Safeware Survey: Accidental Damage Poses Biggest Risk for PC Owners

Accidental damage — the type of loss least likely to be covered by standard homeowners and business insurance — poses the biggest single risk for personal computer owners, according to a new insurance industry study.

Safeware, The Insurance Agency, said that an analysis of personal computer damage claims filed in 2000 showed that 56 percent resulted from accidental damage, up from 49 percent in 1999. Thefts accounted for 27 percent, down from 28 percent in 1999.

“PC owners need to review their insurance coverage very carefully,” said Donald F. Strejeck, president of Safeware. “Accidental damage — for example, dropping a PC or damaging its screen — is not covered by most standard homeowners, renters or business policies. That is the main reason why PC owners – especially notebook PC owners — should consider purchasing additional coverage.”

According to Safeware’s report, approximately 831,000 PCs incurred accidental damage in 2000 that could have resulted in insurance claims. Over 95 percent of accidentally damaged units were notebook PCs. Strejeck said that notebook PC losses accounted for 92 percent of claims processed by Safeware last year, up from 87 percent in 1999.

“We are not surprised by these results. We continue to see more and more consumers replacing their desktop PCs with notebooks, which are more vulnerable to accidental damage or theft.”

Other highlights of the 2000 Safeware loss study:

* Accidental damage accounted for 58 percent of reported notebook losses, up from 52 percent in 1999.

* Notebook theft losses, as a percentage of total claims, remained steady at about 28 percent.

* A desktop PC is about five times more likely to be damaged by a power surge or lightning than a notebook PC.

* Safeware’s annual loss statistics are projected from actual reported claims by the company’s national client base. According to Safeware’s report, approximately 1.5 million PC owners in 2000 incurred equipment damage or loss that could have resulted in an insurance claim.

That is an increase of about 19 percent from 1999. The study also projected that approximately 387,000 notebook PCs were stolen in 2000, up about 20 percent from an estimated 319,000 in 1999.