As mobile phones continue to get bigger, thinner and practically 99% glass, the risk of damage has increased.
Many people use their smartphone as an integral part of their day-to-day lives, whether that be through answering emails and making phone calls or updating their social media pages and keeping up with the latest Netflix drama.
Combine that with the fact that top-end smartphones now cost in excess of £800, the prospect of breaking or losing one is enough to make you break out in a cold sweat – especially if you have only recently upgraded.
If you have a long time to run on your current contract, it can be a very costly struggle to replace a smartphone – and considering Vodafone statistics state that a phone is stolen, damaged or lost every four seconds in the UK, it’s an increasingly common problem.
The obvious form of protecting yourself against losing a smartphone is to take out a phone or gadget insurance policy. Specialist insurers like So-Sure offer cheap, comprehensive mobile phone insurance policies for a range of devices with cover for accidental damage, theft, loss and much more.
Before you rush to your search engine of choice to find the best deal, it’s important to remember that you may already be covered under one of your other insurance policies.
For example, many home insurance policies include at least a basic level of cover for smartphones, while many packaged bank accounts include perks like mobile phone insurance.
Was insurance included in your contract?
A lot of mobile phone networks use features like fast replacements and international cover as methods to encourage you to take up a contract with them, so the first thing you should do is check with your network to see if there is any cover included as part of your monthly payment.
It is rarely (if ever) the case that your network provider will throw in smartphone insurance for free, and opting into their phone cover is often the most expensive option, but it does tend to provide very comprehensive cover. For example:
EE phone insurance – charges around £4 per month to provide phone damage cover, although this will not pay out for loss or theft. For full cover it charges around £8 a month.
Vodafone insurance – has a similar off to EE, although the final cost depends on the value of your phone: between £6.50 – £8.50 for damage cover and £9.50 – £13.50 for full protection.
Tesco Mobile Protect (Tesco Mobile insurance) – charges different rates for cover depending on your chosen level of cover. The prices range between £5 and £14 for full cover, depending on how much excess you wish to pay in the event of a claim, while damage cover costs between £3 and £10.
O2 insurance – offers five different levels of damage-only cover costing either £3, £5, £6, £7.50 or £9 per month depending on how much excess you wish to pay. Full cover ranges from £6 to £15.
iPhone insurance – are you already signed up to AppleCare+?
Apple has its own insurance policy called AppleCare+, which provides cover for accidents, although not if you lose your phone or are a victim of theft.
AppleCare+ for iPhone also provides policyholders with up to two years of Apple-certified service and support coverage, a maximum of two claims for accidental damage and priority access to 24/7 technical support.
When making a claim, you are liable to pay an excess of £25 (if the damage is on the screen) or £79 (if the claim is in regards to something else, such as the battery). According to Apple, they offer a same-day support service in ‘most major metropolitan areas’ and an express replacement service, entitling you to a replacement device before you even return your own.
The Apple insurance policy is available for the iPhone 7 Plus and beyond and can be paid for on a recurring payment plan, however it must be purchased within 60 days of picking up your new iPhone.
Prices tend to range from between £9.99/month – £15.99/month depending on the level of coverage and value of your device, while you can save money in the long run by paying the money up-front.
Note that some Apple users who have used their upgrade scheme could find that they are already on the AppleCare+ scheme – so it’s always worth double-checking.
Are mobile phones covered on house insurance? Are mobile phones covered under contents insurance?
Most home insurance policies will cover your phone, and all other devices, while they are in the home, but it is important to check the details of your policy to see if there are any exclusions or limits on the value of the contents.
If your phone is stolen from your home then it is highly likely that your home insurance will cover it as long as there are no exclusions, however accidental damage is not quite as clear-cut. According to recent research by GoCompare, just 15% of policies were found to pay out for repair or replacement of a mobile phone as standard, while 66% include the option to extend your policy to cover accident damage of a smartphone.
There are some insurers who will simply exclude damage to smartphones from their home insurance policies though, so as always it is worth reading through all of the policy small-print.
Does my home insurance cover my phone when outside the house?
If your phone is lost, stolen or damaged while out the house, then you will need to have personal possessions cover as an extension.
This option typically protects things like smartphones, tablets and laptops – as well as other valuables like jewellery, shoe and clothes – and is not necessarily too expensive. On average, adding personal possessions cover for about £50,000 worth of contents cover can cost an extra £15 – £20 per year.
Personal possessions cover usually only insures you for individual items worth up to a certain amount, which is why some insurers also offer high value item cover. For example, if you have a particularly expensive laptop (usually in excess of £1,000), you can ask to have this insured individually on your home insurance policy.
Don’t forget your excess contribution
It’s worth pointing out here that any claim you make on your home insurance policy will trigger your requirement to pay an excess. The amount of excess you are required to pay will have been confirmed at the outset of your policy taking effect – you might have increased your excess in order to reduce your monthly premiums.
Making a claim on your home insurance is also likely to lead to increased premiums when it comes to renewal, so be careful that you have taken this and the excess into account before making a claim for a broken iPhone screen on your contents policy.
Is my smartphone insured through my bank account?
If you have a packaged bank account – i.e. one that provides benefits like travel insurance, breakdown cover, cinema vouchers or other perks for a small fee each month – then you might well already have smartphone insurance as part of the deal.
Packaged accounts usually cost around £10 – £15 per month and are full of ‘perks’ which can include full mobile phone cover to pay out for damage, repair and replacement.
A lot of packaged accounts require you to actually register your handset through their system before the cover is activated, so make sure you check if yours is registered – if not, you could actually be paying for cover right now that hasn’t been put in place.
It is worth noting that, like the smartphone insurance included with a home insurance policy, packaged bank account phone insurance is rarely the most comprehensive cover available – it may not cover you for things like accidental damage and there are likely to be several other exclusions.
Read through the terms of your packaged bank account before deciding whether or not you need a specialised mobile phone insurance policy.
Is phone insurance worth it?
While you may be able to get cover via your network provider, home insurance policy or packaged bank account, it’s important to note that this cover can often come with limitations.
A dedicated gadget or smartphone insurance policy may well be the more expensive option – but you will also find they can offer a much higher level of protection.
Smartphone cover can cost anywhere between £5 – £20 per month, and usually offer promises like fast replacements and repair. On top of comprehensive cover for theft, loss and accidental damage, mobile phone insurance providers like So-Sure also offer added policy benefits like accessories cover and worldwide protection (so you’re covered while on holiday).
Another added benefit of a stand-alone gadget insurance policy is that you can find better deals by including all of your gadgets and devices. Most people or households now have multiple smartphone’s, tablets, laptops etc, so insuring them all under one policy can bring you added savings.