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The Best Phone Insurance Options Compared for 2022

by on February 28, 2022
in Phones and Mobile, Cell Phones, Tips & How-Tos, Tech 101, Top Picks :: 0 comments

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Phone insurance isn't cheap, but the investment can save you down the line should your phone get lost, stolen or damaged. Take the iPhone 13. 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.

Insurance options are plentiful but picking the right one can be complicated. Some plans will cover accidental damage, but not loss or theft. And, different types of coverage come at varying price points usually based on the make and model of your phone and costing between $4.25 and $18.00 per month. Generally, the more you pay, the shorter the turnaround for repairs and device replacement and your deductible for repairs will be lower.

Carrier, manufacturer, and retailer plans usually require you to start coverage within 30-60 days of purchasing your phone, but there are some plans that you can add anytime, like those from Worth Ave. Group, SquareTrade, Zagg, and AKKO. However, there may be a 30-day waiting period before you can submit a claim. That's after you've proven that your device is in good working condition.

Another important factor to consider is how long your downtime will be if your phone is damaged, lost or stolen. Some providers will get you back on your feet the same day, while others may take days between processing your claim and getting your phone repaired, especially if you don't have a service center nearby. In general, the top-tier insurance plans by carriers provide the best service, with the option of having a technician go to your home or office for as soon as same-day repairs and device replacement.

If you are buying an iPhone (new or certified pre-owned) and you live near an Apple store, I recommend getting AppleCare+ or AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss. With an Apple store nearby, you can get speedy service and replacements and it’s the best deal.

Otherwise, if you buy a new or certified pre-owned phone, you should consider your carrier’s plans, in specific AT&T Mobile Insurance, T-Mobile Insurance Device Protection, and Verizon Total Equipment Coverage. These three plans offer the best value without sacrificing much in terms of speed or features.

And if you have an older phone that doesn’t qualify for AppleCare+ or your carrier’s plans, I’d recommend going with a plan from Worth Ave. Group. It's relatively inexpensive, the 30-day waiting period only applies to accidental damages, and your insurance will transfer to a new device if you receive a replacement.

Before you get insurance, make sure you're not already covered by your credit card company. 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 90-120 days after purchase. You can also get theft and damage coverage from select cards if you use them to pay for your cell phone service, including cards issued by American Express, Capital One, Chase and Citi.

Consult the chart below to see which type of coverage is right for you. I used the iPhone 13 and Samsung Galaxy S21 5G as examples, but the comparisons hold for other models as well. I also have the carrier plans broken down in a chart further down.

Plans by Provider for an iPhone 13 and Samsung Galaxy S21 5G

  AKKO AppleCare+
/
AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss
Best Buy Geek Squad Basic
/
Best Buy Geek Squad Complete
Carriers Samsung Care+
/
Samsung Care+ with Loss & Theft
SquareTrade Worth Ave. Group Zagg Protect
Loss X X /  X /  X /  X X X
Theft X /  X /  X /  X X
Damage
Mechanical / Electrical Defect
When you can purchase Anytime Within 60 days of purchase Within 60 days of purchase 30-60 days or during open enrollment Within 60 days of purchase Anytime Anytime Anytime
Waiting period 30 days None None None None None 30 days for accidental damage 30 days
Cracked Screen Repair Deductible $29 (iPhone 13)
$49 (Galaxy S21)
$29 $149 $29 for first two replacements $29 $149 $75 $49
Other Repair Deductible $99 $99 $149 $99-$249 N/A
(Samsung will replace for other damage)
$149 $75 $49
Replacement Fee $99 $149 $199 $200 - $250 $99 $149 $75 $49
Battery replacement $99 $0 $149, once every 36 months Free - $249 N/A
(resolved through phone replacement)
$149 $75 $49, once only
In-home repair X Yes, for screen repair only X Yes, for some plans from AT&T and Verizon X Yes
(locations)
X X
Service locations Independent network of repair shops Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers Limited Best Buy locations Carrier stores and UbreakiFix 700+ uBreakiFix Service Centers ndependent network of repair shops Independent network of repair shops Reimbursement for repairs at authorized local repair shops
Warranty for replacement devices None 90 days None 6 - 12 months 90 days None Policy transfers to new device N/A
Device replacement speed You replace with claim payout As soon as same day Up to 7 business days As soon as same day As soon as next day Up to 5 days Average of 3-5 days You replace with claim payout
Maximum claims in a 12-month period Unlimited 2 3 (not incl. battery replacement)
If your device is replaced, coverage ends
2 - 5 3 for accidental damage, unlimited other claims Up to 4 Unlimited 2
Replacement provided for non-repairable devices? Up to the cost of refurbished model on Swappa & Backmarket Up to $500
Cancel at any time? Yes.
Pro-rata refund for annual plan.
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes.
Administrative fee of up to $25
Cost per month $10.00 Galaxy S21
$11.00 iPhone 13
$7.99 / $11.49 $8.99 / $10.99 $7.25 - $18.00 $11.99 / $16.99 $8.99 $9.25 Not available
Cost for 2 years paid up front
$216 for Galaxy S21

