This post serves as an exercises in Bayesian thinking as well.
- Costs of Usually Damaged Parts and Repairs
- Base Rates of Laptop Damage
- Personal Laptop Damage History
- Types of Damage
- Cognitive Biases
- Life Events and Lifestyle Changes
- Gut Feelings
Alternative: accept that markets are efficient
Costs of Usually Damaged Parts and Repairs
What are the common issues faced by other people? What are the repair costs for these parts? Find this information online and perhaps even talk to local repair shops.
Base Rates of Laptop Damage
How much do people around you usually end up spending on repairs? How often does this happen? This data will provide you with insight into the likelihood of your laptop getting damaged. Think of it in terms of Bayesian base rates.
Personal Laptop Damage History
Reflect on your own experiences with damaged laptops. How many times have you damaged your laptops in the past, and what were the causes? This can help you gauge your personal risk.
Types of Damage
Consider the ways you’ve damaged your laptops in the past. Were they due to accidents like water spills or drops, or were they related to wear and tear issues? Different types of damage may have varying insurance coverage.
Be aware of your cognitive biases, such as overestimating the likelihood of rare events or underestimating common risks. Try to make objective judgments by gathering data and considering all possibilities. Cognitive biases are not always bad. But important to know keep them in mind.
Life Events and Lifestyle Changes
Think about potential lifestyle changes that might affect your laptop’s risk. For example, having a child might increase the chances of accidents, while transitioning to a more stable work environment could reduce risks.
Account for the depreciation of your laptop’s value over time. Electronics typically lose value as they age, which can affect the amount you’d want to insure it for. This data is easily obtainable online.
Summarize all the information and factors you’ve gathered. This can include estimated repair costs, your personal risk history, lifestyle changes, and depreciation. Trust your gut feeling to some extent, as it’s important to feel comfortable with your decision.
With all this information in hand, you can start comparing insurance premiums from different providers. It might be more cost-effective to self-insure by setting aside a “repair fund” for potential laptop issues instead of paying for insurance with a high deductible! You should now have a better feeling about it.
Of course you could just accept that the markets are mostly efficient and therefore most of the factors that you can and cannot think are already factored in, skip the whole exercise and start comparing the premiums.