How to get cheap mobile phone insurance
Losing or damaging your phone can be a gut-wrenching experience. So how can you protect yourself (and your wallet) against such calamities?It's likely your phone has been victim of some sort of trauma at one point in its life (and if we're being honest, more like multiple times, right?).
Whether it's being dropped down the loo at the pub and having to spend the night nestled in a bag of rice, or being kidnapped out your pocket on a night out – no phone is safe, even in the hands of the most careful of owners.
That's why it's always smart to have some sort of mobile phone insurance to cover you in case of any mishaps – and it should only cost you a few quid a month.
This guide has all the deets you need to ensure you get the best value policy on the market!
What's in this guide?
This is something you'll have to decide for yourself, but there are a few important points worth considering that might make your decision a bit easier.
For example, how many times has your phone been lost, stolen or damaged in the past? Be honest now! If your answer it anything more than once a year, it might be worthwhile forking our for some coverage.
Another thing worth asking is how much longer will you be locked into your phone contract? If you're on a 12-month contract and due an upgrade in 3 months, realistically what are the chances of something happening in that time? If you're one month into a 24-month contract, on the other hand, the chances of something happening in that time are far greater, so getting some insurance might come in handy.
It's all down to personal choice, but you can work out the odds and decide for yourself whether it's a worthwhile investment.
Could I already be covered?
If you've decided to spend a bit of cash on insuring the contents of your house in case anything happens, you might even find that your mobile phone will already be covered on this.
You'll just need to check the small print of your content insurance policy. However, it's worth pointing out that more often than not, your phone will only be covered by contents insurance if it's stolen or damaged while inside the property.
Given that these things tend to happen while we're out and about, this probably won't be of much use to you.
What's more, claiming for your phone through a contents insurance policy will result in your premiums going up when it's time to renew – and as contents insurance tends to be more expensive, this could work out more costly than if you were to take out a phone insurance policy in the first place!
What about self insurance?
So this might sound a bit far-fetched, but bear with us here!
Whilst paying out monthly for a policy will protect you if something goes wrong, what about if you make it to the end of your phone contract without having to make a single claim – where does all your cash go? Straight into the pocket of insurers, of course!
If you're a good saver, it could be a good alternative to put a few quid each month into a decent savings account instead. That way, you can be smug in the thought that no one is getting their hands on your hard-earned cash but you, and you can use it towards your phone however you see fit.
Warning: Note that this probably isn't a great option for anyone who's accident prone when it comes to gadgets!
Not all insurance policies are the same, so it's important you know exactly what you're letting yourself in for.
The two main things to understand about your phone insurance is what will be covered and what the excess is.
Phone insurance will normally cover you for loss, damage and theft – sometimes the entire package, but normally with a few exceptions.
For example, some policies might not cover you if you lose your phone when away on holiday, and some won't cover you for loss at all, and will only pay out if it gets stolen.
There's always the potential danger of under-insuring (where you won't be protected for stuff like water damage, when this is one of the biggest phone-killers ) or over-insuring (where you stump up needlessly for a policy that protects your phone in the event of fire damage – aka not very likely).
The ‘excess' on an insurance policy is basically the sum you agree to pay upfront before your insurance provider covers the rest.
Let's imagine your phone is worth £300. If your excess is £50, you'll receive £250 if it's broken, lost or stolen. You might then think ‘surely I just opt for a lower excess so the insurer will pay out more if something happens to my phone', right?
Well, unfortunately, the lower the excess you choose to pay, the more you'll be charged monthly for your insurance policy (annoying, we know). Therefore, it's worth thinking carefully about what you can realistically afford, and how likely you are to have to make a claim.
If you think the chances of having to make a claim for your phone is extremely low, opting for a higher excess will keep your monthly payments low, but in the event that something does happy, do you really want to have to shell out big time just to save a quid or two each month?
Whatever your opinion is on this, it's often the case that you won't even get to choose your excess and monthly payments, but rather you'll be told what your monthly set-up will be when you apply for the policy.
Before you sign up to anything, there are a few important questions worth asking in order to clarify any small print – particularly concerning what exactly is covered by your policy.
Here's a few to consider:
- If my phone is damaged, will it be repaired or will I be sent a new one?
If it's the case of a damaged phone, different insurance providers will offer different solutions. Some will replace it with a similar model; some will ask for it to be sent off for repair, and some will offer a cash sum.
- Will I need to pay the excess in full before I can claim?
Mobile phone cover is slightly different to other types of insurance, as more often than not you'll be asked to pay the excess upfront before your claim can be settled (sometimes in a lump sum; sometimes in instalments for the rest of your contract duration).
- Is there a claims limit?
Watch out for the amount of times you can claim in a year, as some insurers will only allow you to make two successful claims every 12 months. Obviously, this is not ideal if you're clumsy or a bit disaster prone.
- Am I covered for any calls made after the phone is stolen?
