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What are your best options for phone insurance?
Many flagship phones now cost more than $1,000 without a contract, and they’re more fragile than ever. Millions of people carry small, expensive devices that can be dropped, stolen, or otherwise damaged. If you find yourself in this category or 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 several 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 regularly update this list of the best phone insurance plans.
Carrier phone insurance
Many people choose to buy expensive smartphones from a wireless carrier. AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and US Cellular sell optional insurance and protection plans for their phones. Let’s take a look at what’s available.
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% 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 for Protect Advantage, 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 12 months. AT&T also offers a screen repair plan with a $29 to $49 deductible and a one-year warranty.
Verizon offers what it calls Mobile Protect for devices. Basic phones and tablets are covered for $12 a month, and smartphones are $17 a month. Verizon also offers multi-line Mobile Protect for $50 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.
Mobile Protect and its Multi-Device version replace lost, stolen, or damaged devices with a new one, or one that’s been certified as “like-new,” which 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 $29 cracked screen repairs.
If you want to get your phone from T-Mobile, the carrier has its basic Device Protection plan. Depending on your device, it costs between $6 and $14 a month. If your phone experiences a mechanical failure, T-Mobile Device Protection covers all costs with no deductible. Accidental damage, or the loss or theft of the phone, does have a deductible fee, ranging 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 and support from Tech Ph.D. by Assurant. You also get access to all AppleCare services at no extra cost. 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 fourth-largest carrier claims it has something better than standard 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 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 losing 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. You can sign up for Device Protection Plus with AppleCare if you have an iPhone for $15.99.
US Cellular’s plans don’t sound too different from its rivals, although we do like the credit monitoring feature if 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 S21 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. Of course, the deductible amount depends on which Galaxy phone you have under the Samsung Care Plus plan. It also provides 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 equal 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 is now part of Allstate, offers family plan protection for as little as $12.99 per month for up to five 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 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 extra protection for $8.99 a month. It will provide 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 chargers 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 ranging 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 with one year of AppleCare phone insurance as a warranty, but it’s easy to extend that coverage. The plans include battery service and up to two incidents of damage coverage. If 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 $149.
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, suppose you want to purchase a phone that doesn’t have the most up-to-date hardware or features for everyday use. In that case, it might be best to buy a cheaper phone without a contract, which can be replaced with a bit of 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 determine what kinds of needs you want for such a plan. If you 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.