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How to protect your laptop or tablet

So, you've just taken delivery of a flashy, new laptop or tablet. After hours of research into the best one to buy you’ve finally got your hands on the latest gizmo. And with oodles of storage yet to fill, neatly wrapped cables, and that freshly unboxed smell there’s no feeling quite like it.

But, how do you keep this beautifully pristine gadget safe when you eventually head online or venture out into the big, wide world? When you’ve added such a desirable piece of tech to your collection, you’ll want to protect it with the best insurance for gadgets available.

After all, when you’ve bought the latest technological marvel, you won’t want to be left out of pocket if it’s accidentally damaged or even stolen.

iPad pro

There are plenty of other top tips you also need to follow if you want to protect your latest purchase. Read on to find out more.

  1. Buy a decent bag or case

The portability of a laptop or tablet is one of their main selling points. So, there's little sense in spending hundreds of pounds on the latest must-have device, only for it to never leave the house for fear of something happening to it.

That’s why, when you first make your purchase, be sure to invest in a good quality bag or case that fits perfectly and keeps everything safe and secure.

Whether you’re looking for a backpack, sleeve or briefcase, make sure it has plenty of internal padding, to keep your gadget well protected from knocks and drops. And with the UK weather the way it is it’s worth choosing one with a waterproof outer-coating. Make sure you are able to spot the signs of water damage on your phone.

It’ll not only stop any rain from soaking through but will also protect in the event of any spillages. Pockets on the outside are also useful, as they allow you to carry other items without the danger of gadget damage.

The Eastpak Provider 15" Laptop Backpack comes highly recommended by the techies over at T3 as an intensely practical backpack from a trusted brand. For tablets, we adore these super-smart tech organisers from Knomo

Remember though, there’s no point in investing in a bag or case if you don’t put your gadget away when you've finished using it. What use is a suit of armour if you never wear it?

  1. Fit some screen protection

Laptops and their tablet brethren are made to last and the care that goes into the design and build of these machines is impressive. However, they’re in no way immune from damage, and one of their most vulnerable points are their beautiful displays.

Is there anything worse than that horrible sinking feeling as you hear a cracking sound from your gadget or first notice a scratch stretching right across the screen?

But these accidents can often be prevented by some simple precautions. As well as investing in a bag or case you also need to get something to protect that delicate screen. There are many inexpensive screen protectors and guards currently on the market that will protect both tablets and laptops.

From plastic to tempered glass there are choices to suit any budget, but all will help ward off cracks, scratches, and many other forms of damage. What’s more they can keep your screen from getting dusty and dirty. Some will even reduce glare and stop snoopers from spying on your communications.

Unlike some insurers’ policies, gadget insurance from Gadget Cover even covers minor screen cracks. And if the item cannot be repaired, we will replace it.

  1. Follow these handy dos and don’ts

  • Don't eat or drink near your laptop or tablet. We know that grabbing a quick snack or drink is tempting but both can easily damage your valuable tech. Even if you’re the tidiest eater!
  • Don't put things on top of your gadget. A closed laptop or a tablet can seem like a sturdy surface, but they’re actually very delicate. Putting objects on top of your gadget could potentially damage its body or crack the screen.
  • Don't leave your gadget in the car. As well as being a target for thieves, doing this could leave your gadget vulnerable to extreme temperatures that can cause irreparable damage. Keep it safe inside, away from direct sunlight and other heat sources.
  • Do carry the laptop when it is completely closed. Carrying a laptop by its screen or while it's open is a recipe for costly damage.
  • Do check for obstructions before closing the laptop. Notebooks, headphones, pens or any number of objects can easily be left between the screen and the keyboard. Closing the laptop with them in the way could crack the screen.
  • Do be gentle with the ports. Cords, cables and other removable devices that attach to your gadget can cause damage. Yanking cords from their ports or forcefully trying to insert a USB device incorrectly can cause harm to both devices.
  • Do be aware of overheating. Gadgets can get pretty hot indeed. Laptops in particular can overheat if their vents are covered. So, always use your laptop on a surface that allows it to breathe. And never let it sit unattended on a bed, sofa or carpet while it’s on.
  • Do take it to an expert for repair. There are many online troubleshooting guides to help solve hardware or software problems yourself. However, if in doubt, never try to self repair. Instead, take it to an expert.
  1. Make life hard for thieves

The theft of expensive items like laptops and tablets is an unfortunate fact of life for many modern consumers. And though we hope it won’t happen to you, it's always a wise idea to prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario. Indeed, theft can happen anywhere and at any time. Whether at home, on the train, in the street, or in a café or restaurant it’s important to always stay aware of your surroundings.

