Mobile phone insurance comparison
Dread the moments when your phone shatters on the floor or disappears from your pocket on a night out? Here's how to cover it with some cheap mobile phone insurance.
It's likely that your phone's been a victim of some sort of trauma. Whether it's had to spend the night in a bag of rice or it's been left behind at the bar 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.
Here's how to find the best student phone insurance policy for you.
What's in this guide?
Do you need mobile phone insurance?
Ultimately, whether or not you get mobile phone insurance is down to personal choice – have a think about how likely it is that you'll need to make a claim and decide for yourself whether it's a worthwhile investment.
To help you decide if you need mobile phone insurance, consider these points:
- How many times has your phone been lost, stolen or damaged in the past? If your answer is anything more than once a year, you could probably benefit from getting it insured.
- How long is your phone contract? It might be worth insuring your phone if you have a while left on your contract – particularly if it's an expensive model.
Plus, you may find that your phone's already covered by another insurance policy.
Is your mobile phone already covered?
If you've insured the contents of your house, your mobile phone may already be covered. You'll just need to check the small print of your contents insurance policy.
But 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 there's still a big risk of something happening to your phone while you're out, this cover might not be of much use to you.
Plus, claiming for your phone through a contents insurance policy will result in your premium going up when it's time to renew. 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.
Best student phone insurance providers
These are the best places from which to compare phone insurance:
Depending on who you bank with and what type of account you have, you could get offered a phone insurance policy through your account.
Deals vary from bank to bank, so don't automatically assume that it's the best option.
Nationwide offers 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.
Protect Your Bubble
Protect Your Bubble is ideal for student phone insurance.
Prices start at just a few quid per month for cheaper mobiles but vary depending on your phone's model. It's worth noting, though, that they offer a 15% discount on gadget insurance for students.
As an example quote, at the time of writing, insuring an iPhone 13 Pro 128GB (i.e. a top-of-the-range phone) cost around £8.99 per month.
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.
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, as well as cracked screens plus 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 remembering that, although still pretty low-cost, the price of insurance will go up for more expensive phone models.
Compared to Protect Your Bubble, at the time of writing an iPhone 13 Pro 128GB would cost slightly less to insure with Row.co.uk (£7.99 per month). However, this might not be the case for all models, so we still recommend checking each site for quotes before taking out a policy.
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.
Their 'Essential' insurance prices start at £2.99 per month for accidental damage and worldwide cover, while their 'Full' policy starts at £3.99 per month and covers things like loss and theft. It's hard to find better deals.
And they're also happy to insure phones that are up to three years old, as long as they were bought new from a UK registered company.
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 £100 for phones that cost between £501 – £999 when they were bought, and £150 for devices that cost over a grand.
They also dish out an e-Wallet cover (which means Apple Pay and the like), plus 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 tend to be 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.
FAQs about student mobile phone insurance
Here are the answers to some of the most important questions surrounding phone insurance for students:
How much is phone insurance?
As you'll see from the list of providers above, the cost of insuring your phone can vary massively depending on your phone's age, model and which policy you take out.
Mobile phone insurance for students can cost as little as £1.49 with providers like Row.co.uk, but it's possible to insure your phone for as low an amount as you wish if you decide to self-insure it.
We go into more detail about how to self-insure your phone below but, as a quick summary, it's where you avoid taking out an insurance policy and instead put aside some money each month as an emergency fund for your phone. The amount you self-insure your phone for is entirely up to you.
Is my phone eligible for mobile phone insurance?
Each insurance provider will have its own eligibility criteria, but 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 a refurbished device. Ask if this is the case before you take out any policy.
What does phone insurance cover?
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, despite this being 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 – a.k.a. something that's very unlikely).
What happens if my insured phone is stolen or damaged?
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.
Plus, some (but, unfortunately, not all) policies protect you against up to £2,000 of unauthorised calls – this would cover you in case someone steals and uses your phone, leaving you with a massive bill.
If this ever happens, 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.
What is the excess on phone insurance policies?
The 'excess' on an insurance policy is essentially the sum you agree to pay upfront before your insurance provider covers the rest.
For example, if your phone is worth £300 and your excess is £50, you'll receive £250 if it's broken, lost or stolen.
The lower the excess you choose to pay, the more you'll be charged for your insurance policy (annoying, we know). For that reason, think carefully about what you can realistically afford, and how likely it is that you'll 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.
Is there a claim limit for phone insurance?
This varies from provider to provider, but 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, so look out for the number of times you can claim in a year.
Best ways to save money on your phone insurance
Here are our top tips for finding cheap phone insurance:
- Always compare quotes – Specialists 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 upfront in a lump sum – It can save you money in the long term if you pay upfront for your phone insurance policy rather than spreading the cost over the year. Most providers offer a discount for this.
- Check the conditions of your policy – Before making any decisions, read the small print carefully to make sure you're getting the best deal for your money. Make sure the policy covers everything you need it to.
- Don't be afraid to haggle – The phone insurance 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 – we have a full guide on how to haggle if you need some help.
- Be careful – It goes without saying, but the best way to save money on your phone insurance is to take good 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.
How to self-insure your phone
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 making a single claim – where does all your cash go? Straight into the insurer's pockets.
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 that the money would still be there if you needed to repair or replace your phone.
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.
What to consider before trying self-insurance
Although, it's worth bearing in mind that if you choose to put away a very small amount each month for self-insurance, you probably won't have as much cover as you would if you paid for a policy.
For example, if you put away £1.50 a month for self-insurance, this would leave you with £18 at the end of the year (not including any added interest). A policy for the same monthly cost will most likely cover you for a lot more than that if something happens to your phone.
Particularly if you're very accident-prone when it comes to gadgets, you might find you'll need the money before you've had time to build up your emergency fund with self-insurance – in which case, you'd probably be better off sticking to mobile insurance policies.
Be sure to also read our tips on getting the best mobile phone contract.