Video games are fun, but they're also an investment. A new Xbox, PlayStation or Nintendo costs anywhere from $200 to more than $500 in some cases. Gaming PCs can run several thousand dollars. And these prices only include the basics. Adding a new game to your collection generally costs at least $50 every time. If you throw in some accessories, you could easily wind up spending more than $1,000 on a console. This is a lot of money and chances are, you take steps to protect your large purchases. It's important to consider doing the same for your gaming console or PC.
A flood may not be the first threat you think of when considering what could destroy your gaming console. But consider this: In 2019, floods caused more than $3.75 billion in damages to property and crops in the U.S, and there have been 32 floods since 2010 that have caused more than a billion dollars worth of damage with the average cost coming in at $4.6 billion. Luckily, you can do some easy and relatively cheap things to keep your gaming console safe during a flood. It's also a good idea to understand your home's relative flood risk, depending on where you live.
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Protecting Your Gaming Console
There are a lot of different ways to secure your gaming console or PC. Some are meant to prevent damage, while others are meant to limit damage and help with the cost of replacing what was lost.
This first idea requires some foresight on your part. There are different protective boxes on the market that are both fire and waterproof. However, they're only effective if you know there's a potential for flooding and pack your system away ahead of time.
Before you rush out and buy a case, it helps to first measure your console's dimensions. Then, think about how much you want to spend. You can opt to go with something cheaper like this one from Plano, but you'll likely have to make some modifications. For instance, the Plano trunk has a groove built into the lid that allows you to add a seal to make it truly waterproof. You could also choose to spend more money up front and go with this Honeywell safe, which is designed to keep contents dry for up to 100 hours "even when submerged in 39 inches of water."
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If you decide not to purchase a waterproof container, and your home does get flooded, there are still options to recoup what you lost.
"Flooding is not covered by a homeowners policy," said Fran Majidi, Content Marketing Manager at SmartFinancial. "You must buy a separate flood policy. You'll want to create an inventory of your possessions, including the consoles, to be reimbursed for your losses. Make sure your limits are high enough to cover your more expensive possessions."
The cost of flood insurance will vary depending on where you live. Keep in mind that even if you decide to get flood insurance, it could take a while to get reimbursed if something happens to your system, which could limit your gaming ability.
Gaming System Insurance
Video games are big business. A recent report shows that sales of hardware, software and accessories hit $6.6 billion for just the first six months of this year. It's no wonder that some companies now offer video game insurance. Like flood insurance, the terms and conditions for video game insurance policies will vary. However, some companies, like the Worth Ave. Group, do offer gaming system insurance protection against fire, flood and natural disasters, so shop around. You could also look into buying an extended warranty for your system, but it may not cover damage caused by full-water submersion, so make sure to read the fine print before purchasing.
You can also minimize your losses by deciding only to purchase digital versions of games. Even if your home does get flooded and destroys your PC or gaming console, your games will still be safe because they're tied to your online account. You can simply download them again when you get your new system. Also, keep in mind that most video game companies allow you to play games you've purchased on other consoles, which means you can continue playing if you have access to another system.
In the end, some combination of these options could minimize or even eliminate the flood risk to your gaming system.
A recent article from the New York Times shows climate change will increase the number of places in the United States at risk of flooding. The Times used data collected by the First Street Foundation. The organization uses peer-reviewed research to create data about flood risk. On First Street's website, you'll find a search function that allows you to look up your address to see your home's "flood factor."
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also has flood maps on its site if you want to see where your home sits within a larger area. There are three types of floods: coastal, river and flash floods. Generally speaking, no place is completely immune to flooding. However, river flooding tends to be more common in the Northeast and Midwest, whereas flash flooding tends to happen in the Southwest.
Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States. Floods kill more people every year than tornadoes, hurricanes or lightning. Even just one inch of water can have profound financial implications for an individual. A FEMA analysis shows that this level of water can cause more than $26,000 in damages.
The Bottom Line
Millions of Americans play video games. Owning a gaming PC or a gaming console can cost anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand dollars. Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States. Gamers can protect their investment by buying waterproof boxes, insurance or purchasing only digital versions of their favorite games. And a good first step every gamer should take is to understand the flood risk where they live.
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