Phone insurance and extended protection plans aren't cheap, but the investment can save you down the line should your phone get lost, stolen or damaged. Take the iPhone 12. While you may be able to get it for $0 down, a replacement will cost you $799 out of pocket and even a small drop can leave you with a cracked display that can cost hundreds to fix.
Fortunately, protection plan options are plentiful, but picking the right one can be complicated. Extended warranty plans only cover repairs when there's a mechanical failure. Other plans will cover accidental damage as well, but not loss or theft. And, different types of coverage come at varying price points.
So, which is the right plan for you? If you (or your child) is forgetful or accident prone, a full coverage plan may be best. Or, you may have enough coverage from your credit card company or home owner's
Pricing by Provider for an iPhone 12 and Samsung Galaxy S21 5G
|Best Buy||Carriers||Worth Ave. Group||SquareTrade||Major Credit Cards||Homeowners Insurance||
AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss
Samsung Care+ with Theft and Loss
|Loss||✔||✔ (except AT&T)||✔||Varies||✔||✔|
|Theft||✔||✔ (except AT&T)||✔||✔ (may expire after 90 days)||Varies||✔||✔|
|Damage||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔ (may expire after 90 days)||Varies||✔||✔|
|Mechanical / Electrical Defect||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||N/A||✔||✔|
|When you can purchase||Within 60 days of purchase||Varies||Anytime||Anytime||Automatic at time of purchase||Anytime||Within 60 days of purchase||Within 365 days of purchase|
|Deductible||$249 for loss or theft, $199 if device is replaced||$140 - $250||$75||$149||$0 - $100||Varies||$29 for screen repairs, $99 for other repairs, $149 to replace lost device||$29 for all repairs, $99 to replace device due to repairs, $269 to replace lost device|
|Maximum claims in a 12-month period||3||2 or 3||unlimited||4||2 or 3||Varies||2||3|
Cost for 2 years
||$169.99 for 2 years or ($8/month for 24 months) for regular coverage, $269 for loss/theft||$168-$312||$173||$216||$0, but for ongoing coverage (when available) you need to pay your monthly cellphone bill with your credit card||Varies, but starts around $40||$149 / $219||$288 / $408|
|All pricing and plan data as of 3/1/2021|
Many large electronics retailers offer phone insurance. Best Buy, for example, will insure a Samsung Galaxy S21 for two years for $8.99 a month under its Geek Squad Basic Protection plan. That covers malfunctions as well as accidental damage to the phone, but not loss or theft. For loss and theft you can step up to their $10.99 plan, Geek Squad Complete Protection.
Normally, there is no deductible for claims that are not covered under the manufacturer’s warranty – unless the device needs to be replaced. For replacement, there is a service fee ranging from $0 - $199 depending on the full retail value of the phone. There’s a limit of three claims within a rolling 12 months. You have to buy the Geek Squad Protection (Basic or Complete) with the product online or within 60 days of buying your phone in-store.
Apple and Samsung both offer insurance plans for their phones – AppleCare+ and Samsung Care+. Both provide basic insurance that covers accidental damage, including screen repairs for just $29. That’s a bargain considering that repairing screens on the latest iPhones and Galaxy models can cost hundreds without insurance. For other repairs you’ll pay a deductible, usually under $100 per repair.
Samsung Care+ costs $3.99 to $12.99 per month, depending on the device. Stepping up to Samsung Care+ with Theft and Loss bumps monthly payments to $7.99 to $17.99 (not available in New York). The device replacement service fee ranges from $149 to $499.
AppleCare+ costs $79 (iPhone SE), $149 (iPhone XR, 11, 12 and 12 mini), or $199 (iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max) for a two-year period. For an additional $70, you can upgrade to AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss and the iPhone replacement fee is $149.
Both Apple and Samsung cover three claims per rolling 12-month period. iPhone owners need to enroll within 60 days of purchase. Samsung phone owners have a full year to enroll.
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 any phone for $216 for two years. Plus, they nail you with a $149 deductible for every smartphone claim. SquareTrade does offer in-home repair for an extra $25 (where available). And, iPhone owners can bring their device into any Apple store for repair and SquareTrade will reimburse you.
