How To: Everything You Need to Know About Insuring Your Android Phone

Everything You Need to Know About Insuring Your Android Phone

Everything You Need to Know About Insuring Your Android Phone

As a former repair tech, I've heard the same reasons over and over as to why people opt not to purchase phone insurance. Some cite the cost—why pay extra every month for insurance when you're careful with your phone? Deductibles are expensive, so why not just spend that money on a repair instead of getting a refurbished phone as a replacement?

But with Android devices, uninsured repairs can be quite expensive for a number of reasons. And in reality, the refurbished phones you receive when making an insurance claim are high quality—they have to meet rigorous testing standards that shouldn't be scoffed at. In my opinion as a tech, insuring your smartphone is almost always the best choice.

Carrier Insurance Plans Compared

Here's a quick breakdown of insurance prices of the four major carriers. Prices may vary based on location, so please check your carrier's website to verify the specific rates in your area.

AT&T

AT&T charges $7.99/month for insurance. It can be purchased within 30 days of activation or upgrade. They also have a declining deductible where the initial price lowers by 25% to 50% depending on how long you go without making claims.

  • Monthly price: $7.99
  • Replacement deductible: $50-$299 (model-specific)
  • Repair deductible: $89.99 (cracked screen)
  • Maximum annual payout: $1,500 (up to two claims per year)
  • Coverage: Theft, loss, and damage
  • Insurance provider: Asurion

Sprint

Sprint's insurance goes for $9-$13 per month for full coverage, depending on your device's value. The first 2 claims due to mechanical or electrical defects will yield no deductibles. Deductibles range from $50-$250 for replacement and $25-$125 for repair, depending on model. Devices must be enrolled within 30 days after activation or purchase of a device.

  • Monthly price: $9-$13
  • Replacement deductible: $50-$250
  • Repair Deductible: $25-$125
  • Maximum annual payout: $1,500 (up to two claims per year)
  • Coverage: Theft, loss, and damage
  • Insurance provider: Asurion

T-Mobile

T-Mobile insurance will cost you from $10-$12 a month, the latter of which comes bundled with JUMP, which allows you to upgrade your phone more frequently, so that's an extra factor to consider.

  • Monthly Price: $10, $12 with JUMP
  • Replacement deductible: $20-$175
  • Repair deductible: N/A
  • Maximum annual payout: $1,500
  • Coverage: Theft, loss, and damage
  • Insurance provider: Assurant

Verizon

Verizon insurance will run you $9 or $11 a month for either their Total Equipment Coverage or Total Mobile Protection, respectively, and comes with a deductible of $49-$199 depending on model. Their coverage now also extends to cover screen repairs and post warranty defects. Verizon offers different levels of coverage, but the prices shown below depict their most comprehensive plan—Total Mobile Protection—which now offers same day screen repairs for the Samsung Galaxy S5, S6, and S7, Galaxy Note 4 and 5, and the Motorola DROID Turbo and DROID Maxx. More phones may be added later.

  • Monthly price: $11
  • Replacement deductible: $49-$199
  • Repair deductible: $79 (cracked screen)
  • Maximum annual payout: $1,500 (up to three claims per year)
  • Coverage: Theft, loss, and damage
  • Insurance provider: Asurion / Verizon

Third-Party Insurance Plans Compared

Third-party insurance plans are also gaining popularity as an alternative way for consumers to protect their premium handsets. Depending on your needs, one of these options may be more cost-effective for you, so here are the plans offered by two of the most popular third-party providers.

Worth Ave Group

Worth Ave. Group started out about 40 years ago providing insurance for college students. They expanded into consumer electronics coverage and never looked back. Their cell phone insurance plans are some of the best offered by a third-party company.

  • Price: $27-$78 per year depending on coverage ($199-$899)
  • Deductible: $50
  • Coverage: Loss, Theft, Damage

An adjuster will contact you and determine the course of action once you file a claim. Repairs are done at their facility, and reimbursement for the cost of a replacement phone is given in the event of a total loss. The adjuster determines the final amount of reimbursement.

SquareTrade

SquareTrade is another popular insurance program for mobile devices. Their plan can be bought within 30 days of buying your device, or at any time if you're currently insured by one of the four major service providers. SquareTrade plans only cover against damage, not loss or theft.

  • Price: $89 per year
  • Deductible: $99
  • Coverage: Damage (physical, electrical malfunction, liquid, etc.)

Repairs and replacements shipped overnight after a claim is made. SquareTrade provides you with the option to have your device repaired at any local repair shop, which they will reimburse you for.

Insurance Versus Repair Shops

Unfortunately, Android users are usually at a disadvantage when their devices are in need of repairs. Repair shops usually don't stock Android phone parts. The sheer variety of Android phones available means that stocking parts for each model would require a warehouse or two.

Generally speaking, Android phones don't come in for repair very often, either. To put it into perspective, a typical repair shop will get one or two Galaxy S-series devices for every 10-15 iPhones that come in, and Galaxies are the most popular Android phones out there.

Android phones like the Galaxy S6 Edge can be expensive to repair. Image by Pexels/Pixabay

Most, if not all, of the premium Android phone models today utilize an AMOLED screen, and these are very expensive parts. The average cost to repair a Galaxy S6 Edge screen will easily pass $200, which is already more than its current average deductible. Why wait three days to a week to repair your phone for more money when you can get another phone by the next (business) day for less?

As a tech, the first question I would always ask a customer who handed me an Android phone was if he or she had insurance. I'd only repair the phone if they didn't have insurance, or insisted on the repair because they didn't want to receive a refurbished phone.

Dispelling Myths About Refurbished Phones

Refurbished phones aren't as scary as they seem. I've heard horror stories of phones rebooting randomly or having a battery life of a few hours tops. I've personally never experienced anything so extreme with refurbished devices, and I've had many. In fact, the S6 that I'm currently using is refurbished.

I've also worked in a refurbishing plant as a lead technician a few years back. I was impressed by how efficient and thorough the place ran. From parts procurement to quality control, everything had to be done beyond right.

A phone that was found to have dust inside the camera lens would be sent back to be dismantled, rebuilt from scratch, and sent down the line all over again. Motherboards that had even the smallest hint of corrosion and liquid damage would automatically be returned to the supplier.

I'll discuss refurbished phones a little bit more in a future article, but suffice it to say, there's no need to worry about the quality of a refurbished device.

Life Happens

I've seen all types of accidents when it comes to mobile devices. It's taught me that no matter how careful you are, life happens.

My selfies aren't what they used to be... Image by InspiredImages/Pixabay

It could be an angry significant other, a frustrated three-year-old who can't figure out why his cartoons suddenly turn into car insurance sales ads, a swimming pool so rude as to rush through your pockets without permission, your lovely wife leaving her phone in an airline in the Philippines, a roadside bomb in Iraq—I could go on. Point is, having insurance gives you more options if you ever have to deal with mobile-related disaster, for a relatively small price.

Cover photo by gfkDSGN/Pixabay

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