It's not just the cost of the handset that you need to think about. If someone else is using your phone, the bill could run into hundreds of pounds. Some policies protect you against up to £2,000 of unauthorised calls, but others don't. Always call your service provider as soon as you find out you've lost your phone – this will also be proof when you make your claim. If you don't, you could be accountable for the charges.
- Does my phone fit the bill?
Strangely, some policies only cover phones that are less than six or twelve months old. Where you bought your phone from can also determine if you're allowed a policy, as can whether it's been refurbished before. Ask if this is the case before you take out any policy!
Deals vary from one bank to another, so don't just automatically assume that it's the best option.
Barclays offer one of the cheapest options, coming in at £114 per year with a £100 excess for an iPhone or £50 on other phones. One of the nicest features is the protection against any thief making unauthorised calls on your contract. The policy would settle any bill of up to £1,000 that was racked up without your knowledge.
Lloyds also offer phone insurance at £119 annually, and for that extra fiver you get up to £2,000 coverage per claim, so this will cover any outlandish activity on your bill if it gets stolen.
Do bear in mind that you'll often need to activate the insurance before it's valid, and it will often take longer to get a new phone than if you went with another specialist provider.
Protect Your Bubble
Excess: £50 (damage); £75 (loss/theft)
Phone must be less than…12 months old
Protect Your Bubble offer cheap but good value mobile insurance that's ideal for students.
Prices start at just £7.99 per month, but will cover you for the most common mishaps, as well as water damage and the dreaded shattered screen!
You're limited to 2 claims for loss or theft per year, but you can make as many claims as you like when it comes to damage/repairs.
However, they'll only insure your phone if it's under a year old, and they do have some conditions in order to qualify concerning where you bought your phone from originally. More details on the website!
Phone must be less than…3 years old
The guys at Endsleigh specialise in insuring students, so you can (in theory!) be confident you'll get a good deal here.
The price per month varies depending on what level of cover you go for, but they can cover an iPhone 6 for as little as £81 a year.
One of Endsleigh's selling points is that a new phone will always be provided within one working day – so it's a great option if you can't bear to be out of touch for too long.
Another bonus is that coverage stretches worldwide (for up to 30-day trips), so you'll be covered if something happens to your phone on holiday.
They're also happy to ensure any phone that's less than three years old – so this is the company to go for if you've had your phone a bit longer.
As well as laptops and other gadgets, Endsleigh also offers insurance for your belongings, so you could get a good deal by sorting them out all together.
Phone must be less than…6 months old
If you're looking for a degree of flexibility in exactly what you want covered and are looking for cheap as chips prices, it's well worth nosing around at Insurance2go.
You can cover an iPhone from as little as £4.99 a month for loss and theft, or £54.99 a year if you pay up front (almost a fiver discount).
If you're keen to cover in case of damage too, you'll pay around £6.99 per month, or £74.99 (saving of almost £9 if you pay annually).
If you use Apple Pay on your phone, you'll be covered for up to £100 on either policy with them, and they include £150 accessory cover too!
Excess: Between £25-75
Phone must be less than… 18 months old
Another gadget insurance specialist, Gadget Cover boasts a range of offers including your first two months free, 2-for-1 deals when you insure more than one item, and no-claims bonuses.
Their policies start from just £5.99 a month for damage cover (£59 a year if you pay up front), adding an extra £1 per month if you want loss/theft coverage too.
Gadget Cover offer a low excess of £25 on phones worth less than £250, rising to £75 for pricier gadgets of about £500.
They also dish out up to £500 if a thief goes wild with your e-wallet, and a healthy £2,500 unauthorised usage coverage in case your phone is stolen and you're presented with a crazy bill for calls and data usage.
- Be careful…er! – It goes without saying, but the best way to save money on your phone insurance is to try to take better care of it! The less claims you make the better, and some insurers offer no-claims bonuses which will reduce your spending.
- Always compare – Make sure you explore all your options. Specialists do tend to be the cheapest option, but you may already be covered by contents insurance, or you might come across a great deal elsewhere. Spending some extra time on research can really pay off.
- Pay up front in a lump sum – If you can afford to, paying up front for your policy rather than spreading the cost over the year can mean a tidy saving. Most providers will offer a discount if you choose to do this, and it also helps you resist the temptation of cancelling midway through when times get tight (only for your phone to get nicked the next day!).
- Know your policy – Mobile phone insurance can seem complicated, but make sure you read the small print and know exactly what you're paying for, as well as being fully aware of what would happen in the event of your phone being damaged or going missing. The last thing you want is to discover you aren't covered when it's too late.
- Don't be afraid to haggle – The price you're first quoted isn't always the final offer. When it comes to renewing, you should always haggle. As a loyal customer, you deserve a discount! Not confident in the art of haggling? Check out our expert guide.
Have you found a great (cheap!) phone insurance policy worth shouting about? Please fill us in!