$240 for iPhone 13
$149 / $219 $169 / $219 $174-$432 $219 / $407 $216 $173 $199
All pricing and plan data as of 2/28/2022

 AKKO

AKKO is a relatively inexpensive insurance plan that covers accidental damage, theft, and mechanical and electrical failures, but not loss. It's a direct competitor to Worth Ave. Group, which is my top pick for those looking to add insurance to an older phone. AKKO makes you wait for 30 days before offering any coverage, whereas Worth Ave. Group will process claims for theft and mechanical and electrical failures. If your phone needs to be replaced, AKKO won't replace it but sends you the cash value of a refurbished model minus the replacement deductible. That may be a good thing for some people. 

Pricing is based on the make and model of your phone with prices ranging from $6 to $12 per month, which makes it a little more expensive than Worth Ave. Group. Deductibles are determined by the model of your phone, ranging from $29 to $99 for replacement and repairs. You can save a little money if you pay for a year upfront, but the company says, "your pro-rata refund may be calculated and reimbursed differently than the fees paid." As a result, you may not get all of your money back. 

AppleCare+ and AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss 

Teclicious Editor's Choice logo with text: the best insurance for new iPhonesIf you're buying a new or certified pre-owned iPhone and live near an Apple store, Apple's AppleCare+ and AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss are your best choice. 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 models can cost hundreds without insurance. For other repairs you’ll pay a deductible, usually under $100 per repair for most phones.

AppleCare+ costs $79 (iPhone SE gen 2), $149 (iPhone 11, 12,13), or $199 (iPhone 13 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. These are the best deals out there for an iPhone as long as you opt in within 60 days of purchase. 

If you live in an area with an Apple Store or authorized Apple repair service center, you can get repairs as fast as the same day. And for screen repairs, you can pay extra for a technician to come to your home or office. If you're not near an Apple store or in an area with on-site repair service and the damage is not a cracked screen, you can opt for iPhone Express Replacement Service, under which you receive a replacement phone before you send in your original device. Apple will put a temporary authorization on your credit card until they receive your device and assess the damage. Otherwise, you're looking at days to mail in a device and receive it back.

Best Buy Geek Squad Basic Protection and Complete Protection

Best Buy's Geek Squad Basic and Complete Protection (with theft and loss) provide low-cost coverage similarly priced with AppleCare+ and AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss; however, the deductibles are among the highest and they have few service locations, so repairs will be slow for many people. 

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. Best Buy's insurance pricing is based on the cost of your phone. So if you pay $500-$799.98 for your phone, you'll pay $169.99 for a two-year Geek Squad Basic Protection plan or $8.99 per month. A $249 phone will cost $84.99 for two years (there's no monthly option). The basic plan covers malfunctions as well as accidental damage to the phone, but not loss or theft. Only if your phone costs $500 or more can you step up to Geek Squad Complete Protection (which covers loss and theft) for $219.99 for two years or a $10.99 per month plan. If you just look at the price, the plans seem like a bargain, but they're not. Best Buy gets you on two fronts: high deductibles for repairs and a long downtime when your phone needs service. 

For repairs and replacements, there is a flat service fee ranging from $9.99 - $199.99 depending on the full retail value of the phone. For an iPhone 13, for instance, you'll pay $149 for repairs, including a cracked screen, which is a lot more expensive than most other plans. There’s a limit of three claims within a rolling 12 months. If Best Buy replaces your device, your coverage ends. 

If you need a repair, you can get as soon as same-day service for cracked screens if you live near a Best Buy with repair service. But many Best Buy stores don't repair phones and then you're stuck with a turnaround time of up to seven business days. 

Carriers

Techlicious Editor's Choice logo with text: the best insurance for new Android phonesIf you have a new Android phone or a new iPhone and don't live near an Apple store, the carriers offer the best plans. In general, carriers provide the quickest turnaround for repairs and replacing devices. They'll repair your cracked screen, replace your battery, and handle your phone's under-warranty and extended-warranty mechanical and electrical defects. That covers most of the issues you're likely to experience. Otherwise, they may give you another phone – usually a refurbished phone that matches your phone in features. They'll deliver it same day or next day, depending on your plan, which minimizes your downtime. And, the top tier plans have in-home (or office) delivery for replacement devices and service for cracked screens, and, in some cases, battery replacement. If you're looking for the least amount of downtime and the best service, a top tier carrier plan is your best choice. However, you'll pay a lot for your convenience — up to double the price of other plans.

