Best Cellphone Insurance
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Unexpected cellphone repairs or replacements can leave you on the hook for several hundred dollars, but the right cellphone insurance policy can help make it more affordable. When you purchase a policy from one of the best cellphone insurance providers, you’ll pay a monthly or annual premium, typically between 5 and 20 a month, depending on the device and coverage. If the device is damaged, lost, or stolen, you can repair or replace it for a fraction of the market value by paying a deductible.
Many insurance policies offer similar coverage, but it’s important to thoroughly review each provider and policy before making a decision. The best policies are cost-effective, with low deductibles, making it easy to file a claim. Additional factors like bundling discounts, multi-device options, and customer reviews can also be useful when selecting a provider. Read on to determine which provider best fits your needs.
Best Cellphone Insurance Providers of 2023
Best for Families : SquareTrade
- Deductible: 149
- Average monthly premium: 8.99 to 19.99 per month
- Available policies: Single plan, family plan
SquareTrade’s affordable rates, multi-device policies, and higher annual claim allowances make this provider the best option for families.
- Coverage for all phones regardless of make, model, or age
- Four to eight claims allowed per year
- Competitive rates for family plan
SquareTrade is backed by Allstate and is marketed as one of the most affordable cellphone insurance plans available. It offers low-cost, multi-device plans with more claim allowances than many other insurance providers. Combined, these factors make SquareTrade our choice for cellphone insurance that can cover the whole family.
SquareTrade insurance covers all cellphone makes and models regardless of carrier or age. Plans cover cracked screens, touchscreen failures, liquid damage, speak/audio failure, battery failure, and charging port failure.
Coverage includes on-premise (e.g., in the home, office, a coffee shop, etc.), same-day repairs, and repairs made at a local repair shop. Or, if preferred, the client can also mail in the phone for repairs, a process that typically takes two to five days.
While many cellphone insurance providers limit annual claims to two per plan, SquareTrade allows for up to four claims per year per individual device plan. Family plans allow for up to eight claims per year, which can be particularly helpful for families with multiple devices, both cellular and otherwise.
SquareTrade premiums start at 8.99 a month for a single device, but customers can insure multiple devices for just 19.99 a month. Deductibles are a flat 149.
SquareTrade also offers an upgrade (12.99 per month) that adds additional benefits like premium tech support, Allstate Roadside Assistance, and identity theft recovery.
Best for iPhones : AppleCare
- Deductible: 29 to 149
- Average monthly premium: 3.99 to 13.49 per month
- Available policies: AppleCare, AppleCare with Theft and Loss
AppleCare provides affordable coverage that is specific to iPhone and other Apple devices, making it the best option for iPhone users.
- Certified Apple parts and technicians
- Theft and loss policy options
- Low premiums
- Only covers Apple devices
- Additional application steps if starting a policy 60 or more days after initial iPhone purchase
A new iPhone can easily cost close to 1,000, which can make insurance a Smart investment. While most cellphone insurance providers will happily cover iPhones, customers looking for the best insurance may want to go straight to the source. AppleCare makes it easy to protect a phone and get ongoing support from experts who understand the hardware, operating system, and applications that make Apple products unique. That’s why we’ve selected AppleCare as the best option for iPhone users.
AppleCare offers two different policies: AppleCare and AppleCare with Theft and Loss. Both cover unlimited incidents of accidental damage protection annually and offer coverage if a battery retains 80% or less of its original charging capacity. AppleCare with Theft and Loss covers two incidents of theft or loss every 12 months.
An AppleCare account also gives 24/7 priority access to Apple experts via phone or chat, onsite services (e.g., screen repairs), express replacement services, and mail-in repair options with prepaid shipping. AppleCare customers can also take their device to any Apple Store or Apple Authorized service provider for in-person repairs and troubleshooting.
For customers considering AppleCare, it’s best to add the policy within 60 days of purchasing the iPhone. If that window has closed, a visit to an Apple Store may be required to add a policy.
vary based on the iPhone model the customer wishes to insure. AppleCare insurance ranges 3.99 to 9.99 per month, or 79 to 199 for a fixed term of two years. AppleCare with Theft and Loss will run about 7.49 to 13.49 per month or 149 to 269 for a fixed term of two years.
