Protecting Your Laptop Investment

For many web workers, the most expensive piece of gear is the laptop computer. For some of us, it’s even more than expensive: it’s essential, because it’s our only computer. But have you ever thought about how you’re protecting that investment? Here’s a rundown on the ways you can keep your laptop a bit safer.

Buy a Ruggedized Model. Some laptops are simply more resistant to physical damage than others. If you’re doing to do a great deal of travel, especially if you have a tendency towards klutziness, it’s worth looking into “ruggedized” or “semi-ruggedized” models. At the top of the sturdiness line you’ll find machines, like the Dell XFR D630, that comply with Department of Defense standards – they’re designed to be used in rough conditions and dropped without losing function. You’ll pay a premium if you go this route, though. At the very least, look for a computer (such as a MacBook) with an accelerometer built in to park the hard drive if you drop it.

Get a Decent Bag – However rugged your computer, I wouldn’t recommend dropping it with wild abandon. But eventually you will drop it – and you’ll likely be better off if it’s in a decently-padded bag. We’ve looked at choosing the perfect bag before – from the standpoint of investment protection, just remember that you want to prioritize “sturdy” over “stylish.”

Buy the Warranty – No, really. While I skip extended warranties for most of my electronics, I make an exception for laptops; they’re too essential to my working life. Just remember two things. First, the warranty likely won’t cover some of the most blatant things you can do to break a laptop. Second, having the company repair or replace a laptop is small consolation if you can’t get to your precious data in the meantime. You must have a decent backup strategy.

Cover it with Insurance – Having your laptop insured won’t keep it running, but it can make it easier to replace. You need to talk to your insurance agent on this one: establish whether your laptop is covered on your home or business policy, and set a sensible deductible. Then remember to review this coverage when you change laptops.

What do you do to protect your traveling gear?