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Choosing the Best Phone Insurance

posted by Christina DesMarais on August 27, 2012 in Phones and Mobile, Cell Phones, Guides & Reviews, Money Savers, Tech 101 :: 7 comments

Phone insurance or an extended protection plan is not cheap, but the investment can save you big costs later. In the nine months one of my sons has been skateboarding around town with his HTC Thunderbolt, he’s already lost it once and managed to file two insurance claims for a malfunctioning touchscreen.

You may not be as rough on your phone as a teenage boy, but even a small drop can leave you with a cracked display. And if you haven't forgotten your phone in a taxi or restaurant, I bet you know someone who has.

Fortunately, protection plan options are plentiful, but picking the right one can be complicated. Extended warranty plans, protection plans and insurance plans all offer different types of coverage at varying price points.

So which is the right plan for you?

Retailers

You can get phone insurance from big box retailers. Best Buy, for example, will insure my Samsung Galaxy Nexus for two years for the lump sum of $169.98 or for $9.99 a month. That covers malfunctions as well as accidental damage to the phone, but not loss or theft. There’s no deductible if you make a claim and you have to buy the Geek Squad protection within 30 days of buying your phone.
 

SquareTrade

For two years of coverage for mechanical and electrical failures as well as accidental damage—but not loss or theft—SquareTrade offers a warranty for my phone for $125. While that sounds like a better deal compared with Best Buy, they’ll also nail you with a $99 deductible for every Android, Windows Phone or BlackBerry claim. The deductible for an iPhone is $50.

You can buy a SquareTrade warranty on a retail item within 90 days of buying it. For one you bought on eBay, the window shortens to 30 days following the end of the auction.
 

Worth Ave. Group

An insurance policy from Worth Ave. Group covers a cell phone for accidental damage such as drops and spills as well as theft, fire, flood, natural disasters and lightning strikes. For my phone, which would cost me $649 if I had to buy another one today, coverage runs $112.10 for two years with a $50 deductible. Loss and malfunction are not covered, but you can buy insurance from Worth Ave. Group anytime, even on older devices.
 

Carriers

Verizon tacks $7 on my bill every month for insurance for my son’s phone. If he had an iPhone or higher tier Android phone it would be $10 a month. One nice feature that comes along with that insurance through Verizon is you can use Asurion’s Mobile Recovery app to locate a lost or stolen phone. That said, you can get the same feature with AVG Mobilation’s Antivirus Free app, so it’s not like you need to buy phone insurance to find a missing handset. Other carriers offer comparable plans.
 

Major Credit Cards

Don’t forget that the extended warranty that comes with a major credit card usually extends the manufacturer’s warranty for up to a year longer, although it varies depending on the card. Check out Credit.com’s tutorial on the subject. Many also cover loss from theft or damage within the first 90 days after purchase.

Pricing for an HTC Thunderbolt

  Best Buy Verizon Worth Ave. Group SquareTrade Major Credit Cards
Loss       (first 90 days)
Theft     (first 90 days)
Damage  
Mechanical / Electrical Defect  
When you can purchase Within 30 days of purchase Within 30 days of purchase Anytime Within 90 days of purchase Automatic at time of purchase
Deductible $0.00 $99.00 $50.00 $99.00 $0.00
Cost for 2 years
$169.98  $167.76 $112.10 $124.99 $0.00

 

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Discussion loading

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AT&T has one, you couldn't

From Randolph32 on August 27, 2012 :: 1:20 pm

AT&T has one, you couldn’t be bothered to add there’s to your list?  Thanks

Reply

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Yes, each of the carriers

From Josh Kirschner on August 27, 2012 :: 10:08 pm

Yes, each of the carriers has plans, as we stated in the article. However, since AT&T doesn’t carry the HTC Thunderbolt, it wasn’t included in the chart. Generally speaking, AT&T’s plan covers the same types of losses as Verizon’s and is $6.99 per device, with a varying deductible depending on your device, ranging from $50 to $199. To see a full list of devices by deductible: att.com/mobileinsurance.

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Homeowners policy

From Buster Brown on August 27, 2012 :: 2:28 pm

Check your homeowners policy or renters insurance options.  When my daughter went to college, for $20/year I have her phone, laptop and ipod covered against loss & theft that includes mysterious loss so we don’t necessarily have to file a police report to get the coverage.

Reply

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AT&T offers several types of phone protection options

From Anna D on August 27, 2012 :: 3:15 pm

Wish you would have included AT&T to list of options. They have several options available to the consumer.

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Insurance

From Philip Crawford on August 29, 2012 :: 3:47 am

Verizon charges me $25 or $35 for my Apple iPhone and the insurance is worth every penny I been with them for 15 years on cell phones lost couple got them back free. Might be different model of phone but same price an sometime the phone that is replaced is better

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Protect Your Valuables

From Gordon Burns on September 01, 2012 :: 2:21 pm

Here’s a good idea for protecting your valuables and keeping track of your iPhone, your iPad, your laptop and even your camera, keys, luggage and passport. Two years ago, I found MYSTUFFLOSTAND FOUND and obtained tracker tags for a free global lost and found service. I put them on all of my valuables.
It paid off in Rome. I left my passport at a restaurant at lunch. That afternoon, I received a text message from Okoban saying that my passport had been found. I did not even know it was missing. 
I called the number in the text message and sure enough the café where we had stopped had the passport waiting for me. I was so grateful that I had an Okoban tag from MYSTUFFLOSTANDFOUND on my passport and that the café was kind enough to take the time to report the found passport tracker number online.
I can’t imagine what would have happened if I didn’t have the Okoban tracker tag. The passport could have been mailed back to the US Department of State or to my home, and then where would I be? Traveling through Europe with no passport or going through the hassle of getting a new one.

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Ensquared Cell Phone Insurance

From Josh Linton on April 24, 2013 :: 7:59 am

hi there, the table above fails to highlight Ensquared Cell Phone Insurance which seems to win on all accounts:

1)$99.99 for 2 years = $4.16 per month
2) $75 claim deductible
3) 3 x $1000 claims allowed in 2 years
4) up to 90 days to insure all makes of cell phones including unlocked

for more, go see ensquared.com

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