Many of us have one.  In fact, according to Pew Research 77% of mobile phones in the U.S. are smartphones.  They do so much, and can be very expensive and are ever so breakable. Does insurance make sense?

When you buy a new smartphone chances are, you have been offered (more likely pressured) to take the insurance plan.  You can only get it within 30 days of buying your phone from most carriers. The cost ranges from about $5 to over $30 per month depending on the phone you purchase.

It is important to know the difference between your phones warranty and insurance.   The warranty, included with the purchase of most smartphones, covers manufacturer defects for a period of time.  If you break your phone, that’s a hit to your pocketbook.

What are the typical costs of damage not covered by insurance?

This example uses an Apple iPhone X and the costs quoted by a national chain.

Damage Repair Cost
Screen Crack $269.99 and up
Charge Port $129.99
Vibration Motor $129.99
Camera (Rear) $249.99
Bluetooth Repair $129.99
Speaker $129.99

There are also multiple types of insurance.  It’s important to know what your policy covers.  Some only extend the manufacturer’s warranty while others have an option called “damage protection.”  That will cover some or all of the problems up to loss of the phone itself.

What are the costs of phone insurance?  And are there hidden fees?

Most policies have a monthly fee tacked on to your phone bill.  This can range based on your phone’s value and are usually between $5 and $30 per month.

Shopping around can save you money.  An example, SquareTrade sells mobile phone policies at a flat upfront rate. You will have an upfront fee but save money in the long run.

If you choose a monthly option recheck every year or so.  Your phone will depreciate and can become less valuable than what the insurance will cover.  Since most plans have a deductible along with the premium you have to do the math to make sure the coverage remains worthwhile.

So should you purchase phone insurance?

The answer to this is really the value of your phone.  With higher end phones like iPhone that would be up to and sometimes over a grand to replace,  insurance is worth considering. Lower end phones may not be worth the premium.

Make sure you get a plan that covers what you need.  Some plans cover accidents. Others don’t. Some plans only extend the warranty.  Make sure you research what you are buying and avoid unhappy surprises.

William (Bill) Sikkens has been a technology expert for KXL on the Morning Show with Steve and Rebecca since 2014. With an expertise in I.T., cyber security and software design he has had more than 20 years’ experience with advanced technology. Sikkens conceptualizes and designs custom applications for many professional industries from health care to banking and has the ability to explain the details in a way all can understand.  Article edited by Gretchen Winkler.

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Got a technology question or comment for Bill? Follow him on Twitter @sikkensw