With research suggesting that a laptop is stolen every 53 seconds in the UK (often from bars or public transport) then owners need to be on the alert at all times. Even if you’ve just stepped away for a moment your laptop or tablet is easily slipped into someone else’s bag when you aren't looking.

Your first line of defence has to be to keep your tech in sight at all times, use a lock to secure it, or perhaps a proximity alarm attached to your bag. While thieves often favour the brand-new devices that are easy to sell on, even those which are a few years old can be targeted. Remember, it’s not just the device itself thieves could be after – it could also be your valuable data.

If the worst does happen then you’ll be glad you arranged for your gadgets to be covered by our Defaqto 5-star expert rated gadget insurance.

  1. Keep your gadget locked and password protected

There’s an obvious solution to protect your gadget (and the precious personal data it contains). Set it up so you need to enter a password to unlock it every time you boot up or come back to it after it’s switched to screensaver.

And when it comes to passwords, it’s not just about picking an impossible-to-guess combination of capital letters, numbers and symbols (although that’s a good idea, particularly if it’s a gadget you use for your work or business). You should also set up two-step authentication on sites that hold personal data on you, including Facebook, Twitter and Google.

If you’re worried about remembering all these passwords for different services then use a password manager to store them in a secure online vault. Top picks from the computer experts at PC Mag include the elegant Keeper Password Manager, the easy-to-use LastPass and the well-designed Dashlane.

Also, while it’s very convenient to let your device remember your password and log you in to sites automatically, it’s probably not the best idea if you often take your device out with you.

Android Tablet

  1. Download security software

There are always new viruses, spyware, malware, ransomware, and other nasties looking for a vulnerable device to infect. So going online presents probably the biggest potential threat to your laptop or tablet.

While all gadgets will come with some level of built-in security features, to really make your device secure you'll need to download some security software.

If you’re in the market for such software then try to use a reputable brand like Norton or McAfee. As leaders in the consumer cybersecurity field, they provide probably the most comprehensive protection against online threats.

Indeed, some brands are so confident in their products that they’ll refund you the cost if your device gets a virus that their experts cannot remove.

But remember, just as with any software if you download from unofficial or unknown sources then you could become a victim of cybercriminals.

  1. Use a VPN and turn off your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when not in use

Using an unsecured public Wi-Fi connection or leaving Wi-Fi enabled when you’re not using your gadget could make you vulnerable to cyberattack when out and about. While hacking Bluetooth channels is also a common tactic used by cybercriminals. Always make sure that Bluetooth is not on by default and always double-check which devices you are connecting to.

A great idea to protect yourself and your devices is to use a virtual private network (VPN) rather than public Wi-Fi. VPN gives you online privacy and anonymity by creating a private, encrypted network from a public Internet connection.

Techradar claims that ExpressVPN is the outright best VPN service for speed, privacy and unblocking, with NordVPN not far behind.

  1. Back up your data regularly

A very unglamorous and often-overlooked part of protecting you and your devices is to make sure the data on them has been regularly backed up. That way, if disaster hits then at least you’ve got a recent copy of your data on hand.

While gadgetry can be replaced, sensitive work or financial documents and private videos and photos often cannot. Whether you use Cloud-based services, your home computer or store it on an encrypted drive or USB memory stick you can never back up enough!

  1. Take care when disposing of your old laptop or tablet

When you’ve taken delivery of a new laptop or tablet it’s all too easy for your old gadget to drop out of your mind. But that would be a mistake, as your old gadgets could do a lot to damage your financial health.

After all, you never know in whose hands your old gadget will end up in after you get rid of it.

Follow these easy steps to disposing of your old gadget to ensure your personal data doesn't go missing:

  • Back up your data – You want to dispose of your old tech, not say goodbye to all your valuable data!
  • Wipe your data – Simply deleting files and emptying your trash will not be enough. You need to download dedicated software to safely wipe all your data and make it impossible to retrieve. Depending on what you’re planning to do with the old tech, laptop owners may even decide to remove the hard drive from the device and physically destroy it.
  • Find a responsible way to dispose of your old gadget. Our amazing gadgets are full of harmful substances and need to be disposed of correctly. You could contact your local recycling centre, try to sell it online, or donate it to one of the many charities looking to refurbish and reuse gadgets.
  1. Get the best gadget insurance

Finally, taking out gadget insurance to protect such expensive items has to be one of your top priorities as a new owner. Whether you’re the proud owner of a new laptop or tablet, Gadget Cover can pair you up with a policy to suit both your needs and budget.

Our specialist insurance policies give you comprehensive cover for a great price. You’ll also receive a range of additional benefits such as worldwide and family cover. We’ll even replace any accessories (up to £150) if they’re lost, stolen or damaged at the same time as your gadget.

Get a quote for gadget insurance today!

Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.

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