On March 1, AT&T announced its first ever “open-enrollment” period for subscribers who want to purchase insurance on a mobile device. Normally, devices must be insured shortly after purchase — typically within 30 days. AT&T’s open-enrollment offer is available to any current subscriber and is good for 60 days, through April 30, 2016.
Like those of many major U.S. carriers, AT&T’s mobile devices are insured through the Washington, D.C.-based tech company Asurion. Plans vary, but users typically pay a monthly premium, which starts at about $8 per device. AT&T also offers free tech support with its higher-end “mobile device protection packs.”
What Does Insurance on a Mobile Device Cover?
Asurion and most other mobile-device insurance plans cover smartphones and tablets; some will also let you insure a laptop or netbook. Asurion plans cover loss, theft, accidental damage and malfunctions not covered under the manufacturer’s warranty.
Deductibles on most plans depend on the type of device you have and which carrier you’re with. AT&T, for instance, has a three-tiered deductible based on the value of the phone. Most iPhones and high-end Galaxy devices fall under tier 3, which means your deductible is $199. The lowest deductible AT&T offers (on tier-1 devices) is $50.
Verizon has a similarly tiered structure, but deductibles are typically lower than those offered by AT&T. Most of Verizon’s high-end Android devices have a deductible of $99, while Apple devices are a bit higher — about $150 to $180.
How Does the Claims Process Work?
Although buying insurance on a mobile device seems pretty straightforward, there are a few important things to consider before you jump in. First, under most plans, the insurer can replace your phone –regardless how long you’ve owned it — with a refurbished phone, which is typically warranteed for 6 months or less. This may not seem like a great deal if you lose, for example, a brand new iPhone 6S.
Before your claim is approved, you may also be required to provide proof of your damages, such as bringing a damaged phone to an approved location or providing a police report regarding a stolen phone. Additionally, the insurer may require that you show proof of ownership, such as a sales receipt or bill of sale. It may also ask for other documents, such as a notarized statement attesting to the truthfulness of your claim and photo ID.
Once a claim is approved, the insurer will either repair your damaged phone for free or send you a replacement. The replacement should include a new SIM card, charger and battery.
What Does Insurance on a Mobile Device Exclude?
Like insurance of any kind, there are exclusions and limitations to insurance on a mobile device. For example, both AT&T and Verizon limit customers to two claims per 12-month period, with a dollar restriction of $1,500 per claim. Sprint will accept three claims per 12-month period, with the same dollar restriction attached. However, Sprint’s monthly premiums are higher than those of either Verizon or AT&T.
Other exclusions to most plans include damage caused by someone trying to repair or modify a device and damage due to “vermin,” such as rodents or insects. Additional limitations and exclusions may apply as well.
Non-Carrier Insurance on a Mobile Device
Another option for people who want to buy insurance on a mobile device is a non-carrier insurance provider such as SquareTrade, a company that insures smartphones, tablets, laptops, e-readers, appliances and TVs. These plans are typically cheaper than carrier-based plans: SquareTrade, for example, offers a two-year protection plan for about $5 per month, and the deductible, even for an iPhone, is $99. The trade off is that the plans do not cover loss or theft.
Nonetheless, SquareTrade does offer a pretty solid deal, especially in light of the ubiquitous “Find my phone” apps available today. In addition to repairing or replacing a broken phone, it will replace a failing battery if it won’t hold at least a 50 percent charge. And if you’re traveling, you can have your phone repaired locally and get reimbursed the amount you paid.
Whether or not to insure your mobile device is a fairly straightforward decision. After all, the most you stand to lose is the price of a new device. But insuring your home or your business is quite a different matter: You need comprehensive coverage to protect you and your family.
At Carmoon Group, we offer all types of insurance at prices you can afford, so why not give us a call to discuss your coverage needs today? We’re available every weekday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 516-292-3780. Or if you prefer, you can request a free quote online and we will get back to you within one business day.