Cell phone insurance

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
xrvision
Posts: 74
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:23 am

Cell phone insurance

Post by xrvision » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:29 pm

I'm considering switching wireless carriers. I plan on upgrading to an iPhone X (I have young kids and use this as my primary camera, and my current phone is several years old). I also pay for 2 additional lines for my parents, who also have newish iPhones (will likely purchase another iPhone X and keep the other iPhone 7).

My question is how do Bogleheads handle cell phone insurance? I would like to have decent insurance as one parent seems to have some catastrophic cell phone event every couple of years like clockwork (last one was run through washing machine). AT&T charges $9/month/line.

Thanks!

kjvmartin
Posts: 1251
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2015 8:57 am

Re: Cell phone insurance

Post by kjvmartin » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:31 pm

I have had various cell phones for 14 years and have never purchased any carrier insurance plan.

Why would the carrier offer these plans if they were a way for them to make less money off of you? The statistics must bear out that they will make more money off of people needlessly paying for the insurance than they will have to pay out in claims.

xrvision
Posts: 74
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:23 am

Re: Cell phone insurance

Post by xrvision » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:53 pm

I have learned the hard way that for us, insurance is worth it.

Jags4186
Posts: 2538
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: Cell phone insurance

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:56 pm

Don’t buy extended warranties/insurance for things you can afford to replace.

Get insurance if it’s free. Wells Fargo credit cards offer cellphone insurance up to $600 a phone simply by paying your monthly bill with the card. Buy phones that cost $600 or less.

28fe6
Posts: 200
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:01 am

Re: Cell phone insurance

Post by 28fe6 » Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:30 pm

The Uber visa card also offers cell phone insurance. Although, I'm not sure if it works for my Project Fi phone, because it says they don't cover "prepaid plans". Project Fi is sort of a prepaid plan; sort of not a prepaid plan so I need to do some research on that.

User avatar
dccboone
Posts: 126
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2015 4:02 pm

Re: Cell phone insurance

Post by dccboone » Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:58 pm

You might want to check with your homeowner's insurance agent. We pay about $50 per year for a mobile phone rider that pays replacement value if a phone is lost or damaged. Given the price of a new mobile phone and the number of times our teenagers damaged their phone, it seems more than reasonable for us.

daveydoo
Posts: 1564
Joined: Sun May 15, 2016 1:53 am

Re: Cell phone insurance

Post by daveydoo » Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:04 am

xrvision wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:29 pm

My question is how do Bogleheads handle cell phone insurance? I would like to have decent insurance as one parent seems to have some catastrophic cell phone event every couple of years like clockwork (last one was run through washing machine). AT&T charges $9/month/line.
We did this through Verizon but only when kids were middle-school, I think. Not sure if we still do and I'm not sure what one would do about parents. My folks would only turn on their phone if they were expecting a call. :happy

One family member on our plan dropped the brand-new phone inside the Verizon store. :D It passed the stress-test. So did we.
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"

brajalle
Posts: 168
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:03 pm

Re: Cell phone insurance

Post by brajalle » Tue Aug 21, 2018 4:21 am

I definitely would skip cell phone insurance through the carrier. Here's what we've done, including for a claim just in July -

1. Homeowners policy. $0 deductible, $750 coverage, around $20-25/yr. Recent claim was, take letter in that it was not repairable by local phone repair store, offer to demonstrate phone (they didnt care), get $750 check in mail.

2. Buy with credit card with extended warranty. Citi probably has the best IMO - 2 years added to any warranty - also including extended warranties you buy - up to 5yrs (ie would make it a 7yr). Takes a form to fill out, receipt printout, picture, repairable letter, then mail/fax it in. Get $533 back (phone was discounted from $750 base price when originally purchased).

As someone else mentioned, there's actually something like 5-6 banks that have cards with cell phone protection (not all in one place, took about 3-4 articles to come up with all of them). Many of them have the exact same language, so there seems to be something like 2-3 major insurance companies that actually provide various levels of coverage for the credit card issuer. You have to read these very very carefully. Some warnings - they often have exclusions, and they often vary. I believe several excluded certain types of failures (basically software & chip failure) and only covered physical damage. Some excluded things like drops/etc. They all had language that made them a secondary payer, they all had limits (I believe most had $200-600 of coverage), and most had deductibles. Many of them only covered one or two phones, often with weird language determining which ones they'd cover. Lastly, several required that the replacement phone be bought from the phone carrier.

After reviewing them, I concluded that sticking with the Homeowners policy rider and the Citi cards were still the best option. But YMMV.

student
Posts: 2574
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2015 6:58 am

Re: Cell phone insurance

Post by student » Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:04 am

Credit card will provide insurance. As another poster noted, Citi provides 2 more years, so you will have three. Some credit cards such as https://www.wellsfargo.com/credit-cards/propel/ will cover your cell phone if you pay your cell phone bill on it.

