In today’s world, it seems like nearly everyone has a smartphone. While there are plenty of devices that can be purchased at budget prices, there is also still a huge audience for high-end smartphones that costs hundreds of dollars. Indeed, we are approaching a time where high-end consumer devices will have price tags over $1,000 without a contract.
That also means there will be tens of millions of people putting small but expensive devices in their pockets, bags or purses that can be dropped, stolen or otherwise damaged. In that case, you might want to consider purchasing a smartphone insurance plan for your device. This feature will take a look at a number of current smartphone insurance plans available for Android and iOS devices owners, and also discuss whether or not you need an insurance plan in the first place.
The carrier offers three insurance plans for their 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 2 claims for 12 months, with the maximum value per claim of $1,500.
If you pay $11.99 a month, you get everything in the cheaper plan, plus free access to the company’s ProTech support. It also includes 50 GB of free cloud storage with AT&T’s Protect Plus app. Finally, there’s the $34.99 a month plan, which covers up to three smartphones, tablets and even laptops. It also has everything from the $11.99 a month plan. AT&T also offers a screen repair plan with a $89 deductible and a one-year warranty.
We like the fact that AT&T cuts the deductible fee if you don’t file a claim for six months or more, but we think that 50 GB of cloud storage is a bit small for what your are paying per month for the $11.99 and $34.99 fee.
The carrier offers what it calls Total Mobile Protection for devices. Basic phones and tablets are covered for $9 a month, and smartphones are covered for $11 a month. Verizon also offers Total Mobile Protection Multi-Device for $33 a month, which covers three lines on an account, and nine claims that can be shared for those lines in one year. Each additional line can be added to Total Mobile Protection Multi-Device for $9 a month.
Total Mobile Protection and its Multi-Device version cover 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.
While we think offering shared claims on the Total Mobile Protection Multi-Device plans is a great idea, it’s too bad that Verizon’s insurance doesn’t offer cloud storage like AT&T’s plan.
Customers on Sprint have the option to sign up for the carrier’s Total Equipment Protection plans. It costs $9 a month for the basic service, per device, which covers “loss, theft, damage and malfunction” of a smartphone. The deductible for each claim can cost between $50 and $200, depending on the device. Replacement devices are sent the next day, or repairs for the damaged phone can take up to five days.
The Total Equipment Protection Plus plan costs $13 a month, per device, and has all the features of the normal plan. It adds 25 GB of cloud backup for each Sprint phone on the account, and access to Sprint’s Tech Expert support service. In addition, you can play $12 a month for what Sprint calls its Total Tech Expert service, which boosts the cloud storage space to 100 GB per device, along with support for every Wi-Fi connected device in a Sprint account’s home. That includes “tablets, laptops, home security, wireless routers, gaming systems, and more.”
On the one hand, we love that the Total Tech Expert service from Sprint can help out with a wide range of Wi-Fi devices, but paying an extra $12 a month for this service seems a bit steep.
If you want to get your phone from T-Mobile, the carrier has its basic Device Protection plan, which costs $10 a month and covers any loss, theft, damage or malfunction of a device. However, if you want to spend a couple of extra bucks, you can get the carrier’s Premium Device Protection plan. It adds support for the Lookout Mobile Security service so you can find your phone if you lost it, and even wipe its content remotely if it gets stolen. It also comes with security features like safe browsing and app scanning.
The same insurance in Premium Device Protection is also included in T-Mobile’s JUMP! plan, which lets users upgrade more often to the latest version of their smartphone or tablet. Both Premium Device Protection and JUMP cost either $12 or $9 a month, depending on the device.
Just recently, T-Mobile launched new insurance plans. The Premium Device Protection Plus has everything in the older plan, except for the Lookout Mobile Security service. However, it adds McAfee Security for T-Mobile. That add identity protection and restoration services, along with data protection for up to 10 devices, including phones, tablets and even your PCs and Macs. The service also throws in Tech PHD (Personal Help Desk) with what it calls VIP tech support for all of a person’s connected devices.
T-Mobile is adding all of the features in Premium Device Protection Plus to its JUMP! Plus device upgrade plan as well. Both cost either $15 or $12 a month, again depending on the device.
We love the security features available with T-Mobile’s insurance plans, but the new Plus options might be a bit pricey for many customers.
The fifth biggest US carrier claims it has something better than normal phone insurance with its Device Protection+ plans. The standard version costs $8.99 a month per device and offers a replacement device for phones if they are lost, stolen, damaged or have a mechanical failure, along with 5 GB of free cloud storage. If you choose the $11.99 a month plan, you get a storage boost all the way up to 100 GB, plus 90 day credit monitoring, free tech support, and anti-malware protection tools with the Pocket Geek app.
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.
Samsung Protection Plus
If you have bought one of Samsung’s older smartphones, like the Galaxy S7 or the Galaxy Note 5, you can sign up to get Samsung Protection Plus. It covers a select number of devices against mechanical and electrical breakdowns if the phone goes out of its warranty, along with accidental damage. It does not cover lost or stolen phones.
If you own a Galaxy S4, Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S6, you can sign up for Samsung Protection Plus for $99. That covers two years and gives people two claims a year for accidental damage for 12 months. If you own a Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy Note Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge, the price of the plan goes up to $129 a year for two years. Both plans have a $99 deductible for each accidental damage claim.
Samsung’s plans cost a lot less per month than the carrier’s plans, and the deductible fee is reasonable. However, we wish it also covered lost or stolen devices as well.
Samsung Premium Care
The newly launched Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus phones can be protected with the new Samsung Premium Care service. It costs $11.99 a month (the first month is free) and covers accidental and mechanical damage, plus it throws in free technical support and an extended warranty. While we like those additions, the higher price for this protection should also cover lost or stolen phones, and Samsung Premium Care does not.
Third-party phone insurance plans
In addition to the insurance and protection plans offered by carriers and OEMs, there are a number of plans that are available from third-party companies.
Based in Stillwater, Oklahoma, Worth Ave Group offers smartphone insurance for iOS, Android and even Windows Mobile phones. It offers one, two and three year coverage plans that vary in price, depending on the phone, with a minimal of a $50 deductible. In addition to covering phones from accidental and mechanical damage, it also covers theft, cracked screen damage coverage and more. You can purchase plans for your new phone, or even for older or refurbished devices, and it offers an unlimited numbers of claims.
This sounds on the surface like an excellent way to protect your phone, but we do wish it also included some tech support options as well.
Based in San Francisco, Square Trade offers smartphone coverage for the price of $89 a year for one phone, with lower prices per device if you add more phones to the plans. Each claim has a $99 deductible fee. It covers damage and repairs to phones for drops, spills, and malfunctions, but does not cover loss or theft of devices, not does it offer tech support.
This is a pretty affordable way to protect your device from accidents or hardware failure, but is definitely not as comprehensive as other plans on this list.
Geek Squad, in case you have been living in a cave for the past several years, is the electronics repair and support division of the Best Buy retail stores. Geek Squad Coverage offers anyone with a smartphone some extra protection for $7.99 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 home charger and earbuds. If you pay $10.999 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.
We like the fact that this coverage extends to batteries and accessories, but the prices and the high service fees are a bit of a downer for the Geek Squad.
Do you really need insurance?
Of course, this article is for people who think they need insurance for their smartphone. 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 every day 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.
Which plan do you think is the best for you, or do you think that you won’t bother with purchasing insurance for your phone? Let us know what you think in the comments!