Deductibles vary based on the incident type. The deductible for screen repairs is 29, while other types of damage typically result in a 99 deductible. If the phone is lost or stolen, expect a 149 deductible.
Don’t Waste Money on Extended Warranties for Your PCs and Electronics
Here’s how to protect your purchases without forking over extra cash.
I’ve been writing about computers, the internet, and technology professionally for 30 years, more than half of that time with PCMag. I run several special projects including the Readers’ Choice and Business Choice surveys, and yearly coverage of the Fastest ISPs and Best Gaming ISPs. I work from my home, and did it long before pandemics made it cool.
When you purchase a big-ticket item—say, a phone, laptop, or TV—some kind of warranty is expected. It’s typically called an express warranty, (Opens in a new window) because it’s supposed to be clearly expressed. Sometimes it’s called a guarantee, because it’s supposed to guarantee that your device works. It doesn’t even have to be written down: A TV huckster saying, It’ll last 20 years! is a legal guarantee.
Whatever they’re called, warranties are usually limited in time and scope. Thus, you’ll frequently experience an item’s reseller (sometimes even the manufacturer) trying to (up)sell you on extra coverage. That coverage is called an extended warranty, or sometimes protection plan, service plan, or service contract. The latter terms are more accurate, as no one can really extend a warranty except the original manufacturer.
Getting a protection plan means you pay more upfront, depending on the item and the coverage. In theory, you do so to make sure you have even more time with the product, should it break in that pre-set amount of time—a few months, a year, or a few years.
Most protection plans won’t break the bank. For example, for an LG C2 55-Inch Evo OLED TV purchased via Amazon for 1,296, a three-year protection plan from Asurion is 129.99.
Best Buy sells the same TV (Opens in a new window) with a 2-year Geek Squad protection plan for 174.99, so clearly, it pays to shop around even for extended warranties.
There’s a whole ecosystem of third-party firms that provide extended warranties, especially for consumer electronics and appliances. Companies include the aforementioned Asurion, Assurant, and AllState Protection Plans (serviced by SquareTrade). You may have coverage with one of them and not know it, as they’re used by many retailers. Amazon works with several of them.
These companies aren’t offering extended warranties out of altruism. They’re doing it because service plans make crazy amounts of money. The market (Opens in a new window) for such plans (including for automobiles) was worth 122.89 billion in 2021 and is projected to hit 274.94 billion by 2031, according to Allied Market Research. Automobiles make the most money for warranty providers, but mobile devices and PCs are a close second.
Is an Extended Warranty Worth the Money?
For the vast majority of people, the answer is no. Consumer Reports (Opens in a new window) says it’s money down the drain.
Here’s the big secret: Repairing most items typically doesn’t cost that much. The cost of a single repair is usually less than the cost of an extended warranty. Consumer Reports once calculated the median cost at 136 for a service plan for electronics but only 16 bucks more for the repair. The difference is negligible. Just save the money.
A manufacturer’s express (limited) warranty is typically good enough that if something breaks down in a short amount of time, they’ll do you better than repair an item—they might replace it completely. It’s always worth contacting the manufacturer. Take it all the way up the chain of command to big bosses when you beg for some help or recompense.
By federal law (Opens in a new window). if you buy something for over 15 new at a retailer, it has to let you see any written express warranty. Do that before you pay for an extended warranty; you may discover in the fine print that you don’t need to spend anything extra.
Tales of extended warranties paying off certainly exist, but you are far more likely to find an expert opinion that states flat out: Saving up a little cash for a possible repair is a much smarter investment than actually purchasing the extended warranty. At the very least, read the fine print on any extended warranty thoroughly, because there will be plenty of limitations on the coverage.
Frequently, extended warranty repairs take forever or require several tries to get it right—you see that happen a lot less when you simply pay for a fix. You may be directed to send your broken product away for who knows how long. The chance of the warranty allowing a local establishment of your choice to do the fix is very unlikely, so you can’t even reclaim the device if a repair takes too long. You are almost always better off dealing with the manufacturer for repairs—it has a reputation to uphold.
Better Ways to Warranty: Cards and Laws
Your credit card may offer all the extended warranty you need. As long as a product—even a refurbished product—has some kind of manufacturer warranty initially, most major credit cards offer an extended warranty. The caveat is that you have to use that card to purchase the product, of course.
