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Electronics rental and hire in the age of sustainability
Electrical and electronic equipment is an integral part of our daily lives. The challenge for businesses and governments is to ensure that they are used sustainably and efficiently.  
Published 28 Mar 2024
Electronic insurances for rental

Electrical appliances have become indispensable, from smartphones to dishwashers. However, the sustainable and efficient use of these appliances is a challenge. Here we look at:

  • The importance of repair and insurance  
  • Right to repair  
  • The throwaway society  
  • The impact of insurance on the product lifecycle  
  • Calculable costs and protection: hire and rental insurance  
  • Customised insurance from hepster  
  • Two electronics rental companies launch with hepster  

 

The importance of repairs and insurance  

Electrical and electronic equipment is an integral part of our daily lives, from smartphones and laptops to vacuum cleaners and dishwashers. It's hard to imagine life without them. The challenge for businesses and governments is to ensure that they are used sustainably and efficiently.   

The reality, however, is that the waste generated by these devices has increased dramatically in recent years.   

The amount of e-waste in the EU has almost doubled since 2015. It is estimated that in 2020, 5 million tonnes of electrical and electronic equipment waste were disposed in all EU Member States.   

This development is a setback for Member States' efforts to reduce their ecological footprint and do more to protect the environment. For this reason, an EU regulation is due to be adopted in 2024, providing for the so-called "right to repair".    

  

The right to repair  

Resources are finite. In the long run, we cannot afford to throw away our devices when they have minor defects. Products need to have a longer life cycle. This is the aim of the new EU regulation.    

It should be easier and cheaper for consumers to get defective equipment repaired. Manufacturers will be obliged to repair defective electronic equipment within the warranty period. Exceptions are only possible if the repair costs exceed the cost of a new purchase or if the repair is unreasonable for the consumer. It is also planned to extend the warranty period by one year if a repair is carried out within the warranty period.   

What is new is that consumers will be able to request a repair outside the warranty period. Although this will no longer be free of charge, new measures will make it cheaper and more attractive than before. To ensure that repairs are not reserved for manufacturers and to reduce overall costs, independent repairers and do-it-yourselfers will also have access to all the necessary spare parts, information and tools - at acceptable prices. To make repairs even more attractive, manufacturers will be required to provide loan items for the duration of the repair.   

The EU's aim is to prolong the life cycle of equipment through repairs, thereby conserving resources. If it becomes more attractive to repair a defective appliance, it will not be discarded prematurely.  

  

The throwaway society  

The figures speak for themselves: around 5 million tonnes of electronic waste will be generated in 2020, almost twice as much as in 2015. It has been found that a large proportion of electronic equipment is disposed of prematurely.  Especially smartphones. No sooner has your beloved mobile phone slipped out of your hand than the display shows all sorts of cracks and scratches. A quick and easy repair, but for many people a welcome reason to buy a new one. Defects in small household appliances and consumer electronics in particular are seen as a reason to buy a new product. However, this is precisely why EU consumers lose around 12 billion euros a year: they buy new instead of repairing.   

Consumers consistently cite 3 main reasons for discarding and buying new. 30% of consumers say that a repair is too expensive and they would rather buy a new product. 25% say it takes too long to repair. 27% have not even bothered to look for a repair option.    

The new regulation aims to address the high costs and long downtimes. However, it will only be effective if consumers are informed about the new rules and are prepared to accept a repair. With this in mind, both manufacturers and the EU/countries need to raise awareness of repairs in order to strengthen the repair culture in Europe. 

 

The impact of insurance on the product lifecycle  

Insurance also supports the approach of actively using equipment for longer and minimising e-waste. If you take out an insurance policy for your electronic equipment, it will cover a range of damages, paying for repair or even replacement:    

  • Battery and screen damage   
  • Liquid damage  
  • Drop and breakage  
  • Fire damage  
  • And many more   

For example, if the display is cracked or the battery is faulty, the cost of repairing the damage will be covered by the insurance. It makes little sense to see the defect as a reason to buy a new device. Insurance can significantly extend the life of a device.  

  

Calculable costs and protection: hire and rental insurance  

In today's dynamic business world, the ability to respond quickly to change is critical to a company's success. IT and electronics hire and rental models provide additional flexibility to meet these challenges. For example, new employees can be easily equipped with new equipment on a rental basis, avoiding high one-off acquisition costs.   

However, renting means that the equipment passes through many hands and is subject to particularly heavy use. It also increases the risk of damage due to mishandling, as suppliers have no control over how the equipment is used.    

This makes it difficult for rental companies to estimate repair or breakdown costs in advance. Insurance allows for better planning. Fast claims settlement minimises downtime and covers the cost of repairs or even a replacement unit.   

This allows the rental company to minimise their risk and have financial planning certainty regarding repair and downtime costs. The sum insured can be included directly in the instalment paid by the user or tenant.    

 

Needs-based insurance from hepster  

The "right to repair" is not only important for end users, but also for rental companies. Our new insurance policy specifically for the rental of electronic equipment covers a wide range of services for various electronic devices, thus offering landlords a comprehensive range of services. Insured items include IT equipment such as laptops, mobile phones, tablets, monitors, PCs, headsets, projectors and cameras. We can also insure catering equipment such as fully automatic coffee machines, dishwashers, fridges, washing machines and till systems.    

Because these are sensitive items, and because we are particularly aware of the changing users of consumer electronics, we cover a wide range of damage to the insured items. Specifically, this means:   

Fall damage, breakage, liquid damage, fire, explosion, short circuit, vandalism, lightning, improper handling, operating errors, material defects, battery damage, theft, burglary and more.  

Two electronics rental companies launch with hepster  

The insurance policies can be integrated directly into the electronics rental offer, e.g. via the rental fee. There are no additional costs for the end user - but the security for customers and partners increases enormously. These benefits have been recognised by the market and underline the need for tailored insurance for rental companies.   

Two new providers have been working with hepster since February 2024. One is the Austrian service provider AVAD. AVAD is a provider of network-oriented communication solutions. Together with the manufacturer SHIFT, the company has now entered the electronics rental sector. This allows companies to rent IT equipment such as laptops, mobile phones, PCs, monitors, cameras and much more - including theft protection. 

Flexvelop customers will be similarly protected in the future. With FLEX rental, the company combines the advantages of leasing, renting and financing in a single solution. The Hamburg-based company's FLEX rental service enables companies to rent electronic equipment for office IT and hardware. The range is complemented by catering equipment. This means that equipment such as fully automatic coffee machines, refrigerators, POS systems and dishwashers are also insured against a wide range of damage.  

AVAD and Flexvelop have recognised the benefits of comprehensive insurance for their business model. Michael Kremser, Managing Partner of AVAD, commented on the collaboration: "We look forward to working with hepster. It is in the nature of rental equipment that it is subject to particularly heavy use - the associated repair costs are difficult to estimate in advance. Thanks to the insurance offered by hepster, we and our customers can plan ahead."   

We are pleased to be able to strengthen sustainable business models such as electronics rental with our insurance policies. 

Sources

https://www.destatis.de/Europa/DE/Thema/Umwelt-Energie/Elektroschrott.html

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