How to get cheap mobile phone insurance for £1.49 or less
Dread the moments when your phone shatters on the floor, or disappears from your pocket on a night out? Here are all the ways to protect yourself against such phone-omenons (sorry).
It's likely your phone has been a victim of some sort of trauma. Whether it's getting dropped down the loo and having to spend the night in a bag of rice, or being kidnapped out of 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?
Do you really need mobile phone insurance?
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! If your answer is anything more than once a year, it might be worth forking out for some coverage.
Another thing worth thinking about is how much longer you'll be locked into your phone contract. If you're on a 12-month contract and due an upgrade in three months, the chances of something happening before you get a new phone are relatively slim.
But by the same token, if you're one month into a 24-month contract, it's much more likely for something to happen to your phone, so getting some insurance could come in very handy.
It's all down to personal choice – have a think about the odds and decide for yourself whether it's a worthwhile investment.
Your mobile phone could 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 find that your mobile phone is already covered.
You'll just need to check the small print of your contents 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 you're out and about, this cover 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 anyway, this could work out more costly than if you were to take out a phone insurance policy in the first place!
It's also worth checking to see if you're covered by your parents' contents insurance, and whether or not their policy offers the level of protection that you need.
Give self-insurance a go
Okay – this might sound a bit far-fetched, but bear with us here!
While 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 savvy saver and careful with your phone, it could be a good alternative to put away a few quid each month into a decent savings account instead of getting phone insurance. That way, you can be smug in the thought that nobody else is getting their hands on your hard-earned cash, and you can use it towards your phone however you see fit.
We've found phone insurance for just £1.49 per month – but with self-insurance, you could choose to pay even less to build an emergency fund for your phone. It's completely flexible, so if you want to spend the bare minimum on mobile phone protection, you can.
Note: this probably isn't a great option for anyone who's accident prone when it comes to gadgets, as you're likely to need the money before you've built up enough to cover the costs!
How phone insurance works
Not all insurance policies are the same, so it's important to know exactly what you're letting yourself in for.
The two main things to understand about your phone insurance are what will be covered and what the excess is.
What phone insurance covers
Phone insurance will usually 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 while away on holiday, and others won't cover you for loss at all and will only pay out if your phone 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 pay up needlessly for a policy that protects your phone in the event of fire damage – aka, something that's very unlikely).
The excess on phone insurance policies
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 for your insurance policy (annoying, we know). For that reason, 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 are extremely low, opting for a higher excess will keep your monthly payments low. But in the event that something does happen, do you really want to have to shell out big time just to save a quid or two each month?
Whatever your opinion on this is, it's often the case that you won't even get to choose your excess and monthly payments, but rather be told what your monthly set-up will be when you apply for the policy.
What should you ask when taking out phone insurance?
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 are a few to consider:
- If my phone is damaged, will it be repaired or will I be sent a new one?
In 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).
- Is there a claims limit?
Watch out for the number 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?
If someone steals and uses your phone, you could end up with a bill for £100s. Some (but unfortunately not all) policies protect you against up to £2,000 of unauthorised calls.
Always call your service provider as soon as you realise your phone's missing – this will 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 12 months old. Where you bought your phone from can also determine if you're allowed a policy, as can whether or not it's been refurbished before. Ask if this is the case before you take out any policy!
The best mobile insurance providers
Depending on who you bank with and what type of account you have, you could find that you're offered a phone insurance policy through your account.
Deals vary from one bank to another, so don't just automatically assume that it's the best option.
Nationwide offer one of the best options for packaged bank accounts – it's a little on the pricey side, coming in at £13 per month, but it includes smartphone insurance, worldwide travel insurance and UK and European breakdown cover.
This is a good deal if you think you'd also use the travel insurance and breakdown cover. But, if you just want to insure your phone, have a look at the other options below.
From as little as £1.49 per month, you could get mobile phone insurance from Row.co.uk which covers you against loss and theft, and mechanical, accidental and liquid damage. Better yet, if your phone's lost or stolen, they'll aim to send you a replacement within one working day of you submitting your claim.
They have a good reputation for being cheap but reliable, with defaqto giving them a five-star rating. And, even if you find a better deal elsewhere soon after getting insurance with Row.co.uk, you're still in luck – they'll price match UK insurance website prices up to 14 days after purchase.
But it's worth noting that, although still pretty low-cost, the price of insurance will go up for more expensive phone models. For example, insurance of an iPhone XS Max 64GB (i.e. a top-of-the-range phone) will cost around £12.99 per month.
Protect Your Bubble
Protect Your Bubble offer cheap but good value mobile insurance that's ideal for students.
Prices start at around £3.99 per month for cheaper mobiles but vary a lot depending on your phone's model.
As an idea of how Protect Your Bubble compares to Row.co.uk, an iPhone XS Max 64GB would cost the same to insure (£12.99 per month). So, although Row.co.uk starts at a lower cost for its cheapest deal, you might find your phone would cost around the same to insure with either provider.
Protect your Bubble will cover you for the most common mishaps, as well as water damage, a broken headphone jack and the dreaded shattered screen.
You're limited to two 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 was bought in the last six months, and they do have some conditions in order to qualify, like where you originally bought your phone from, so have a look at their website to see if they could cover you.
The guys at Endsleigh specialise in insuring students, so you can (in theory!) be confident that you'll get a good deal here.
The price per month varies depending on what level of cover you go for, but they deal with plenty of students and are recommended by the NUS, so it should be pretty affordable.
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.
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 for a while.
As well as laptops and other gadgets, Endsleigh also offers insurance for your belongings, so you could get a good deal by sorting them all out together.
If you're looking for some flexibility in exactly what you have covered and are looking for cheap-as-chips prices, it's well worth nosing around at Insurance2go.
They cover phones from as little as £3.99 per month for loss, theft and damage and their iPhone cover starts at £5.99 per month. It's hard to find better deals...
And bonus points for the fact that they include £150 accessory cover, too.
Another gadget insurance specialist, Gadget Cover boasts a range of offers including your first month free, unlimited claims and cover that starts as soon as the policy is taken out.
Gadget Cover offers a low excess of £50 on phones worth up to £500 (when new). The excess rises to £75 for phones that cost between £500–£999 when they were bought, and £100 for ones that cost over a grand.
They also dish out e-wallet cover (which means Apple Pay and the like), 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.
Your own network
Most mobile phone networks will offer their own insurance policies too, and they'll probably try to sell it to you when you're buying your phone.
Although it's tempting to take them up on the offer as it's convenient to get it all done at once, beware that their prices are significantly more expensive than the alternatives.
That said, there is one major argument in favour of mobile networks' own insurance: how quickly they'll replace your phone. If your network has shops on the high street, you can usually just go in, make your claim and, if approved, they should give you a replacement straight away.
Extra money-saving tips for phone insurance
- 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 your device! The fewer claims you make, the better, and some insurers offer no-claims bonuses which will reduce your spending even more.
- 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 to 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 – and if you're not confident in the art of haggling, check out our expert guide.
- Back up your data regularly – If your phone is ever stolen or broken to a point where you can't use it at all, you could lose everything that's stored on there. By regularly backing up your data, you can make sure you won't lose the majority of your photos, contacts, and all the rest.
As well as shopping around for great phone insurance, be sure to also check out our 14 tips for getting the best mobile phone contract.