The best value, and the plans I recommend for most people, are the second-tier carrier plans. These plans offer affordable coverage with speedy service, usually next day instead of same day service, thanks to hundreds of authorized repair locations. What you're giving up are things like unlimited battery replacement, post warranty repairs (you'll need to pay the replacement deductible), and you'll be able make fewer claims in a 12-month period. You'll also miss out on a variety of extras, which aren't that valuable for many people. For instance, AT&T provides unlimited photo and video storages, T-Mobile includes unlimited screen protector replacement (after you buy and have one installed by T-Mobile), and Verizon offers identity theft protection. 

Below you'll find a comparison of the plans for each of the major carriers

Samsung Care+ and Samsung Care+ with Loss & Theft

Samsung plans, Samsung Care+ and Samsung Care+ with Loss and Theft, are among the most expensive plans available and they don't provide the in-home service like the top-tier carrier plans, making the plans hard to recommend. 

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 from $7.99 to $17.99 (not available in New York). Repair fees range from $29 - $190, depending on device tier. The device replacement service fee ranges from $149 to $499. 

To repair your device for a cracked screen or under-warranty repairs, you can bring it to one of more than 700 uBreakiFix locations for as fast as 2-hour service. And, cracked screen repair is inexpensive at $29. But most accidental damage results in a device replacement, which has a high deductible. 

SquareTrade

For $8.99 per month for any phone, SquareTrade, which is now owned by Allstate, provides coverage for mechanical and electrical problems, as well as accidental damage – but not loss or theft. While the insurance premium is in line with other plans, they nail you with a $149 deductible for every claim. That puts it in line with Best Buy and at the high end for repair costs, especially screen repair. SquareTrade does offer in-home repair for an extra $25 (where available). Additionally, iPhone owners can bring their device into any Apple store for repair and SquareTrade will reimburse you. But most repairs take up to 5 days, which is a lot of downtime.

You can buy a SquareTrade warranty on all smartphone makes and models, regardless of where or when it was purchased – as long as it is working, in good condition, and you have proof of purchase. And, unlike Worth Ave Group, AKKO and Zagg Protect, the other post 60-day purchase options, there is no waiting period for claims. And, if they replace your device, your plan moves to the replacement model. 

Worth Ave. Group

Techlicious Editor's Choice logo with text: the best insurance for phones you already own.If you have a phone that you've owned for more than 60 days, Worth Ave. Group is your best option for insurance. You're covered for accidental damage such as drops and spills as well as theft, fire, flood, natural disasters, and lightning strikes. Most other plans don't cover natural disasters. However, you aren't covered for loss. All coverage is based on the dollar amount you want to be covered. So for an iPhone 13 or Galaxy S21 (with $800 coverage), you’ll spend $173 for two years with a flat $75 deductible. That makes it more expensive for screen repair than many other plans, but less expensive for other repairs. You do have to wait 30 days for damage coverage to kick in, but not for theft and other repairs, which is better than AKKO and Zagg Protect. SquareTrade will cover everything from day one, but the deductibles are considerably higher.

Zagg Protect

For $99 per year, Zagg Protect provides protection for accidental damage and mechanical and electrical failures for any phone and starts after a 30-day waiting period. The repair and replacement deductibles are a flat $49. However, the maximum claim payout is $500 per incident, so if you own an expensive phone, you won't be covered if you need to replace it. But that $500 will cover most phone repairs, even for expensive cracked screens. You take your phone to any approved repair shop after receiving repair authorization, submit your receipt, and you'll be reimbursed. It's a simple plan, but not enough coverage for many people.

When Zagg Protect first launched, there was language in the terms and conditions that required you to use a screen protector and case in order to make a claim. Zagg has since removed that language from its terms and those people who purchased coverage before the removal of the language are not required to use a screen protector and case.

 Carrier Plans Compared

AT&T

AT&T offers two insurance plans, Mobile Insurance for $8.99 per month and Protect Advantage for $15.00 per month. The main differences are that the screen repair deductible is $29 for Protect Advantage and $49 for Mobile Insurance; plus, only Protect Advantage customers can have the repair technician go to their home or office for on-site repairs for cracked screens and battery replacement. Protect Advantage provides device replacement as soon as same day and the technician can set up the phone at your home or office. Mobile Insurance customers will receive their replacements the next day. Protect Advantage also includes unlimited free battery replacement, unlimited photo and video storage, and three claims in a rolling 12-month period (versus two claims for Mobile Insurance). If the convenience of on-site repairs and same-day service is worth an extra $6 per month, go for Protect Advantage. Otherwise, Mobile insurance is the best plan for most people.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile also offers two plans, T-Mobile’s Protection 360 and Insurance Device Protection. The key differences are that Protection 360 has lower repair deductibles than Insurance Device Protections and Protection 360 provides same-day repairs versus next day or longer for Insurance Device Protection. Protection 360 exclusively includes McAfee Security with ID Theft Protection, JUMP! Upgrades so you can upgrade an installment payment device when it's 50 percent paid, unlimited screen protector replacements once you've purchased a protector and had it installed by T-Mobile, and AppleCare for Apple devices. At $18 per month for an iPhone 13, Protect 360 is the most expensive carrier plan and not worth it for most people. I'd recommend Device Protection.

