Cell phone insurance policies say they’ll protect you if your phone is lost, stolen or broken…but will they really?
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Three better alternatives to cell phone insurance
Cell phone insurance typically runs about $120 a year. You have a deductible to meet — usually anywhere from $50 to $200 — and after paying that you often get a refurbished replacement phone. Not necessarily a new one!
But you do have other alternatives…
Get a case
Why not get something like an Otterbox? It’s a protective case for smartphones that is clunky and ugly, but really protects your smartphone in the event that you drop it.
You can get a protective case like this on a discount site like eBay or Amazon. But even if you pay full retail price, it’s still a lower cost way to protect your phone. And that insurance policy you could buy will only guarantee you a refurb anyway!
Try a repair shop
Here’s another thought: Try a local cell phone repair shop when your phone breaks, especially for replacing a cracked screen. They’re spreading like wildfire across the country and typically specialize in Android and iPhone repair.
Repairs tend to price out somewhere between $50 and $150 at these shops. That is cheap money compared to the alternative of insurance through your wireless carrier.
Look away from your mobile carrier
Square Trade boasts savings of 39% when you get cell phone insurance from them rather than from your mobile carrier. The cost is $119 over 24 months and you pay a $99 deductible for all claims. AppleCare+ offers a similar price point at $99-$129 for two years of coverage and you pay $79 or $99 per incident, depending on model.
Here’s a real-life cell phone insurance horror story
A couple of years ago, David Lazarus of The Los Angeles Times wrote a column about how one woman purchased an iPhone 5 on AT&T and then decided to sign up for what was then a $6.99/month policy when she was traveling in Asia.
Her phone was stolen during the trip, so she went to the police and filed a report. Then she filed a claim with Asurion, the insurance provider.
Well, her claim was denied three times by Asurion. Their rationale? She wasn’t covered because she wasn’t on the AT&T network at the time of the theft.
That’s despite the fact that it clearly states in the insurance contract’s nine pages of mice type: ‘The coverage territory is worldwide.’
That just goes to show you what a stinker cell phone insurance through your carrier can be!
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