Even a card with no fees might offer protection plans. You’ll find this perk on cards from American Express, Capital One, Citi, Chase, and many more—but it’s not guaranteed (Discover cards don’t have it). It pays to check out the terms of service or give the card provider a call and ask; the number is on the back of the card.
Keep a copy of the receipt and original warranty when you buy—you may need them to make a claim on the credit card extended warranty, if it comes up.
Local laws—depending on your state—may also offer protection in the form of an implied warranty or statutory warranty, meaning if you buy something, it is supposed to work, defect-free, for a certain amount of time. That time can vary but is typically four years. You see this a lot for cars, especially.
Don’t buy products labeled as is, or you might not have much recourse to go after a manufacturer via your state’s implied warranty laws. (As is doesn’t work in 11 states or Washington D.C. (Opens in a new window) ) Always know the retailer’s return policy as well: Don’t buy if the reseller says you can’t return a product within a reasonable amount of time.
Your best insurance is to buy a product you trust from a manufacturer you trust. Start the process by reading lots of reviews.
Should I Get an Extended Warranty on a Phone?
This depends on a major factor: How often do you think you’ll break your phone? In 2018, 66% of owners damaged their phones in the first year—but that research (Opens in a new window) was issued by SquareTrade, one of the major extended-warranty companies. Research from 2021 said two phones screens crack in the US every second. But that may say more about the number of phones being used than our collective clumsiness.
If you personally break your phone every year—really break it, not simply crack the screen—then a service plan such as AppleCare (Opens in a new window) or Samsung Care (Opens in a new window). directly from the manufacturer, is probably worth buying. You may also find insurance plans with replacement options via your mobile carrier, many of which are also administrated by third-party companies such as Asurion. But the monthly premiums are typically not worth paying once you also pay a deductible.
How to Check If Your iPhone Was Refurbished
New or refurbished? This quick tip will reveal the origins of your iPhone.
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To check if your iPhone was refurbished, open the Settings app and go to General About. If the mode number starts with F, then your iPhone was refurbished by Apple or a carrier.
After buying a used iPhone, you might wonder about its history. When first sold, did it leave Apple as a brand new device or one that had been previously refurbished? Luckily, there’s an easy way to tell. Here’s how.
Find Your iPhone’s Model Number
Open the Settings app and navigate to General About.
Once you tap on About, you’ll be presented with a list of important information about the iPhone, including the device’s name, its software version, and a model number.
Pay careful attention to the model number, because this will reveal the origin of the iPhone.
- If the model number starts with M, it was purchased new from Apple.
- If the model number starts with F, it was refurbished by Apple or a carrier.
- If the model number starts with P, it was sold as a personalized iPhone with an engraving.
- If the model number starts with N, Apple provided it as a replacement device for a malfunctioning iPhone.
If you find that your phone was refurbished, it is not necessarily cause for alarm. Apple puts its Certified Refurbished products through a rigorous process that makes them like-new. They clean each unit thoroughly, replace any broken parts if necessary, and change the battery and the outer shell.
In general, Apple Certified Refurbished products look and operate like brand new iPhones, but for legal reasons, Apple cannot sell them as new. Apple typically offers these refurbished products at a sizable discount, so they can be a great deal.
Carriers such as ATT and Verizon also refurbish iPhones and sell them at a discount. Unlike Apple, they may not change out the battery or provide a new 1-year warranty on the phone. (You can check the warranty status on your iPhone by visiting Apple’s warranty site and entering the device’s serial number.)
Third-Party Refurbished Devices
If your phone was previously refurbished by an independent repair operation that isn’t authorized by Apple, the model number would not necessarily reflect that. Few third-party vendors have the stringent standards for refurbishment as Apple does, so it is best to avoid third-party refurbished devices if possible.
While knowing the Apple-based origins of your iPhone won’t make much difference in how it functions-that depends more on how previous owners treated it-it’s always good to be more informed, and this quick tip does the job.
Protecting Your Devices: Applecare Vs. Asurion
iPhone are fantastic. But they’ve gotten a little expensive steadily increasing price each year. The original iPhone started at 499. Now the “budget-friendly” iPhone 11 has a starting price of 699. This is just the beginning. Getting them repaired is where your wallet will really suffer.