JoeRetire
Posts: 1645
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:44 pm

Re: Cell phone insurance

Post by JoeRetire » Tue Aug 21, 2018 6:44 am

xrvision wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:29 pm
My question is how do Bogleheads handle cell phone insurance?
I never purchase cell phone insurance.

If I was in the habit of breaking phones, I'd purchase a good case and an inexpensive phone.

User avatar
CardinalRule
Posts: 148
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:01 am
Location: United States

Re: Cell phone insurance

Post by CardinalRule » Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:15 am

That's what I use - a Wells Fargo credit card:

https://www.wellsfargo.com/credit-cards ... rotection/

Never have had a claim, but it's good to know there is some coverage. The protection does not cover "lost" or stolen phones.
Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:56 pm
Get insurance if it’s free. Wells Fargo credit cards offer cellphone insurance up to $600 a phone simply by paying your monthly bill with the card. Buy phones that cost $600 or less.

xrvision
Posts: 74
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:23 am

Re: Cell phone insurance

Post by xrvision » Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:50 am

This is helpful, particularly the credit cards. Reality is that while I've had my phone for 4+ years (knock on wood- I just tempted fate by typing that out!), one of my parents loses/breaks their phone often enough to make this a discussion.

Regarding homeowners insurance, basic question- my parents don't reside with me but I pay for their phones; would that be covered under MY homeowners insurance or would they have to add the phones to theirs?

Jags4186
Posts: 2538
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: Cell phone insurance

Post by Jags4186 » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:19 am

CardinalRule wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:15 am
That's what I use - a Wells Fargo credit card:

https://www.wellsfargo.com/credit-cards ... rotection/

Never have had a claim, but it's good to know there is some coverage. The protection does not cover "lost" or stolen phones.
Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:56 pm
Get insurance if it’s free. Wells Fargo credit cards offer cellphone insurance up to $600 a phone simply by paying your monthly bill with the card. Buy phones that cost $600 or less.
Just a correction—they cover stolen phones, just not lost.

neilpilot
Posts: 1876
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:46 pm
Location: Memphis area

Re: Cell phone insurance

Post by neilpilot » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:25 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:56 pm
Don’t buy extended warranties/insurance for things you can afford to replace.

Get insurance if it’s free. Wells Fargo credit cards offer cellphone insurance up to $600 a phone simply by paying your monthly bill with the card. Buy phones that cost $600 or less.
Good tip on your Wells Fargo benefit.

Actually my philosophy is to get your cell phones if there free. We are using 2 LGs that were free from Xfinity when we transferrred our service to their free unlimited voice and text. Granted they aren't X phones.

Needless to say I don't insure these free phones. I could likely replace them for under $100 if necessary.

xrvision
Posts: 74
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:23 am

Re: Cell phone insurance

Post by xrvision » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:30 am

Also, if you purchase the phone through the carrier via an installment plan (instead of purchasing it outright for the full purchase price), can the credit card and homeowners' insurance options still be used?

indexfund56
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:00 am

Re: Cell phone insurance

Post by indexfund56 » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:27 am

I only buy insurance for things that I can't replace easily with cash. A cell phone doesn't fall into that category.

hale2
Posts: 176
Joined: Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:54 pm

Re: Cell phone insurance

Post by hale2 » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:12 pm

We only have it on the kids' phones. Just filed a claim for one kid who was screwing around with his friends and was pushed into the pool. He'll be paying the deductible and will pay the $13 monthly premium. After the incident he is more than willing to do it.

cashmoney
Posts: 179
Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2017 11:15 pm

Re: Cell phone insurance

Post by cashmoney » Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:17 pm

xrvision wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:29 pm
I'm considering switching wireless carriers. I plan on upgrading to an iPhone X (I have young kids and use this as my primary camera, and my current phone is several years old). I also pay for 2 additional lines for my parents, who also have newish iPhones (will likely purchase another iPhone X and keep the other iPhone 7).

My question is how do Bogleheads handle cell phone insurance? I would like to have decent insurance as one parent seems to have some catastrophic cell phone event every couple of years like clockwork (last one was run through washing machine). AT&T charges $9/month/line.

Thanks!

I use to have insurance the first time I made a claim they sent me a refurbished phone after I made 100.00 paid deductible .now I go without insurance and I plan to buy a used /refurbished phone on ebay or swappa .I currently have a galaxy 6 and can buy a used/refurbished for 100-150.00 so why carry insurance?

blevine
Posts: 2048
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:57 pm
Location: New York

Re: Cell phone insurance

Post by blevine » Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:57 am

Why not truly self-insure.
Make the "premium payments" for all the insurance/extended guarantee items you consider purchasing,
into your own insurance fund (IF similar to an EF).

