How to Pick a Cellphone Insurance Plan

Woman drinking coffee and checking her phone
••• Ezra Bailey / Getty Images

Cellphone insurance plans help to cover the costs if you damage your phone. Many cellphone manufacturers and wireless carriers offer in-house warranties or protection plans. Warranties from third-party servicers are also viable options to cover yourself in case of an emergency or unexpected cost. These plans aren't cheap, though, so is it worth the cost?

Learn more about the top cellphone protection plans and warranties, their costs and coverage, and when these plans make sense.

What to Consider When Choosing a Plan

There are a few things to consider when choosing a cellphone protection plan:

  • Will the cost of the plan fit into your budget? If it puts you over your monthly budget for cellphone, internet, and cable, then it may be wise to skip it. 
  • What does the plan cover? For example, if you tend to drop your phone, be sure it covers screen replacement (and that the deductible isn’t through the roof for this type of repair).
  • How are repairs completed? Do you have to send away your cell phone, which means you could be without it until repairs are completed?
  • Are you eligible for the plan? Many protection plans require that you sign up within a set period after purchasing your phone, like 14 or 30 days.
  • What are the plan terms? Some plans require hefty deductibles. Others don't cover certain events, like theft, or can't fully replace your phone, only repair it.

Carefully weigh the options between carrier plans, manufacturer’s warranties, and third-party companies. What may work for you depends on what you need in terms of cost, coverage, deductibles, and the number of claims allowed annually. 

Over 60% of smartphone owners have experienced phone damage, according to Allstate.

Top Manufacturer Warranties and Protection Plans

Some cellphone manufacturers offer phone insurance plans. These include:

AppleCare+

Statistics show that around 45.3% of all smartphone users use iPhones. For these cellphone users, AppleCare+ is the manufacturer-offered protection plan. It includes 24/7 phone or chat access to Apple experts and covers your phone and battery.

Extending your phone’s warranty from 90 days to two years, plus covering two incidents of accidental damage, this protection plan costs $80-$200 for two years of standard coverage, depending on your iPhone’s model. If you want theft and loss covered, those costs increase to $150 to $270. The drawbacks? Even after the initial cost of the plan, you’ll still pay $29 for screen damage, $99 for accidental damage, and $149 for theft or loss  

Moto Care

Own a Motorola phone? Then Moto Care could be an option. Moto Care offers two levels of plans: accident protection, which costs $35-$399 depending on your device and covers liquid or physical damage and mechanical issues after your warranty expires, and the extended service plan, which covers mechanical issues and costs $20-$99.

With the accidental damage plan, you can file up to three claims with deductibles ranging from $26-$99. There's no limit on standard mechanical failure claims.

Samsung Care+

Samsung Care+ costs $3.99-$11.99 per month, and you're charged for up to three years unless you cancel coverage. This protection plan covers mechanical and electrical issues and accidental damage, allowing up to three repairs or replacements per year, but it doesn't cover theft or losing your phone.

Carrier-Offered Phone Insurance Plans

There are also insurance policies available through your wireless carrier. Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile all offer insurance plans on their phones, which vary in price and coverage. Some cover lost phones and theft, while others only cover mechanical issues and accidental damage.

Most of the plans require you to pay a deductible, but the deductible is almost always lower than the cost of replacing your phone altogether, which can save you money in the long run.

These types of plans may be a good option because they can replace your phone if it’s damaged beyond repair. Plus, the cost of the plan is rolled into your monthly cellphone bill, which streamlines monthly tasks like paying bills.  

Third-Party Cellphone Insurance Providers

If the manufacturer’s protection plan doesn’t fit your budget or needs, consider a third-party protection plan like SquareTrade.

SquareTrade covers accidental damage but not loss or theft. Plans cost $8.99 per month for single coverage and $19.99 per month for a family plan that covers up to four phones. There's a $149 deductible for repairs.

Another option is Progressive's phone insurance. Plans start at around $8 per month, and you can pay monthly or annually. Progressive does cover loss and theft, and you can decide on the amount of coverage you want. You can also choose between a $75 and a $50 deductible.

The benefit of these plans is that you can take them with you from carrier to carrier and they may offer benefits that aren't offered by your carrier or manufacturer. The downsides to these plans are that you pay a separate, additional bill and the plans aren't coordinated with your carrier the way a carrier plan would be.

Do I Really Need Phone Insurance?

You don't have to purchase a phone insurance plan, but when you consider the high cost of cellphones, it might be worthwhile.

Plus, when you compare the cost of a cellphone plan and its deductible to the cost of a new phone (iPhones and Samsung Galaxy phone can both cost $1,000 or more), it may be the better option financially.

But if you’re someone who prefers to use an older cellphone model, is extremely careful with your phone, or has the extra cash to replace your phone (in other words, you can self-insure your phone), then a protection plan may not be worth it.