Smartphones are getting more and more advanced every day. In fact, the computing power within each device has increased to the point that many people around the world, especially in developed countries, rely on their phones for a good portion of their day-to-day tasks. With this development has come an increased price, and for that reason, many people wonder if phone insurance is worth it.
To decide if phone insurance is worth it, take a look at your monthly budget and savings and try to answer whether you could afford to replace your phone if it broke right now. If the answer is “yes”, you may not need phone insurance, but if it’s “no”, then insurance may be an important financial tool to add to your arsenal.
If you have a higher-end smartphone, you might be more interested in ensuring it. This article will present a list of some smartphone insurance options, although by no means an exhaustive one. The next step to see if smartphone insurance is right for you is to research these options for yourself and see if the potential cost is enough to pay to remove this risk from your life.
Consider Whether You Want Phone Insurance
For some of modern life’s major purchases, namely cars and property, insurance is a legal requirement. Because the risks of not having a cache of money available to pay for accidents can be detrimental to multiple parties, most governments require this safeguard. You can even insure your own existence with life insurance.
Here, insurance serves as a safeguard for, again, not only you but the members of your family who would be greatly disrupted economically by your absence and lost income. Because of how life insurance is structured, it can also serve as a kind of long-term investment, a benefit unique to this type of insurance. Applying this idea of insurance to phones is a new development.
For many smartphone owners – whether they own the iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy S20 (on Amazon) – having the very latest, newest smartphone available is not a high priority, not least because of the price tag attached to such devices, but also because the older and less sparkly versions work reliably well (more on smartphone configurations in our guide).
Another benefit to choosing an older or a refurbished phone (our buying guide) is that, at the inevitable time of needing a replacement, it’s often a mere $200-$300 away. But if you do have an expensive, flagship smartphone, you should at least pause to consider insuring it.
The Most Important Question to Ask About Phone Insurance
For the smartphone owner, the decision of whether or not to insure your smartphone boils down to a simple question: is the cost and annoyance factor of replacing your smartphone worth the extra expense? If your smartphone is really, really nice, it might be worth it. Also, if you frequently lose or break your expensive phone, it might be a good idea.
One step to consider before taking out an additional monthly expense for smartphone insurance might be to consider how necessary it is to have the latest smartphone available (more on updates in our article). Another strategy of compromise and limiting your losses might be to keep a quantity of money set aside for smartphone replacement. In this case, you act as your own personal insurance company in a way, but you have to be able to have the willpower and free income available to store this money off to the side and not touch it.
If after these considerations you’ve determined that smartphone insurance is right for you, you’re left with the nitty-gritty question: how much does smartphone insurance cost? As we’ll see, there are a number of sources for reliable smartphone insurance coverage, and each have their variations in price, quality of coverage, and availability.
How Much Does Phone Insurance Cost?
A few definitions before we get into this. “Deductible” defines the amount of money you pay out of your own pocket before the insurer begins paying. “Tier” as we’ve used it here indicates a level of insurance. Tier 1 is usually the cheapest, most basic coverage level, and each uptick in tier number indicates another level of coverage. Think “basic” vs. “comprehensive.”
Out of all the insurers we looked at, many of them do not provide replacement coverage for loss or theft of the smartphone. It’s argued that loss and theft of a phone happens considerably more rarely than breakage, and it’s also difficult for the insurer to verify. However, many insurers will also offer loss and theft coverage, usually called “plus” or “complete care,” for an additional fee.
For some of the insurers, we’ll use an iPhone 11 as an example device. These insurers usually grade their repair and replacement prices with the type or cost of the phone. While you’ll need to research a bit to find the costs for your smartphone (unless it’s an iPhone 11!), having a specific phone brand and model serves as a useful gauge.
|Carrier Name||Screen Replacement||Total Replacement||Cost||Unique Feature|
|Verizon Total Mobile Protection||$29 deductible||same day, with qualifications||$17/mo. for one phone, $50/mo. for three to 10 phones||Good policy for multiple devices|
|Squaretrade||$149 deductible||$149 deductible||$8.99/mo. for single phone, $19.99/mo. for up to four phones||Some repairs can be done in-home. Does not cover loss or theft.|
|AT&T||Tier 1: $49 deductible Tier 2: $29 deductible Tier 3: $29 deductible||Tier 1: next day Tier 2: same day Tier 3: same day||$8.99 or $15/mo. per single phone, $40/mo. for up to four phones||Lots of additional coverages at higher tiers|
|Samsung Premium Care||$29 deductible||$99 service fee||Tier 1: $3.99/mo. Tier 2: $8.99/mo. Tier 3: $11.99/mo.||Tier depends on device. Only for Samsung devices. Does not cover loss or theft.|
|AppleCare||$29 deductible||$99 deductible, $149 for loss or theft||$9.99/mo. or $14.99/mo. depending on device||Only for Apple specific devices|
|Sprint||$29||$275 for an iPhone 11 replacement. Price varies with the phone||Between $9/mo. and $19/mo. Five tiers!||Coverage is specific to phone type, complicated but clear limitations|
|Geeksquad at Best Buy||For an iPhone 11, this is covered under Complete Coverage.||For an iPhone 11, there’s a $149 service fee, or $199 for loss or theft||For an iPhone 11, $10.99/mo. or $219.99/yr.||Fees relate to the value of the phone. Complete coverage covers loss and theft.|
|Staymobile Protect Plan||unknown||unknown||unknown||multiple tiers, geared towards larger scale institutions|
Does the Life of the Phone Matter?
One method of guiding your decision making, regarding whether or not to buy smartphone insurance, is to simply sum up the total cost of your smartphone, the length of time you’re likely to keep it, and any other additional paraphernalia or maintenance costs. Then subtract the cost of insuring it over the same period of time, and see if the number is positive or negative.
It might be keen to factor in how accident prone you are, or how often you’ve lost your smartphone. You might also consider the modest technical challenge of migrating your information from one device to another, and how best not to lose all of your contact information when you do get to change phones. Many insurers offer help with this.
Factors weighing against getting insurance might include, in addition to the extra cost, the actual process of making a claim with your insurer. As we’ve discussed in our article on why glass protectors are important, how quickly and painlessly an insurer is able to repair or replace your phone depends greatly on how the device was damaged, and the quality of the insurer and your policy.
Remember to Consider the Actual Insurance Process
Ultimately, it’s about buying peace of mind. Insurance can be a significant expense, and not all insurance carriers are created equally. If your phone is new and essential to you, and your record of keeping your device safe and not lost is bad, the added cost might make sense. Otherwise, you might just want to set the extra money aside and wait for replacement time.