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?



Visa also offers extended warranty protection for free for up to 5 years for holders of platinum Visa cards.


A clear skin is a great always-on shield against scratches and dings. Keep the case looking new which you want if you plan on reselling.

I have the Best Skins Ever full wrap on my Macbook Pro. They carry pre-cut skins for Apples. Gives a nice grippy surface to the aluminum MBPs. Not sure if anyone has pre-cuts for other brands.

Todd Sieling

I get Applecare for any laptop I buy, and it usually ends up paying for itself handily.

I also put Undercover by Orbicule onto each laptop for remote theft recovery, which I’ve not yet had to use, thankfully and knocking on wood :)


For my company I had to test laptop locks. The lock are good but the cables on the other hand…. With a $20 bolt cutter from Lowes which fit very well in pants pocket. It takes on average 3 seconds to cut the larger 3/8″ security cables. From the work I did, I would never leave my notebook with any of these locks. So at Starbucks, it goes to the bathroom with me.


Are laptop locks a good idea? I’ve been worried about someone walking off with mine (the office is in a reasonably public space). Can you recommend any locks?


Agree with Ignar’s comments. I use a laptop as a secondary machine – for conferences, meetings, and traveling. My desktop is where everything lives. So a $1000 laptop does the job. And it’s simply not worth the extended warranty or insurance cost on a $1000.


I don’t bother with extended warranty for my laptop. Warranty made some sense when laptops cost $2000+, but nowadays the price dropped down so much, I just get a cheaper one and use it for a year and replace it. (and sell the old one at eBay) Typically laptops come with 1 year warranty (and you can extend it to 2 years for free by using some credit cards), so no need for extended warranty there. Also when I buy cheaper ones, insurance isn’t that needed either. I just make sure to protect my data by making frequent and redundant backups.

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