Do you need mobile insurance?

9 April 2009 you just bought yet another expensive mobile that does everything but brew a pot of tea, you may wonder if you should buy insurance for it. After all, people do drop things under buses, and there are thieves out there. The answer may be “yes,” but don’t jump into a cell phone insurance deal too quickly, like before you’ve even left the phone store. Carriers should allow 10 to 30 days for you to make that decision rather than requiring a snap decision right there. And you should take the time you need to explore all your options. Here's a few thoughts:

1. Just hang up: If you are the kind of person who is always losing things, or always breaking things, then search around for the best deal on mobile phone insurance. If you’ve just bought your phone, and someone calls you offering to sell you insurance right then if you’ll just give your bank account or credit card information, at the very least ask if you can hang up and call back later. Real insurance companies will understand. Fake insurance companies that only want your bank or credit information to have a shopping spree on High Street will either hang up or insist you decide that instant. In which case you should hang up.

2. Check coverage: You should be able to find insurance policies for mobiles for anything from £30 or less to £90 per year. Before you purchase a policy, find out exactly what it covers. What matters is the stuff in the tiny print, not the bold type surrounding photos of ecstatic phone users in the brochure. Many insurance policies reserve the right to send you a “reconditioned” phone as a replacement if they consider it to be the equivalent of the one you have, so beware.

3.Existing policies: Sometimes you can add your cell phone to your homeowner’s insurance, but not always. Some homeowners’ policies have bizarre sets of qualifications for add-ons, like, they’ll insure your mobile, but only if you’re insuring a mink coat as well. If your homeowner’s policy will add a cell phone rider to your policy, this may be your most cost efficient solution.

4. Replacements: Some mobile phone plans give you a new phone each time you renew your contract. So if your phone goes missing and it’s almost time to re-up, you can buy an inexpensive model for next to nothing to last you until you renew your contract and get your new phone.

5. Repairs: You could try to repair your phone yourself, if you’re into that kind of thing. For example, if you drop a phone into water, there are ways of bringing it back to life. The main thing to accomplish is to remove the battery from the phone before removing it from the water. This is because most damage occurs when the inside of the phone is wet and there is a power source. SIM cards usually survive water pretty well, and all you need to do is gently pat it dry. Drying the phone itself is an involved process involving using a vacuum (not a hair dryer) to pull water from the phone’s insides. You can go here for detailed instructions on how to rescue a drowned mobile.

While consumer groups generally discourage the purchase of cell phone insurance because it is usually not necessary, if you have a sparkling new iPhone and would be crushed if you had to do without it, then maybe you should go ahead and plump for the insurance. But for heaven’s sake, at least shop around a little. There’s no reason to make it too easy for an insurance company to take your money.

TOPICS:   Mobile


  • the w.
    I don't know what your superphone is but I got an iPhone last year and it will brew a cup of tea. Just stream Pandora for a few hours or browse the web on 3G for 30 minutes and you've got something you can fry an egg on. I kid of course, it's been a good phone. I didn't bother with insurance, instead opting for a case to protect the device if I drop it. If it was lost or stolen I'd either use my emergency fund to replace it or just buy a cheapo until the next contract renewal.
  • adamd
    Re: Real insurance companies will understand if you wan't to call back later your having a laugh with this comment only this week i had Admiral phoning me up to offer insurance - asked if i could call back or be called later......not a chance
  • Alex
    I took out insurance with O2 when I bought my iPhone, as I have a habit of getting drunk and losing phones quite regularly. It's quite a hefty sum, at £8 a month, but, true to form I've lost my phone twice in the last few months. Both times I've made a simple call to o2 and they've sent me a brand new handset the next day - it's been great service! Hopefully I won't be having to make a claim any time soon!
  • Mike H.
    Surely, you could... 'happen to lose one' claim, then stick it on fleaBay?
  • Andre
    @Mike Hock1.2 - They have the IMEI number and usually (99%) will block the IMEI and thus the phone is useless...thus good luck 'losing one' and selling it.
  • Jakg
    The will block the IMEI number so it won't work in the UK - so no :P
  • SJT
    Over the last few years, I've had stolen/lost 2 phones, both of which I claimed for on my house insurance. The last one (about1.5-2 yrs ago, I got a cheque instead of a replacement, and decided I'd use my old old phone instead and bank the cash!
  • Dan
    What a load of recycled rubbish. Store, cell phone, homeowner's insurance is all very American, reads like it's been ripped and changed around
  • Andy D.
    @Dan - Vince is an American. That's how they talk. Got a problem with that?
  • Dan
    I have a problem when it's supposed to be from the UK deal community yep. It just looks bad as though parts have been borrowed from elsewhere when some terms are English and some are American mashed together in the same article

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