Alexandra, who has Albany, NY renters insurance, wrote to us in a panic to ask,
Does renters insurance cover a company laptop? I just started a new job and they assigned me a company laptop, but it was stolen out of my car in the parking garage at work. Am I covered?
Alexandra, great question. The first thing we’ll tell you to do is to take a deep breath. After that, let’s look at a pretty standard renters insurance policy and find out if renters insurance covers a company laptop.
Does Renters Insurance Cover A Company Laptop?
Many people are issued laptops by their companies, and they want to be sure they’re not on the hook for theft. A natural thought is to look to your renters insurance for coverage, but is coverage present?
Does Renters Insurance Cover A Company Laptop? Does Renters Insurance Cover Property Of A Business In My Possession?
There are several parts of the policy that dictate the answer, and we’ll pick them apart as we come across them. Of course, all relate to personal property because this is not a liability issue.
$5,000 on property, on the residence premises, used primarily for business purposes.
That’s pretty clear cut, but entirely irrelevant to Alexandra’s situation. Yes, up to $5,000 in property used primarily for business purposes would be covered, except for the fact that the loss didn’t happen on the residence premises, it happened at her car, which was in her employer’s parking garage. So let’s move on…
$1,500 on property, away from the residence premises, used primarily for business purposes.
Great, you think! I’m in the clear! Well, maybe. To be sure, let’s read the rest of that provision and the one it references…
However, this limit does not apply to loss to electronic apparatus and accessories described below.
$1,500 on electronic apparatus and accessories, while in or upon a motor vehicle, but only if the apparatus is equipped to be operated by power from the motor vehicle’s electrical system, while still being capable of being operated by other power sources.
What does that mean to you? First of all, it looks like there’s coverage under the $1,500 sublimit. But, that coverage is further limited in an interesting way, based on a provision that was intended to apply to CB radios and the like. Ultimately, the property is likely covered but limited to $1,500 in coverage, if it can be operated from the electrical system of the vehicle as well as another source. Granted, car chargers for laptops are rare, but inverters are not. As anyone in outside sales can tell you, an inverter can keep your laptop functioning all day. It also means that laptop can be operated from the vehicle’s electrical system, as well as from other sources.
If your company gave you a new $5,000 laptop, you may be out of luck. If you have the more common sub-$1,000 version, there is a chance that coverage would be available. The only way to find out is to read your policy carefully, and ask for help from the renters insurance experts at Effective Coverage who are just a phone call away at (800)892-4308.