Cell Phone Protection: These Credit Cards Will Replace Your Stolen or Damaged Phone

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Did you know that you may automatically have cell phone protection from your credit card?

In an effort to lure customers’ business in 2022, many of the top credit card issuers are offering to replace stolen or damaged cell phones if you use their card to pay your monthly cell phone bill.

It may sound too good to be true, but money expert Clark Howard says it is a legitimate practice. And he considers it a better method of protection than buying an expensive insurance plan from your cell phone provider.

“Credit card companies are offering a variety of unusual benefits to stand out from one another, including protection for electronics like your cell phone, Clark says.

“They want you to pay your cell phone bill with their card. And if you do so, the cell phone may be covered if you break it or it breaks on you.”

In this article, I’ll explore the credit cards that offer this coverage, dive into what the coverage means to you and how you can determine whether your phone is covered.


Credit Cards That Will Pay To Replace Your Cell Phone

If you are paying your cell phone bill with one of the following credit cards, you may find that you have replacement coverage if your phone is stolen or damaged.

Credit CardMaximum Coverage Per ClaimDeductibleCoverage Information
Business Centurion® Card from American Express$800$50American Express Coverage FAQ
Business Platinum Card® from American Express$800$50American Express Coverage FAQ
Capital One Venture X Rewards$800$50Capital One Policy
Centurion® Card from American Express$800$50American Express Coverage FAQ
Chase Freedom FlexSM Mastercard$800$50Chase Policy
Chase Ink Business Preferred®$800$50Chase Policy
Corporate Platinum Card® from American Express$800$50American Express Coverage FAQ
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card$800$50American Express Coverage FAQ
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve for Business Credit Card$800$50American Express Coverage FAQ
Fifth Third Preferred Cash Back Card$800$50Fifth Third Policy
Fifth Third TRIO® Credit Card$800$50Fifth Third Policy
First Citizens Cash Rewards Credit Card$500$50First Citizens Policy
First Citizens Smart Option Visa Card$500$50First Citizens Policy
First Citizens Rewards Visa Card$500$50First Citizens Policy
First Citizens Secured Cash Back Credit Card$500$50First Citizens Policy
First Citizens Travel Rewards Credit Card$500$50First Citizens Policy
HSBC Elite Mastercard®$600$50HSBC Policy
HSBC Premier Mastercard®$600$50HSBC Policy
Navy Federal Visa cashRewards Card$250 (Visa)
$50Navy Federal Policy
Navy Federal GO REWARDS® Credit Card$250 (Visa)
$600 (Mastercard)
$50Navy Federal Policy
Navy Federal Platinum Card$250 (Visa)
$600 (Mastercard)
$50Navy Federal Policy
Navy Federal nRewards Secured Credit Card$250 (Visa)
$600 (Mastercard)
$50Navy Federal Policy
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card$800$50American Express Coverage FAQ
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card$800$50American Express Coverage FAQ
The American Express Platinum Card® for Schwab$800$50American Express Coverage FAQ
The Corporate Centurion® Card from American Express$800$50American Express Coverage FAQ
The Platinum Card® from American Express$800$50American Express Coverage FAQ
The Platinum Card® from
American Express for Ameriprise Financial
$800$50American Express Coverage FAQ
The Platinum Card® from
American Express for Goldman Sachs
$800$50American Express Coverage FAQ
The Platinum Card® from
American Express for Morgan Stanley
$800$50American Express Coverage FAQ
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card$600$25U.S. Bank Policy
U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card$600$25U.S. Bank Policy
Wells Fargo Active CashSM Card$600$25Wells Fargo Policy
Wells Fargo ReflectSM Card$600$25Wells Fargo Policy
Wells Fargo's Hotels.com Rewards Visa® Card$600$25Wells Fargo Policy

It is important to note that many of these cards will limit how many times you can take advantage of the cell phone replacement perk. For example, both U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo limit replacements to twice per year with a total reimbursement of $1,200.

If you don’t have one of the cards on this list, check with your current credit card provider to see if it offers this benefit. But note that Clark does not advise applying for a new credit card for the sole purpose of getting this coverage.

