Like the 87 million Americans who had to deal with damaged phones in 2019, you would rather your phone remain in pristine condition until you have to change it. But, unfortunately, statistically, your phone would get damaged sooner or later. Since you cannot predict when this will happen, you need a cell phone insurance plan covering unexpected costs for repairs and loss.
Many companies offer cell phone protection plans, from cell phone makers to network carriers and third-party providers. These companies provide phone users with warranties and protection if their phone gets stolen or damaged. But this support doesn't come cheap. So how do you decide whether to get cell phone insurance or which one is best for you?
Say you're planning to buy a new phone and wondering if you should pay for cell phone insurance and which to choose. Here are a few things to consider:
These aside, there is no denying that many cell phone insurance providers have excellent terms and coverage. So, how do you choose between several insurance plans that meet your needs?
When looking to buy a cell phone insurance plan, you have many options. You can purchase insurance from the retailer when you purchase your device or directly from the device's manufacturer. You can also get cell phone insurance from your wireless carrier or a third-party insurer. How do these work?
Many of the tech-retailing companies offer phone insurance as an ancillary service. For instance, BestBuy provides two-year protection to customers who buy the Samsung Galaxy S21 with its Geek Squad Basic Protection plan.
This plan costs $8.99 a month and covers phone glitches and accidental damage. If you want to get loss and theft cover, you can upgrade to the Geek Squad Complete Protection for $10.99 per month.
BestBuy will not charge deductibles for claims that its warranty doesn't cover - unless the claim requires a device replacement. In the case of a replacement claim, BestBuy charges a service fee that can go as high as $199 - based on the phone's retail value.
BestBuy allows customers to make three claims within twelve rolling months. You can buy the Geek Squad Protection (Basic or Complete) when you purchase your phone online. You can also buy it within sixty days of purchasing your device in-store.
Most phone makers also offer insurance for their products. For instance, Apple offers the AppleCare+ package with its products. Although iPhone users get one year of warranty and twelve weeks of support with new devices, Apple lets them extend the support, starting at $80.
iPhone users who buy AppleCare+ can make two claims per year and must pay a deductible each time. While the AppleCare+ does not come cheap, it is worth it if you tend to drop your phone. To make a repair claim, take your device to an Apple Store or any of Apple's authorized retailers. You can also mail it in if you don't want to commute or call Apple customer service for your options.
You should note, however, that AppleCare+ does not cover loss or theft. For loss or theft cover, you'll need to buy a different plan.
Likewise, Android device makers offer cell phone insurance at the point of sale. For instance, Samsung Mobile provides monthly protection for its devices through its Samsung Care+ plan. For $12 per month, Samsung will take your repairs to licensed technicians using original Samsung parts. By doing this, Samsung ensures that damaged devices work like new. You can purchase the Care+ plan alongside your new phone or within 12 months of purchase.
To buy Samsung Care+ after taking your device from the retail store, download the Samsung+ app. You will have to provide picture evidence to prove that your device is in good condition.
The Samsung Care+ plan allows you to get up to three replacements for your device within twelve months. It does not, however, cover phone loss or theft.
The protection plans that phone manufacturers offer are expensive. Thankfully, some wireless carriers provide equally comprehensive and affordable insurance plans that you must consider, especially if you are on a budget.
AT&T offers cell phone protection plans starting at $8.99 per month. This monthly payment guarantees one device coverage against loss, theft, and out-of-warranty malfunctions. It also guarantees same-day screen repairs for specific devices. AT&T offers these benefits, along with extra perks like unlimited photo storage, tech support, and scam protection for $15. In addition, a family of four can get loss and theft insurance, unlimited photo and video storage for $40 per month. If you have additional inquiries, contact AT&T customer service.
Likewise, T-Mobile also offers complete coverage from device damage or breakdown (accidental), loss, and theft, on its Protection 360 plan for $7-$18 a month. Depending on the device and the repairs required, T-Mobile charges a non-refundable deductible between $20 to $199. For iPhones, T-Mobile charges $29, while it charges $99 devices from other manufacturers. Replacing a device costs between $10 - $499. Protection 360 subscribers can make three claims a year, but each claim cannot exceed $1,500. If you want protection from T-Mobile, you must get the Protection 360 plan within thirty days of buying a T-Mobile-powered device. Customers with additional questions may contact T-Mobile customer service.