The average price of a new screen is over 200 while even minor issues like replacing the lightning port cost 50 or more. So it makes sense to spend a little extra to get some protection for your investment. You have a few options, but two of the most popular are AppleCare and Asurion.
This guide breaks down the differences between AppleCare vs. Asurion to help you decide the best choice for you.
Let’s begin with a quick description of each service:
AppleCare: Apple’s Warranty Service
All new Apple products are covered by a basic level of AppleCare. Usually, this only means manufacturer issues that arise within the first year buying an Apple product. It’s really not much coverage so people opt for AppleCare Plus or AppleCare Plus Theft and Loss Protection instead.
AppleCare Plus for iPhones extends coverage to 2 years. It also includes accidental damage among other issues.
Finally, AppleCare Plus Theft and Loss goes further providing coverage if your phone is lost or stolen.
AppleCare Costs and Deductible
AppleCare Plus starts at 149.99 with Theft/Loss for an additional 50. Apple does give the option to pay with installments for 8.33 per month over 24 months.
You are allowed to file two claims during the 24 month coverage period. However, repairs and replacements are not free. You have to pay these deductibles:
- Screen Damage: 29.00
- Other accidental damage: 99
- Theft or Loss: starting from 199 (with Theft/Loss Plan).
- Malfunction: free if a manufacturing defect
Asurion iPhone Insurance
Asurion provides full coverage for loss, theft, damage (including water damage and broken screens), and malfunction. Unlike AppleCare, you can’t purchase Asurion directly. You purchase it through your phone carrier.
Asurion is available on ATT, Sprint, and Verizon under their Mobile Protection Plan, Complete, and Total Mobile plans respectively. Other iPhone retailers do offer it as well including Boost Mobile and WalMart.
Asurion Costs and Deductible
The cost of Asurion plans depends on your carrier. Sprint plans start as little as 9 per month while Verizon and ATT start at 14 for similar coverage to AppleCare.
Likewise, deductibles also vary according to your carrier and coverage. However, they are similar to AppleCare prices:
The most interesting element is the free battery replacement from Asurion. This is only something Asurion seems to offer and is a great value for older phones. Before deciding, however, check your specific phone model and carrier to see the exact for you’d have to pay.
AppleCare vs. Asurion: Who Has Better Service?
Both Apple and Asurion offer outstanding service. With Asurion, you can easily file a claim online and receive a replacement phone within 24 hours.
Apple offers a similar service except you can also take your iPhone to an Apple Store and get repairs onsite. This may be convenient, but Apple Store repair can take weeks so you may better just sending your phone in. Either way, you are getting parts and service directly from Apple so you know it’s the highest quality available.
The best form of service is available through the Verizon Asurion program. You have all the above-option or a repair technician can visit your home/office to fix your iPhone on the spot. That level of convenience may be worth a few extra dollars per month to you.
AppleCare vs. Asurion: Disadvantages
AppleCare has gotten much better over the last few years. It now covers water damage and is more affordable than it used to be. Overall, there really are no downsides to AppleCare. This is particularly true if you’ve decided to pay off your monthly through Apple financing.
Asurion offers great coverage and you can easily wrap it into your phone service to make paying for it and using it simple. The one downside, however, is that it locks you into long term plans with your phone company.
AppleCare now covers your no matter where you are in the world. If you lose your phone or it’s damaged, you can send it to the nearest Apple certified repair center in your region.
This level of protection may not apply for domestic Asurion plans. Not only that, if you want to switch carriers, you’ll lose your insurance coverage. It doesn’t make sense unless you’ve received a free or discounted phone from carrier and plan on staying with them for the foreseeable future.
The Bottom Line: AppleCare vs. Asurion
Regardless of whether you choose AppleCare, Asurion, or any other insurance provider, you do need some form of coverage. Both AppleCare and Asurion are great options that make it easy for you to replace and repair your iPhone.
Ultimately, AppleCare edges out Asurion for being cheaper per month and more flexible with coverage. Don’t wait any longer. You have 60 days within the purchase of a new iPhone to buy AppleCare. And, you can do it directly from your iPhone so be sure to enroll soon
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