You can buy a SquareTrade warranty on all smartphone makes and models no matter where or when they were purchased—as long as they are working, in good condition, and you have proof of purchase.
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. All coverage is based on the dollar amount you want to be covered. So for an iPhone 12 or Galaxy S21 (with $800 coverage), you’ll spend $173 for two years with a $75 deductible. And, like SquareTrade, you can purchase your insurance at any point as long as you have proof of purchase. Worth Ave. Group is unique in offering unlimited claims.
AT&T’s Mobile Insurance offers coverage for accidental damage and out-of-warranty malfunction of your phone for $8.99 per month. You'll need to purchase protection within 30 days of phone activation to enroll (AT&T has open enrollment now through 3/31/2021). When making a claim, you'll need to pay a $25-$299 deductible. See the full list of deductibles). Screen repair deductible is $49. You can make two claims in a rolling 12-month period with a maximum of $2,500 per claim.
For $9-$19 per month, Sprint Complete offers full coverage: loss, theft, accidental damage and mechanical or electrical breakdown. You'll need to purchase protection within 30 days of phone activation to enroll (check for open enrollment dates if your 30-day window has passed). You'll need to pay a $25-$140 deductible for repairs (see the full list of fees and deductibles) for each claim. Screen repairs are a flat $29. Device replacement fees range from $50 - $275. You can make three claims per year with a maximum claim of $2,000 per claim.
T-Mobile’s Protection <360> offers you full coverage–loss, theft, accidental damage and mechanical or electrical breakdown–for $7-$18 a month. A non-refundable deductible for repairs of $20 to $199, depending on your device, is applied to each claim. Screen repairs are a flat $29 for iPhones (first two repairs) and $99 for most other devices. Device replacement fees range from $10 - $499. You can make three claims each year with a limit of $1,500 for each claim. You'll need to purchase protection within 30 days of purchase or upgrade from T-Mobile or an authorized T-Mobile channel (check for open enrollment dates if your 30-day window has passed).
Verizon bills $14-$17 for loss, theft, accidental damage and electrical or mechanical failure after the manufacturer's warranty expires. There's a deductible of $99-$199, depending on which model phone you have. You can make three claims per year for a total of $1,500. Typically, you'll need to purchase protection within 30 days of when you upgraded or activated your device (check for open enrollment dates if your 30-day window has passed).
Pricing by Carrier for an iPhone 12 and Samsung Galaxy S21 5G
|AT&T Mobile Insurance||T-Mobile Device Protection||Sprint Complete||Verizon Protect|
$49 for screen repair,
$250 for other repairs
|$29 for first two iPhone screen repairs, all other repairs $99, $249 device replacement||$29 for screen repair, $140 for other repairs, $275 device replacement||$29 for screen repair, $199 for repairs, $249 device replacement|
Cost for 2 years
||$216||$432 (full coverage)||$288 (full coverage)||$408 (full coverage)|
Claims & coverage
||2 claims per 12-month period, claim maximum of $2,500||3 claims per 12-month period, claim maximum of $1,500||3 claims per 12-month period, claim maximum of $2,000||3 claims per 12-month period, claim maximum of $3,000|
|All pricing and plan data as of 3/1/2021|
Major Credit Cards
There are two ways that credit cards can provide coverage for your phone. First, many major credit cards extend the manufacturer’s warranty by a year or longer, though it varies depending on the card. Many also cover loss from theft or damage within the first 90 days after purchase.
You can also get theft and damage coverage from select cards if you use them pay for your cell phone service, including cards issued by Wells Fargo, Chase Ink Business and Citi. So, check your card benefits.
For larger purchases, such as premium smartphones, some insurance companies will let you attach a rider to your homeowners or renters insurance, which will specifically cover that purchase. Smartphones are usually covered in general by homeowners and renters insurance under the same conditions of your general insurance policy. You'll want to check with your provider to find out your options.
You'll also want to find out how filing claims for your smartphone, if you don't have a rider, may impact the fees you pay for your overall homeowners or renters insurance and whether repeat claims could lead to your insurance company dropping your coverage.
Updated on 3/1/2021
[Smartphone with broken display via Shutterstock]