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How to buy phone insurance

Your cell phone company isn't the only way to insure your gadgets.

A phone insurance policy can protect your phone from spills, drops, falls, and other damage, as well as theft and loss. While most cell phone companies offer phone insurance, there are other routes you can go down.

How can I insure my phone?

There are three ways to purchase coverage for your phone: through your home or renters insurance company, your cell phone company, or a specialized gadget insurer.

    1. Add phone insurance to your home or renters insurance plan

    If you have home or renters insurance, you likely already have limited coverage for your phone if it’s stolen or damaged in an event covered by your insurance, like a fire or storm. But it won’t cover your phone if you lose it, drop it or accidentally damage it. Plus you’ll likely have to pay a deductible to replace it.

    But some insurance companies will let you add your phone on as a scheduled item. This means that it gets extra coverage for it if it’s dropped, gets water damage, is lost or is otherwise damaged — and many policies have a small deductible, or no deductible, for scheduled items.

    Adding your phone as a scheduled item is often one of the cheapest ways to insure it, but not all home or renters policies will allow it. Talk with your insurance company to find out if you can add your phone to your policy.

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    2. Get coverage through your cell phone company

    Many major cell phone companies offer insurance plans when you buy a new phone.

    • ATT. ATT offers two main insurance plans through third-party insurer Asurion. ATT Mobile Insurance costs $8.99/month for one line, and ATT Mobile Protection Pack costs $11.99/month for one line. You can also save money by insuring multiple phones.
    • Sprint. Sprint also offers insurance through Asurion, though the price will depend on your phone model.
    • T-mobile. T-mobile offers insurance plans through both Asurion and Assurant. But you’ll need to visit a T-Mobile store or log into your online account to get a quote for your device.
    • Verizon. Verizon offers several different insurance plans through Asurion ranging from $3.10 to $17 a month per line. You can save by insuring multiple phones on the same plan.
    • Google Fi. Google offers device protection on phones designed for Fi including cracked screens, device malfunctions and accidental damage. Prices range from $3 to $7 per month with deductibles from $35 to $149, depending on the phone model.

    What to consider when comparing phone insurance

    Before you purchase a policy through your cell phone company, keep these things in mind:

    • You are only able to sign up for a plan with your current mobile phone provider. You cannot shop around without being willing to change providers.
    • Consider the total yearly cost of premiums as well as the deductibles and other fees. Compare this to the total cost of your device.
    • Most phone providers offer insurance through a third-party insurer. Check the insurer’s website to find out if you can get a better deal by purchasing directly.

    3. Buy a standalone policy from a gadget insurer

    A number of new insurers have recently hit the scene to take advantage of the fact that nearly everyone carries an expensive smartphone. They specialize in insuring expensive portable equipment like mobile phones, tablets, laptops and cameras.

    Big insurers in the US include Trov, Squaretrade and Asurion. Purchasing a policy from one of these insurers is relatively easy. Just go to their website, answer a few basic questions about your device and its value, get your quote and pay.

    What’s covered under my standalone phone insurance policy?

    While policies differ from one insurer to the next, you can get coverage for these events:

    • You accidentally damage your phone
    • Someone steals your phone
    • Your phone has a mechanical failure not covered by the warranty

    Is phone insurance worth it?

    It depends on several things. Consider how likely you are to damage or lose your phone, whether you can depend on the manufacturer’s warranty, how able you are to pay the premiums and deductibles, how much your phone is worth and how important your phone is to you.

    While the right plan can be a great idea for protecting an expensive new phone, it might not be worth it if you plan to upgrade in a few months anyway.

    Bottom line

    If you have an expensive new phone, your warranty and current renters or home insurance likely won’t cover repairs if you drop it or get it wet. But you can compare home insurance policies to find an insurer that will let you add your phone to your coverage. Alternatively, you can purchase a separate policy from a private insurer or your cell phone company.

    Frequently asked questions about phone insurance

    Picture: Getty Images

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