In an investigation of 46 UK insurance providers, the Consumers Association's Computing Which? Magazine found that less than half provided cover for music and other digital downloads.

None protected downloads in the event of hardware or mechanical failure – so if a computer is hit by a virus, or the hard drive fails, there is no possibility of iPod users making a claim.

Many insurers seemed confused about downloads. For example, staff at Tesco Personal Finance were unfamiliar with the area, while at MoreThan the policy wording didn’t reflect the fact that digital downloads were actually covered.

On a positive note, those companies that are keeping up with the times insure a wide range of digital content including music videos, TV programmes, films, games and even mobile phone ring tones.

Computing Which? Is giving the following tips to avoid digital download disaster:

1) Check your policy documents, or call your insurer directly, to see if you’re covered

2) Keep any receipts or bank statements relating to digital downloads you’ve bought

3) Make sure that your systems have anti-virus software, anti-spyware and a firewall installed as hardware or mechanical failure are rarely protected

4) Protect your digital content with a back up copy, particularly if you’re not covered by insurance

5) Consider switching insurance companies to avoid disappointment

Abigail Waraker, editor ofComputing Which? magazine, said: “Downloading music online is widely accepted now as being the easiest and most convenient way to buy music. Music lovers know it, the music companies know it – but it seems insurance companies are determined to stay behind the times.

“We’d like to see insurance companies make their way to the top of the charts by providing full cover for all digital contents."

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