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Cell Phone Insurance

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The average cost of a new cell phone is nearly $400. If you have the latest handheld tech from the top names in the business, the price tag can approach $2,000. For a monthly charge, cell phone insurance can help protect your investment, but when is it worthwhile and which cell phone insurance is best?

Best Cell Phone Insurance:

  • Best Overall: SquareTrade
  • Best for iPhones: AppleCare+
  • Best for Androids: Samsung Premium Care
  • Best for Tablets: AT&T Device Protection

What Cell Phone Insurance Usually Covers

The manufacturer’s warranty provides protection against defects in workmanship or materials but doesn’t provide protection for the most common risks for phones and is time-limited.

Cell phone insurance is designed to cover accidental damage or loss due to theft, making it similar to comprehensive coverage on a car insurance policy. Details vary by plan, but generally, a cell phone insurance plan covers drops, spills or water damage, lost phones and theft.

Some protection plans, like Samsung’s Premium Care, also provide coverage for mechanical or electronic problems, acting as an extended warranty.

If you have a covered claim, your insurer or protection plan will provide a replacement phone to replace a damaged phone or lost handset. The replacement phone may or may not be new, and may not even be the exact model of the damaged phone in some cases, but you can expect a comparable replacement.

In damage claims, you’ll be required to send the damaged phone back to the insurer.

How Much Does Cell Phone Insurance Cost?

Much like other types of insurance, cell phone insurance often has a deductible. The deductible is the part of the claim that you pay — and it can be sizeable, so it pays to read the fine print carefully before choosing insurance for your phone.

Cell phone leasing is big — and even if you buy your phone outright, advances in features may tempt you to replace your phone every year or 2. Whether leasing or caught in a rapid replacement cycle, you might perpetually damage or losing a phone that you’re still paying for.

You can expect to pay an additional $7 to $10 per month for cheaper coverage options. Over the course of a year, you might pay over $100 for cell phone insurance even with the cheapest coverage. During the length of a two-year contract, insurance costs can be about $200 — or more.

When Cell Phone Insurance is Worth it

There are instances where it can be a worthwhile investment. The latest phones can exceed $1,000 and make them attractive for thieves and expensive to replace if they are lost, stolen or damaged. Expect to pay a deductible with many plans.

If your phone was expensive brand new. This means you won’t get a replacement phone at no charge, but for a premium phone, cell phone insurance can still be a good value. If your phone is lost or stolen, you might pay $200+ for a replacement, but even combined with the monthly premiums, that’s still much less than the cost of buying a new phone.

If you have a tendency to lose or break your phone. Let’s face it – some people are more prone to losing or breaking their phones. This can be due to an active lifestyle, not using a cellphone case or being forgetful. Whatever the case may be, if you’re damaging or losing your phone more than once per year, cell phone insurance may be worth it.

If there isn’t any room in the budget for a $1,000 surprise. If you’re without a comfortable amount of liquid savings and are dependent on their phones may want to consider getting insurance, especially since a $300+ expense out of nowhere may devastate you.

When it’s Not Worth it

If you expect your phone to severely depreciate in value. You can expect to lose up to 60% of the phone’s value in less than a year for some models. If the cell phone that you paid $700 for when it was new is worth less than $300 after a year, it may not make sense to pay $100+ per year for coverage. You can bank the money you would pay for insurance and if you have a mishap, you can purchase the same model used or refurbished instead.

If your phone wasn’t expensive brand new. For lower cost phones, like many Android phones that cost less than $200 new, it’s not worth the $100 per year insurance purchase. For the protection to have any value, the loss would probably have to occur shortly after purchase.

The Best Cell Phone Insurance Companies

In some cases, you may have to purchase your coverage at the time of purchase. In other cases, you might be able to purchase coverage within 60 days of purchase. Some plans are even more liberal. It’s best to know your options before you buy a cell phone so you can choose the plan that’s best for you.