And if you do have one of the cards listed above, it’s still prudent to check the fine print on your card agreement in order to make sure that you’re taking the necessary steps to be eligible for the coverage.


How Does the Credit Card-Provided Cell Phone Coverage Work?

In most cases, you’re going to need to use the credit card in question to pay for your cell phone bill each month to get the advertised protection.

To avoid a lapse in this coverage, consider setting up an automatic payment schedule for your cell bill with the credit card offering the perk. That way you’ll know that the right card is paying for that bill each month.

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But paying the bill with the correct credit card is just the first step to qualifying for reimbursement. Here are some more things you need to know,

Your Coverage Is Probably Supplemental Insurance

In most cases, credit card cell phone protection is supplemental to other types of insurance, like home and automobile coverage, so read the fine print carefully to understand what is and what isn’t covered for your phone.

This also means that, if you pay for cell phone insurance through your phone manufacturer or your wireless service provider, you may have to use that insurance first before you’re eligible for the credit card benefit.

For example, here’s a look at how this process is explained for U.S. Bank’s credit card protection program:

“This benefit is supplemental coverage, which means that it will reimburse you for theft of, damage to or involuntary and accidental parting of your cell phone not otherwise covered by another insurance policy (for example; cell phone insurance programs, or your homeowner’s, renter’s, automobile, or employer’s insurance policies).

“If you do have personal insurance that covers theft, damage or involuntary and accidental parting for your cell phone, this benefit reimburses you for the deductible portion of your cell phone insurance.

“If you do not have personal insurance, the benefit reimburses you for the covered theft, damage, or involuntary and accidental parting for your cell phone.”

You May Not Be Able To Make a Claim if You Lose Your Phone

The verbiage on these cell phone protection plans typically specifies “stolen” or “damaged” cell phones as eligible for a claim.

You’ll notice that leaves out one of the most common ways a cell phone could require replacement: simply losing the phone.

For example, the fine print for the Navy Federal Mastercard plan specifically excludes coverage for “Cellular Wireless Telephones that are lost or Mysteriously Disappear.” It also rules out several legitimate ways a phone could be stolen such as theft that takes place while “under the care and control of a common carrier, including, but not limited to, the U.S. Postal Service, airplanes, or delivery service.”

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Again, we recommend that you read your coverage documents closely.

Your Accessories Probably Aren’t Covered, But Multiple Phones May Be

Did you buy a high-end battery or the most expensive protective phone case on the market? You’re probably out of luck even if you have cell phone protection through your credit card.

When you dig into the fine print, you’ll likely find that these items are explicitly excluded from any sort of coverage. Most plans are going to cover only the components you received in the box when you bought the phone.

However, it’s not all bad news. Many of these protection plans will allow for more than one phone to be covered, provided that the cardholder is the primary payer for the wireless account.

This Won’t Impact Your Credit Score or Line of Credit

Filing a claim on your stolen or damaged cell phone won’t have any impact on your credit score nor will it impact the existing credit line you have with the credit card issuer.

Often, your card issuer doesn’t get involved in these claims at all. Many of them farm out the administrative duties for processing to Visa or Mastercard.


Is This an Alternative To Buying Cell Phone Insurance?

Some cell phone providers or third-party businesses will sell you an insurance policy on your cell phone for an added monthly fee. Clark says not to buy it!

“You should only buy insurance on what you can’t afford to replace,” Clark says. “That’s why you have it on a house, on a car or on your life. Those are things you can’t easily replace.

“Don’t buy insurance on things. If you can’t afford to replace a television or a cell phone, then you likely can’t afford to buy it in the first place.”

Instead of an add-on insurance policy, Clark believes this free supplemental coverage is an adequate way to try to recoup some of your losses should your cell phone meet its demise sooner than you anticipated.


Final Thoughts

While money expert Clark Howard endorses taking this freebie from your credit card company, he also cautions against placing too much value on it as a credit card decision-maker.

If you already have a credit card on the list above, you should probably take advantage of the free cell phone protection.

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If you’re shopping for a new credit card, it is just one small thing to consider along with more important things such as APR, annual fees and rewards programs.


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