OLR Research Report


August 14, 2013

 

2013-R-0310

PORTABLE ELECTRONICS INSURANCE

By: Janet L. Kaminski Leduc, Senior Legislative Attorney

You asked for (1) a list of states that have laws regulating portable electronics insurance (i.e., insurance coverage for repairing or replacing lost, stolen, or damaged portable electronic devices); (2) a general description of these laws; and (3) an overview of Connecticut's proposed bill, SB 597 of the 2013 legislative session.

SUMMARY

Based on an online search using Westlaw, it appears that 40 states and the District of Columbia regulate portable electronics insurance (see Table 1). Ten states do not: Alaska, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming.

The laws generally require a vendor (i.e., a seller of portable electronics) who wants to offer or sell portable electronics insurance to obtain an insurance license and provide certain disclosures to consumers about the insurance product. The customers must be told (1) that portable electronics insurance may duplicate coverage provided under a customer's homeowners insurance policy or similar coverage; (2) that enrollment in portable electronics insurance is not required to purchase or lease portable electronics; and (3) the material terms of the insurance, including how to file a claim and cancel coverage. The laws also authorize the vendor's employees to sell portable electronics insurance without being licensed as an insurance producer, as long as the vendor is properly licensed and the employees are supervised and trained on the insurance.

In 2013, the Connecticut legislature considered a bill to regulate portable electronics insurance. SB 597 passed the Senate, but died on the House calendar. Similar to the laws in other states, SB 597 would have established licensing and regulatory requirements for portable electronics insurance.

SB 597 required a seller (i.e., one who leases or sells portable electronics) who wants to offer or sell portable electronics insurance in Connecticut to first obtain a license from the insurance commissioner. The bill (1) required sellers to provide disclosures about the insurance to prospective buyers and (2) allowed buyers, insurers, and sellers to cancel coverage under certain conditions. It established the following fees: $100 for filing an application for an initial license, $500 for the initial two-year license, and $450 for a license renewal every two years. The bill also exempted specified portable electronics insurance claims employees from the casualty claims adjuster licensing requirements.

SB 597 defined “portable electronics insurance” as insurance coverage for repairing or replacing a portable electronic device due to loss, theft, mechanical failure, malfunction, damage, or other similar causes of loss. It excluded an extended warranty; an insurance policy covering a seller's or manufacturer's obligations under a warranty; and a homeowners, renters, or other insurance policy that includes similar coverage.

It defined a “portable electronic device” as any self-contained, easily carried, battery-operated electronic equipment for personal use for communicating, viewing, listening, recording, playing video games, computing, or global positioning. It included a cellular or satellite telephone, paging device, personal global positioning system unit, portable computer, audio listening or recording device, digital camera, portable video game system, telephone answering machine, docking or charging station for a portable electronic device, and similar devices. It also included accessories for and services related to the use of such devices.

OTHER STATES

Forty states and the District of Columbia regulate portable electronics insurance. Table 1 lists these jurisdictions and the related statutory citation.

Table 1: Portable Electronics Insurance Laws

STATE

STATUTORY CITATION

Alabama

Ala. Code 27-22A-1, et seq.

Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. 20-1693, et seq.

Arkansas

Ark. Code Ann. 23-88-5-1, et seq.

California

Cal. Ins. Code 1758.6, et seq.

Colorado

Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. 10-4-1501, et seq.

Delaware

Del. Code Ann. tit. 18, 2050, et seq.

District of Columbia

D.C. Code Ann. 31-5-51.01, et seq.

Florida

Fla. Stat. Ann. 626.321(1)(h) and 626.8685

Georgia

Ga. Code Ann. 33-23-12(d)

Hawaii

Haw. Rev. Stat. 431:31-101, et seq.

Idaho

Idaho Code 41-1081, et seq.

Illinois

215 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 136/1, et seq.

Indiana

Ind. Code 27-1-15.9-1, et seq.

Kansas

Kan. Stat. Ann. 40-5601, et seq.

Kentucky

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. 304.9-780, et seq.

Louisiana

La. Rev. Stat. Ann. 22:1781.1, et seq.

Maryland

Md. Code Ann. 10-701, et seq. and 19-901, et seq.

Michigan

Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. 500.1202 and 500.1222

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. Ann. 60K.381

Mississippi

Miss. Code Ann. 83-73-1, et seq.

Missouri

Mo. Rev. Stat. 379.1500, et seq.

Nebraska

Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. 44-8501, et seq.

Nevada

Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. 691D.010, et seq.

New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. 402-K:1, et seq.

New Jersey

N.J. Stat. Ann. 17:22a-49, et seq.

New Mexico

N.M. Stat. Ann. 59A-12-18 and 59A-13-2

North Carolina

N.C. Gen. Stat. 58-44a-1, et seq.

Ohio

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. 3905.062

Oklahoma

Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 36, 6670, et seq.

Oregon

Or. Rev. Stat. 646A.575, et seq.

Pennsylvania

40 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. 4201, et seq.

Rhode Island

R.I. Gen. Laws 27-2.7-1, et seq.

South Carolina

S.C. Code Ann. 39-97-10, et seq.

South Dakota

S.D. Codified Laws 58-47-1, et seq.

Tennessee

Tenn. Code Ann. 56-6-1101, et seq.

Utah

Utah Code Ann. 31A-22-1801, et seq.

Vermont

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 8, 4257, et seq.

Virginia

Va. Code Ann. 38.2-1875, et seq.

Washington

Wash. Rev. Code Ann. 48.120.020

West Virginia

W. Va. Code Ann. 33-12-32a

Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. Ann. 632.975

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