Not all carriers offer such comprehensive and cheap coverage that T-Mobile and AT&T provide. For example, Sprint's insurance plan, Sprint Complete, only gets you heavily discounted repairs or replacements. If your phone screen cracks, you can get same-day repairs for $29. If the issue you're dealing with is simple, Sprint empowers you to fix it yourself through its self-service portal. Also, if someone steals your phone or you lose it, you can report the theft on Sprint's website and get a replacement within twenty-four hours. Otherwise, contact Sprint customer service.
Although timely, Sprint charges between $50 to $300 in deductibles, which is pricey for replacements that come with a limited twelve-month warranty. Meanwhile, business owners need cell phone insurance that covers multiple devices. While AT&T offers protection for up to four devices, Verizon's Total Mobile Protection Multi-Device plan for Businesses can cover up to ten devices. Verizon's Business plan starts at $45/month for accounts with 3 to 10 lines. It allows subscribers to make up to nine shared claims on three lines in one year. Regular users can enjoy Verizon's Total Mobile Protection for $15 per month for tier 1 smartphones and watches and $12 per month for tier 2 devices. Total Mobile Protection covers water-damaged devices, stolen or lost devices, and even defects outside of the warranty's terms. It also allows subscribers to get cracked-screen repairs as long as parts are available. If you need additional help, contact Verizon customer service.
Cell phone protection plans from third-party insurers are also competitive.
For instance, SquareTrade offers a two-year warranty at $216 for any device. This plan covers mechanical and electrical failure and accidental damage, but not device loss or theft. You can make claims, but they charge a $149 deductible on every claim you make. You can get in-home repairs for an additional $25. Also, if you use an iPhone and it breaks, you can take your device to an Apple Store, and SquareTrade will reimburse you for expenses.
Another third-party insurer to consider is Progressive Insurance. Progressive offers cell phone insurance plans from $8 per month, with discounts on annual packages. In addition, its packages cover loss and theft, and buyers can choose the amount of coverage expected.
Worth Ave. Group cell phone insurance is also attractive. This company's cell phone protection packages cover devices from accidental damage from water, fire, natural disasters, and breakage. They also cover theft and device loss. Unlike other third-party cell phone insurance companies, Worth Ave. Group prices its plans based on the value of the device. For instance, insuring a device valued at $800 (such as a Galaxy S21 or an iPhone 12) will cost about $173 for two years. You can buy an insurance plan any time you want, provided you have a receipt for your device.
Very few people know that they can get cell phone insurance coverage from their credit card providers. There are two ways this can happen.
For one, many credit card companies offer phone owners an extension of the manufacturer's warranty if you buy the phone with their card. Some companies that warranty extensions include American Express, Visa, and MasterCard.
Likewise, some card companies provide theft or damage protection within the first three months if you buy your device with their card. Companies that offer these benefits include Wells Fargo, Chase, Ink Business, and Citi.
If you are buying a premium smartphone (from $1000 above), you may not be able to get a protection plan from a regular insurer. In that case, consider adding your cell phone to your homeowner's insurance plan.
How does this work? You have to buy a plan that covers you if:
A downside of using homeowner cell phone insurance is that you will only get coverage if something happens to your device while you're home. If, for instance, someone steals your phone while you're out at the mall, homeowner's insurance does not cover the loss.
Furthermore, when you claim insurance for a lost or damaged phone, the insurance company may increase your premium payments. And in some cases, multiple claims on your device within a short period could cause the insurance company to terminate your homeowner insurance contract.
If you decide to buy insurance after getting your cell phone, you have to look out for criminals trying to pull cell phone insurance scams.
Here’s how it works; you buy your shiny new cell phone, with plans to contact an insurer when you get home. But, just as you get home, someone from the phone shop calls with a mobile insurance deal that’s too good to be true.
Because they claimed to be from the same store you just left, you think they’re legitimate. So you give them your payment details and take “the deal.” Later, when something happens to your phone, you learn that the person wasn’t from the phone shop, and your device isn’t covered. At that point, you’ve lost the money you paid for insurance, and you still have to fix your phone. Of course, you can always initiate a chargeback, but it is better to avoid it in the first place.
To avoid cell phone insurance scams, always confirm a caller’s identity before giving them private information. For example, you could call the store’s official number to verify the offer in the scenario described. You could also use a reverse phone search service to confirm that the number belongs to the phone shop.
Considering the costs that come with buying cell phone insurance, you might be wondering if they're worth buying at all. However, it might be worth spending the extra money to protect it if you own a costly device. Also, compare the cost of a deductible for replacing the phone instead of buying it yourself.
You don't need to consider cell phone insurance if you have been very careful with your devices in the past and never lost it or had the phone stolen. Notwithstanding, your history of maintaining your phone does not guarantee future safety, especially if you use an expensive device now.