How to insure your smartphone

Today’s mobile phones are not cheap, with flagship models easily running into the thousands of dollars. What are your options for insuring such a valuable, but at-risk, piece of equipment?

As much as we might moan about its constant presence in our lives, having access to our phone is vital in today’s world. Damaging it, losing it, or having it stolen is a huge inconvenience and can be a big financial hit.

When it comes to getting insurance coverage for your phone, there are three general options: coverage under your home contents policy, extra coverage through your mobile phone provider and coverage as an extra from your credit card company.

Under your home contents policy

Most home contents policies will allow you to insure specific electronic devices, such as your smartphone. The level of cover you get for your phone will depend on how much coverage your policy provides.

Home contents policies often have a ‘per-item’ dollar limit for valuable items such as phones and jewellery, meaning they will only pay out a certain amount for claims on those items. Be aware that this amount may be less than the cost of your phone.

If you want your phone to be covered outside your home, you usually need to purchase extra cover known as ‘portable contents’ or ‘portable valuables’, which will increase your premium.

Through your mobile phone provider

If you find coverage through your home contents policy a little expensive, many of Australia’s telcos offer what are known as ‘Swap, Replace or Repair’ programs.

This isn’t quite phone insurance, but for an additional fee these programs allow you to have your phone repaired or replaced a certain number of times per year if you damage it.

Usually, you need to purchase this service within 30 days of buying a new phone. The make and model of your phone may also affect what is and isn’t covered, for example most telcos have special conditions for iPhones.

Crucially, you’re only covered for damage to your phone, not for loss or theft. But if you’re prone to dropping your phone, this type of cover can be a more effective way of covering it than home contents.

As an extra from your credit card company

Another avenue for covering your phone is through purchase protection insurance provided by your credit card provider. Also sometimes called merchandise protection, this type of insurance covers items you purchase with the card for a certain period of time, usually 90 days.

During that time, your phone is usually covered for both accidental damage and loss/theft.

The biggest benefit of this type of insurance is that there is no upfront or ongoing cost, only an excess to pay if you make a claim. The obvious downside, however, is that your phone is only covered for a short time.

Is your smartphone insured? What method did you use? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: How to set up medical ID on your phone

Brad Lockyer
Brad Lockyer
Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.
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