear and tear, you may want to consider home computer coverage. Many insurance companies offer separate computer coverage which protects your computer as well as other electronics.

While these policies will protect your computer against a wide variety of perils, most of them exclude coverage for computer viruses, software problems and blatant neglect.

You can also purchase a separate policy to protect the laptop specifically; this is usually offered when you buy it.

How to make a claim on a broken laptop

Making a claim on a laptop or computer that has been destroyed by a covered peril is pretty straightforward, but if your computer simply needs to be repaired rather than replaced, there may be an extra step. Here is a quick overview of how to make a claim for a damaged or destroyed computer:

  • Consider the deducible: Before contacting your insurance company you should run the numbers. When making a claim on computer you will have to pay the deductible. Obviously, if your deductible is more than the value of your computer, it makes no sense to file a claim.
  • Get a police report if necessary: If your computer or laptop has been stolen, you will need a police report to file a claim.
  • Contact your insurance company: If your laptop was destroyed by a covered peril you will need to contact your insurance company or agent. Claim procedures and requirements vary by insurance company. In most cases, you will have to submit photos or video of the destroyed computer.
  • Get a repair quote: If you are making a claim for a broken computer, you will most likely need a repair quote. Your insurance company may request that you get a quote from a local provider, or they may send you to a repair center that they work with on a regular basis.
  • Cash your claim check: Once your insurer has investigated and approved the claim you will be sent a claim check minus your deductible, which you can use to repair or replace your computer.

Even if your computer is valued at more than your deductible you should consider the impact a claim will have on your policy. Once you make a claim on your policy, your rates will increase and you will lose any claims-free discounts you have, all of which may end up costing more than a new laptop.

If your computer is worth $1,000 and your deductible is $500, it rarely makes sense to use your insurance. The best advice is to pay for your new computer out of pocket.

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Mark Vallet
Contributing Researcher


Mark is a freelance journalist and analyst with over 15 years of experience covering the insurance industry.