Verizon

Verizon offers three plans, Mobile Protect, Total Equipment Coverage, and Wireless Phone Protection. Total Equipment Coverage, the mid-tier plan, is a great deal and provides a high level of coverage, including unlimited $29 cracked screen repair, extended warranty, and next-day device replacement. Only if you want same-day in-home service and, for replacement devices, in-home setup, as well as the identify theft protection, does it make sense to pay $6 more per month for Mobile Protect. The entry level plan, Wireless Phone Protection, doesn't offer extended warranty, so isn't as good an option as Total Equipment Coverage for most people.

Carrier Plans for an iPhone 13 (128GB model) and Samsung Galaxy S21 5G

  AT&T Protect Advantage AT&T Mobile Insurance T-Mobile Protection 360 T-Mobile Insurance Device Protection Verizon Mobile Protect Verizon Total Equipment Coverage Verizon Wireless Phone Protection
Loss
Theft
Mechanical / Electrical Defect
When you can purchase Within 30 days or during open enrollment Within 30 days or during open enrollment Within 30 days or during open enrollment Within 30 days or during open enrollment Within 30 days or during open enrollment Within 30 days or during open enrollment Within 30 days or during open enrollment
Waiting period  None None None None None None None
Cracked Screen Repair Deductible $29

$49

$29 $29 for first 2 claims, $99 after $29 $29 $29
Other Repair Deductible
 
$0 for battery replacement
(AT&T will replace for other damage)
N/A
(AT&T will replace for other damage)
$99 plus $5 processing fee $249 plus $5 processing fee $0 service fee if covered under extended warranty.
(If not covered under extended warranty, Verizon will replace)
$0 service fee if covered under extended warranty.
(If not covered under extended warranty, Verizon will replace)
N/A
(Verizon will replace for other damage)
Replacement Fee $200-$250 $200-$250 $249 plus $5 processing fee $249 plus $5 processing fee $249 $249 $249
Battery Replacement $0 N/A $99 $249 $0 $0 $249
In-home Repair
For cracked screens and battery replacement only

For cracked screens only
X X
Service locations 930 AT&T and UBreakiFix stores 930 AT&T and UBreakiFix stores Assurant repair centers, including more than 500
T-Mobile stores
Assurant repair centers, including more than 500
T-Mobile stores
700+ uBreakiFix stores 700+ uBreakiFix stores 700+ uBreakiFix stores
Warranty for replacement devices 1 year 1 year 6 months 6 months 1 year 1 year 1 year
Device replacement speed As soon as same day, delivered to your home As soon as next day Shipped next business day after claim is accepted Shipped next business day after claim is accepted As soon as same day, delivered to your home and setup by Expert Next-day delivery, shipped Next-day delivery, shipped
Maximum claims in a 12-month period • Unlimited battery replacements
• 3 other claims
2 • Unlimited battery replacements
• 5 other claims
2 • Unlimited battery replacements
• Unlimited cracked screen repair
• Unlimited repairs and replacements for post-warranty malfunctions
• 3 other claims
• Unlimited cracked screen repair
• Unlimited repairs and replacements for post-warranty malfunctions
• 3 other claims
• Unlimited cracked screen repair
• 3 other claims
Replacement provided for non-repairable devices?
Cancel at any time?
Extra features
• Unlimited photo / video storage
• Unlimited Premium Support via call or chat
• Expert checkups to improve speed, signal and battery performance
  • Unlimited screen protector replacement in T-Mobile stores after initial purchase
• McAfee Security for T-Mobile with ID Theft Protection
  • Identity theft monitoring and access to 24/7 Security Advisor experts
• Robo call blocking
• 24/7 smart tech support
Robo call blocking
   
Cost per month
$15.00 per month $8.99 per month $18.00 per month $12.00 per month $17 per month $11.40 per month $7.25 per month
All pricing and plan data as of 2/28/2022

[Image credit: Cracked phone screen via BigStockPhoto]

For the past 20+ years, Techlicious founder Suzanne Kantra has been exploring and writing about the world’s most exciting and important science and technology issues. Prior to Techlicious, Suzanne was the Technology Editor for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and the Senior Technology Editor for Popular Science. Suzanne has been featured on CNN, CBS, and NBC.



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