Is smartphone insurance worth it?

It’s the most expensive item you carry around every day. Should it be insured?

Over the past two decades, we’ve offloaded almost our entire personal and professional lives onto our phones. Whilst they were once used for just calling friends and family, our smartphones are now the first place we go when we need a place to eat, when we need to answer a work email, and of course, when we do our banking.

Yet, a surprising number of us don’t insure our phones, despite how expensive it can be to replace them if they break or are stolen. A 2017 survey found that less than a quarter of respondents had any sort of insurance for their phones.

Let’s take a look at what smartphone insurance is, and if it’s useful for you.


What is smartphone insurance?

This one is obvious. Smartphone insurance pays out when you need to replace or repair your device because it got broken, lost or stolen. Usually, you pay a monthly or yearly premium in order to be covered.

At this point, this might sound familiar to you if you’re paying for a program like AppleCare+ , Google Preferred Care or Samsung Care+.

But these are
extended warranties, not insurance policies. They’re similar — both cover repairs in case of accidental damage — but extended warranties generally do not cover theft or loss. Small note: AppleCare+ does offer a theft and loss variant, but in that case, you’re actually getting AppleCare+ and also a separate insurance contract with New Hampshire Insurance, an American insurance company.

So if you want coverage for both repairs and losses, you’ll have to go to a third-party insurance company.


What does phone insurance cost?

This depends on a variety of factors. Most insurance companies prefer for you to bring a brand new phone to them. As your phone gets older, your options for contracts get more limited and the contracts themselves become more expensive.

The other factor in price is usually how comprehensive you want your insurance to be. Some plans will only cover certain types of damage or a limited number of repairs per year. More comprehensive plans and those that allow more repairs tend to be more expensive.

Generally in Europe, you’ll be able to find plans for 7 to 20 euros a month, or about 84 to 140 euros a year. Your best bet is to look at multiple plans and compare not only their price but what they offer.

holding phone

What should I watch out for when getting smartphone insurance?

Insurance plans are never easy to understand, but with smartphone insurance, there are a few basics you should look at.

First off, check
when the policy coverage starts. Some plans will allow you to make claims immediately as long as you submit your phone for an evaluation. Others will have a waiting period, ranging from a month to three months.

Make sure that you also know if you’re locked into the contract. Many insurance providers will lock you in for a year or two, similar to cellphone contracts. If you’re not planning on having your phone for that long, check if you can find an option to cancel flexibly.

Whether smartphone insurance is worth it is a personal question. Generally, the newer and more expensive your phone is, the more likely it is that you’ll save money by insuring it. Like any insurance policy though, sometimes the peace of mind can also be worth it, as you don’t have to fear your finances imploding if the worst happens.

Name SFAM Premier Carrefour Assurance MAE INZMO ERGO
Price 6.90€/month From 5.90€/month 12€/month From 84.90/year From 87/year
Breaking Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Theft Yes Depends on the plan Yes Yes At additional cost
Deductible 300€ in case of loss 15% 30€/claim 35€/claim 35€/claim
Limit of guarantee 350€ Smartphone: 400€/year
Other device: 800€/year
Smartphone less than 3 years: 400€/year
Other device less than 5 years: 2500€/year
Depends on residual worth of phone. Exchange of same phone model possible Depends on age of phone. Exchange of same phone model possible

Warranty vs. Insurance: what’s the difference?

How long can you own a cell phone without cracking the screen? Though some of us are lucky enough to never experience this very common kind of damage (I personally managed to go without cracking any cellphone screen I owned right up until this year), over a third of us are left trying to read texts through broken displays.

Unfortunately, most of us also don’t think about how much it costs to repair our phones until the damage is done. At that point, we’re often not covered by warranty anymore, and probably don’t have insurance.

Would buying an extended warranty help us here? What’s the difference between a warranty and insuring your phone? Let’s clear up these similar, but still fundamentally different, kinds of protections for the most valuable device in your life.

Warranties: a manufacturer’s promise

Warranties are essentially a kind of consumer protection: they require manufacturers to repair the things they sold you if they break within a certain amount of time. The idea here is to incentivize these manufacturers to make products that are durable and high-quality.

Warranties usually cover accidental damage. That means, if you spill soup all over your laptop, you’re likely out of luck trying to get the manufacturer to cover it.

Warranties are also limited in time, based on the reasonable expectation of how long a device should last. For example, in the E.U., cell phone warranties have a minimum length of two years for the new devices.

Warranties are
usually free, but manufacturers will often offer an extended warranty for a fee that extends the amount of time they’ll cover repairs, as well as what kind of damage they’ll cover. Usually, this means covering what’s called “accidental handling damage,” which is another way of saying “damage that’s your fault.”

Lastly, warranties don’t cover stolen or lost devices. If you want to be protected from that, you’ll have to look at a slightly different kind of protection.

Insurance: better safe than sorry

Like warranties, insurance contracts protect your device should something happen to it. Unlike warranties, however, they’re not an agreement between you and the manufacturer. Instead, an insurance company is the one making the contract with you. They’ll cover the cost of repairs or even replacements.

Like with extended warranties, the insurance will usually cover accidental handling damage. More importantly, they can also cover theft and loss. That means if you forget your device in the back of a cab, and aren’t able to recover it, the insurance company will pay for a replacement.

Importantly, insurers will still require you to go to your manufacturer first if your device is covered by a warranty, and the damage falls under that policy. If the repair doesn’t fall under the warranty anymore, they’ll usually choose a trusted third-party repair service for you — though some insurers now allow you to pick from a list of repair companies they trust.

Insurance contracts, like extended warranties, will cost you a monthly or yearly fee. In return, you get the peace of mind that comes with knowing that under almost all circumstances, you won’t be paying out of pocket for a new phone.