Features of the Best Policies

Affordability is key because you’re insuring a rapidly depreciating asset. Look for an affordable monthly cost and a deductible that makes sense for the value you’re insuring.

  • Affordable premiums: Some cell phone insurance plans can cost nearly $15 or even more. That’s per month for a single phone. Take the time to calculate the cost over the course of a two-year contract before making a commitment.
  • Reasonable deductible: For lost or stolen phones, some plans charge a deductible of nearly $300. Consider the deductible and cost of insurance when comparing plans.
  • Types of risks covered: Most plans have broad coverage, but a separate deductible may apply depending on the type of damage.
  • Convenient claim coverage: Research the details on how you can make a claim. Some plans require that you return to an authorized dealer and may even require payment at the time your claim is made. Ideally, you’ll be able to make a claim online.

1. SquareTrade

Now part of Allstate, SquareTrade offers an affordable solution to cell phone protection. For just $8.99 per month, you can cover any phone from any carrier — and you don’t need to purchase coverage when your phone is new.

As with many plans, a deductible applies for covered claims, ranging from $25 up to $149, depending on the type of damage.

It’s important to note that SquareTrade does not cover loss or theft. Coverage is limited to accidental damage but does include water damage.

If you usually keep your phone safe from sticky fingers but have butter fingers yourself, SquareTrade can be a great solution.

2. AppleCare+

You can purchase coverage for an iPhone in a number of ways, but many iPhone owners take comfort in purchasing their coverage directly from AppleCare.

Two plans are available, AppleCare+ and AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss.

The base plan covers phone damage only.

Screen damage, a common risk, has an affordable $29 deductible. Expect higher deductibles for other types of damage or loss or theft.

However, coverage starts as low as $5.99 per month.

You may have the option to add coverage up to 60 days after your phone purchase. AppleCare+ comes with software support as well, which makes it a one-stop support shop for all things Apple.

3. Samsung Premium Care

Along with Apple, Samsung tends to top the charts when it comes to top-of-the-line handsets.

Flagship phones are priced at over $1,000 and some approach $2,000, which makes protection a priority. Asurion is the coverage provider behind Samsung-branded coverage and has been a time-tested provider for top-name retailers with a vast support network.

Samsung Premium Care parallels AppleCare+ basic coverage with its focus on phone support and phone damage as opposed to lost or stolen handsets, the latter of which is not covered by the plan.

Instead, the plan functions as an extended warranty that lasts as long as you keep the plan active, up to three years from purchase, and also provides coverage for accidental damage, including drops, spills and cracks. Mechanical breakdown coverage is unlimited. Accidental damage claims are capped at three per year.

Prices range from $11.99 to $19.99 per device per month.

4. AT&T Device Protection

AT&T’s Device Protection plans offer basic coverage or a step-level plan that extends additional benefits, like tech help, cloud storage and ID protection.

The basic plan is offered at $8.99 per month (per device).

The plan can cover phones or tablets against loss, theft, damage and out-of-warranty malfunctions.

Screen repair is offered at a reduced price of $49 for eligible devices.

While deductibles may apply based on device and claim type, AT&T reduces deductibles by up to 50% of you are claims-free for six consecutive months or longer.

Deductibles are assigned by the tier level for your device and can range from $25 up to $299.

Check to see how much your deductible is before choosing coverage.

Choosing the Best Cell Phone Insurance

In some cases, coverage sold by major brands and carriers is rebranded coverage provided by Asurion or Assurant, but you’ll often find customized solutions for each. If you need full coverage, including protection against loss or theft, choose carefully because many plans don’t provide this coverage. Also, pay close attention to deductible amounts. Most cell phones depreciate rapidly and the deductible can rival the cost of purchasing a pre-owned replacement.

Cell phone insurance is best suited for high-end phones that can take a long time to pay off, are leased or that may still hold considerable value after a year of service.

Want to learn more about saving money on products? Check out Benzinga’s guides to the best cheap cell phone plans, the best cheap renters insurance and the best cheap car insurance.

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