Then you'll collect hundreds of $ for every TV, phone etc you buy, and if ANY of them die,
file a claim to yourself. I bet you'll "approve" the claim more swiftly than a 3rd party insurer.

User avatar
bottlecap
Posts: 5855
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:21 pm
Location: Tennessee

Re: Cell phone insurance

Post by bottlecap » Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:31 am

This really isn't a question. The only reason to buy expensive insurancefor your phone is if you are very likely to break it or lose it. That is why the insurance is extremely expensive to begin with.

You know whether you are one of those people or not.

JT

User avatar
DaftInvestor
Posts: 4064
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:11 am

Re: Cell phone insurance

Post by DaftInvestor » Wed Aug 22, 2018 3:54 pm

$9 a month is $108 a year. If you the glass every 2 years it costs less than the insurance to repair.
Even if you have the work done at Apple I believe the cost is only $100 or $150.
I have always self-insured phones. Over the last several years, with a family of 4, I paid two have 2 screens replaced and 1 battery replaced (Apple only charges $29 to replace the battery in an iPhone6).
I guess if you drop it in water every year it might be a different story.

User avatar
CardinalRule
Posts: 148
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:01 am
Location: United States

Re: Cell phone insurance

Post by CardinalRule » Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:09 am

You're right. Per the Wells terms and conditions: Cellular Telephone Protection can reimburse the eligible Wells Fargo Consumer Credit Card cardholder for damage to or theft of a cell phone. This benefit does not cover cell phones that are lost (i.e. disappear without explanation).

I think it might be hard to draw the distinction, is some cases, when a 'loss' occurs. :wink:
Jags4186 wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:19 am
CardinalRule wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:15 am
That's what I use - a Wells Fargo credit card:

https://www.wellsfargo.com/credit-cards ... rotection/

Never have had a claim, but it's good to know there is some coverage. The protection does not cover "lost" or stolen phones.
Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:56 pm
Get insurance if it’s free. Wells Fargo credit cards offer cellphone insurance up to $600 a phone simply by paying your monthly bill with the card. Buy phones that cost $600 or less.
Just a correction—they cover stolen phones, just not lost.

graeme
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:50 pm

Re: Cell phone insurance

Post by graeme » Sun Sep 16, 2018 12:27 pm

Personally, I drop my phone once in a while so a good case like the Otterbox Defender is worth it. If phones are lost or damaged in other ways and repair costs are too high, the insurance could make sense.

Jags4186
Posts: 2538
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: Cell phone insurance

Post by Jags4186 » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:26 pm

CardinalRule wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:09 am
You're right. Per the Wells terms and conditions: Cellular Telephone Protection can reimburse the eligible Wells Fargo Consumer Credit Card cardholder for damage to or theft of a cell phone. This benefit does not cover cell phones that are lost (i.e. disappear without explanation).

I think it might be hard to draw the distinction, is some cases, when a 'loss' occurs. :wink:
Jags4186 wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:19 am
CardinalRule wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:15 am
That's what I use - a Wells Fargo credit card:

https://www.wellsfargo.com/credit-cards ... rotection/

Never have had a claim, but it's good to know there is some coverage. The protection does not cover "lost" or stolen phones.
Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:56 pm
Get insurance if it’s free. Wells Fargo credit cards offer cellphone insurance up to $600 a phone simply by paying your monthly bill with the card. Buy phones that cost $600 or less.
Just a correction—they cover stolen phones, just not lost.
I presume they would want a police report.

phantom cosmonaut
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:57 pm

Re: Cell phone insurance

Post by phantom cosmonaut » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:59 pm

xrvision wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:29 pm
My question is how do Bogleheads handle cell phone insurance?
If you feel the need to insure a phone, then the phone is too expensive. Get a cheaper one off eBay or Swappa.

UALflyer
Posts: 255
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:42 am

Re: Cell phone insurance

Post by UALflyer » Sun Sep 16, 2018 4:13 pm

dccboone wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:58 pm
You might want to check with your homeowner's insurance agent. We pay about $50 per year for a mobile phone rider that pays replacement value if a phone is lost or damaged. Given the price of a new mobile phone and the number of times our teenagers damaged their phone, it seems more than reasonable for us.
Please do not do this. Since this is a part of your homeowner's insurance, all your claims are reported to CLUE and can impact not just your current homeowner's insurance, but also your future insurability with other companies. Under no circumstances should you be making these small claims through your homeowner's insurance company.

Post Reply