We have now hit a point where many flagship phones cost more than $1,000 without a contract. Tens of millions of people now carry small, expensive devices that can be dropped, stolen, or otherwise damaged. If you’re in this category – or if you rock a budget phone you’re highly attached to – you might want to consider purchasing a phone insurance plan for your device.
Let’s take a look at a number of phone insurance plans available for Android and iOS devices, and also discuss whether or not you need a smartphone insurance plan in the first place.
Editor’s note: We will update this list of the best phone insurance plans regularly.
Carrier phone insurance
Many people choose to buy expensive smartphones from a wireless carrier. AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and US Cellular all sell optional insurance and protection plans for their phones. Let’s take a look at what’s available.
Major US wireless carrier insurance plans:
AT&T offers three insurance plans for its smartphones with monthly fees. For $8.99 a month, billed to your regular AT&T account, you can insure one phone or tablet against “loss, theft, physical or liquid damage.” It also covers out-of-warranty malfunctions. AT&T says a replacement device could be sent out the same day a claim is filed, although it may take longer. You will have to pay a deductible for each claim (the fees are different per device), but those fees go down by as much as 50 percent if you don’t file a claim for six months or more. You are allowed two claims for 12 months, with the maximum value per claim of $1,500.
If you pay $15 a month, you get everything in the cheaper plan, plus free access to device tune-ups and streaming support. It also includes unlimited free cloud storage with AT&T’s Photo Storage app and identity protection. Finally, there’s the $40 a month plan, which covers up to four total smartphones, tablets, and even laptops. There’s identity protection and you can make up to eight claims over a 12 month period. AT&T also offers a screen repair plan with a $29 to $49 deductible and a one-year warranty.
Verizon offers what it calls Total Mobile Protection for devices. Basic phones and tablets are covered for $12 a month, and smartphones are covered for $15 a month. Verizon also offers Total Mobile Protection Multi-Device for $45 a month, which covers three lines on an account, and you can add more lines for $11 a month for each additional line, up to seven more lines.
Total Mobile Protection and its Multi-Device version replace lost, stolen, or damaged devices with a new one, or one that’s been certified as “like-new”, that will be sent to the customer as soon as the next day. You will also get access to the company’s Tech Coach support service. The plan also covers cracked screen repairs.
If you want to get your phone from T-Mobile, the carrier has its basic Device Protection plan. It costs between $6 and $14 a month, depending on your device. If your phone experiences a mechanical failure, T-Mobile Device Protection covers all of the costs, with no deductible. Accidental damage, or the loss or theft of the phone, does have a deductible fee, which can range from just $10 to $249. The maximum device replacement value is $1,200.
T-Mobile also has what it calls Protection 360. It costs between $7 and $15 a month, and it offers everything in the Basic Protection plan, plus a few extras. It has the McAfee Security app and service that includes theft protection, along with support from Tech Ph.D. by Assurant. Finally, it offers unlimited screen protector installations for your phone, if you purchase the protector in a T-Mobile store and have it applied by one of the support employees in the store.
America’s fifth-largest carrier claims it has something better than normal phone insurance with its Device Protection Plus plans. The standard version costs $9.99 a month per device and offers a replacement device for phones if they are lost, stolen, damaged, or have a mechanical failure, with deductible fees ranging from $50 to $175. Your replacement phone is available the next business day, and you’ll keep your protection long after the manufacturer’s warranty expires. The advanced plan costs $12.99 a month and offers the same deductible fees for the loss or theft of a phone, but accidental damage fees are reduced to either $50 or $99. It also drops the repair price for a cracked screen down to just $29.
US Cellular’s plans don’t sound too different from its rivals, although we do like the credit monitoring feature in case someone steals your phone and finds any financial information on it.
Third-party phone insurance plans
Of course, if you have an unlocked phone that you use on a carrier other than the major ones, you may want to try out a third-party mobile insurance plan. Here’s a look at just some of them that are available.
Samsung Care Plus
Samsung covers its most recent flagship phones, including the Galaxy Note 20 series, with its own Samsung Care Plus mobile insurance. It varies in monthly cost based on your device and offers an extended warranty for your Samsung Galaxy phone, along with up to three claims per 12 months for accidental damage to your Samsung phone. The amount of the deductible is, of course, dependent on which Galaxy phone you have under the Samsung Premium Care plan. It also provides for round-the-clock setup assistance and remote technical support.
StayMobile Phone Insurance
StayMobile boasts one of the nation’s largest device insurance platforms with its Protect program. You can choose from three-, four-, or five-star insurance plans, though nearly all three offer identical protection. Whether you want to insure one device or an entire fleet, StayMobile goes the extra yard and will often come to you and pick up your device for repair — no waiting on shipping or delivery.
SquareTrade Phone Insurance
SquareTrade, which was recently acquired by Allstate, offers family plan protection for as little as $5 per month for up to four devices. In addition to providing accident insurance with same-day repairs in some cases, it also features tech support, identity theft protection, and even one Allstate Roadside Assistance service call a year for your car’s needs. Yes, this is the only phone insurance plan that can even help you if your car breaks down.
Geek Squad is the electronics repair and support division of the Best Buy retail stores. Geek Squad Coverage offers any smartphone user some extra protection for $8.99 a month. It will offer repairs for accidental damage or mechanical issues, and it will even replace your phone’s battery if it no longer holds a charge. The coverage even extends to a phone’s accessories such as its charger and earbuds. If you pay $10.99 a month, it adds protection for lost or stolen phones. There is a limit of three claims within 24 months, with service fees for each claim that range from $149.99 to $299.99.
Last on today’s list, and the way to go for iOS users, is AppleCare Plus. All Apple products start out with one year of AppleCare phone insurance as a type of warranty, but it’s easy to extend that coverage. The plans include battery service as well as up to two incidents of damage coverage. As long as you have AppleCare, screen replacements will run you just $29. Any other damage is $99 and you can add theft protection to replace your device for a small fee.
Do you really need mobile phone insurance?
Of course, this article is for people who think they need insurance for their smartphones. If you have a mid-range or a high-end device, getting such a plan might be a good idea. However, if you just want to purchase a phone for everyday use that doesn’t have the most up-to-date hardware or features, it might be best to buy a cheaper phone without a contract, which can be replaced with little cost if it gets damaged, lost or stolen, without having to pay any monthly fees or deductible claims.
There’s also the option of purchasing a tough and sturdy case for your phone to help protect it from any spills or drops. It may bulk up your phone, but it’s a lot cheaper than spending money on insurance for any accidental damage.
Our best advice for purchasing phone insurance is to figure out what kinds of needs you want for such a plan. If you just want to protect against damage or mechanical failure, you can likely purchase a cheaper plan, but if you want more coverage, especially for lost or stolen phones, be prepared to pay more.