Gadget insurance: Do your homework before you buy

Next time you pick up your smart phone, think about this sobering bit of trivia: According to mobile security company Lookout, an estimated $7 million worth of smart phones are lost or stolen every day.

And Seattle ranks second in the nation as a smart phone theft and loss hotspot. The numbers are feeding a growing trend: smart phone insurance.

Go online and you'll see the trend in your search results. Some companies you know, like Verizon and AT&T. Others you may not have heard of, like Assurant, Asurion, Safeware, Square Trade, Ensquared, Worth Avenue Group and a newcomer called Protect Your Bubble.

Competition for gadget insurance is getting as stiff as competition for gadget sales. Premiums range from $70 to $100 or more a year, depending on the gadget. But there are a number of factors to consider and cost is just the beginning.

What's covered? More importantly, what's not covered? Policies vary. What about deductibles? What's the claim limit? Will your replacement gadget be new, or used and refurbished? And if you get a replacement- will that mean a new service contract?

Like other forms of insurance, experts want gadget insurance does is offer peach of mine. Just make sure it makes sense for your needs and budget. And since many replacement gadgets are refurbished, check the price of refurbished smart phones and tablets before you making an insurance decision. Compare the total cost of the insurance and deductions to the cost of simply buying a replacement- if your gadget gets stolen or lost.

Insurance aside, security experts say it's important to protect your gadgets while they're in your possesion. Never leave them laying where you can't see them or might overlook them, always make sure they're password protected, and always backup your data.