What is mobile phone insurance?
Mobile phone insurance pays out to repair or replace your handset if it is damaged, lost or stolen.
Some policies also cover the cost of unauthorised use – if a thief racks up big mobile bills or accesses your mobile wallet, for example – and the cost of replacing downloaded movies, music or ebooks.
What types of mobile phone insurance are available?
There are a few different ways to insure your mobile phone.
- Dedicated mobile phone insurance. Designed to cover just your phone. You can often buy this directly from your mobile network or the manufacturer. There are also specialist providers, many of which offer cover for other gadgets too.
- Gadget insurance. This type of insurance can cover your mobile phone as well as other devices, such as tablets and laptops.
- Home contents insurance add-ons. Contents insurance usually won’t cover your mobile phone outside of the home as standard, but many home insurers let you pay extra to add on cover away from home. Premiums may be lower than standalone insurance, but cover may be more limited.
- Packaged bank accounts. Some, usually paid-for, current accounts include mobile phone cover in the deal. Check the small print though – such policies are often more basic than standalone policies.
How to compare mobile phone insurance
Step 1: Decide what level of cover you need. As well as the value of your phone, consider whether you need things like accidental damage cover or cover for unauthorised use, plus how quickly you’d need a replacement phone if yours was lost, stolen our out of action.
Step 2: Consider your options. Do you already have the cover you need as part of your home insurance or a packaged current account?
Step 3: Compare cover. If you need extra insurance, use the information in our table above to shortlist standalone mobile phone or gadget providers that offer the cover you need. Click through to get quotes. Compare these with the cost of buying a home insurance add-on, if that’s an option.
To get quotes you’ll need to supply the make and model of phone, when and where you bought it and some personal information. Depending on the insurer, you may also need to state any existing damage to your phone, and its IMEI number (this can usually be found on the device box or in the phone’s settings).
What does mobile phone insurance cover?
You can expect standalone or gadget insurance for mobile phones to cover the costs of repairing or replacing your device in the following circumstances. Cover under a contents insurance policy or packaged bank account may be more limited, so check the small print.
- Accidental damage. You’ll be covered if you accidentally break the device – for example, badly cracked screens.
- Loss. If you lose your device and you haven’t been overly careless, your insurance will help cover the cost.
- Malicious damage. Your insurance will cover you if your device is deliberately broken by a third party.
- Mechanical breakdown. If the device stops working properly through no fault of your own, you can make a claim. This usually includes battery malfunction.
- Replacement accessories. Your insurance will often cover the cost of accessories damaged or lost at the same time as the device.
- Theft. Provided you take due care with your phone, such as not leaving it unattended, you’ll be covered if your phone is stolen.
- Unauthorised usage/fraudulent activity. If your device is stolen, your insurance should cover you for any charges racked up by the thief. This could include losses from the thief accessing your e-wallet.
- Water damage. If your device is damaged by contact with or immersion in liquid, your phone insurance can help cover the cost.
If you plan to take your phone abroad, check whether your cover extends overseas. If not, you may be able to pay to boost cover. Alternatively, check if your travel insurance policy offers enough cover – bear in mind some travel insurance policies have limits that might not cover the full value of your phone.
What won’t mobile phone insurance cover?
Depending on the insurer, you may not be able to get cover in the first place for:
- Smartphones that are bought second-hand or from overseas
- Devices that you’ve already owned for a certain amount of time (usually up to 12 months, but in some cases, up to 36 months)
Even for phones that you can buy cover for, there are some scenarios for which you’re unlikely to be covered by mobile phone insurance.
- Existing damage. Your insurance won’t cover you for damage sustained before the policy began.
- Cosmetic damage. Most insurance policies will only cover you for damage that affects your ability to use the phone, so minor chips or tiny cracks may not be covered.
- Intentional damage. You won’t be covered for deliberate damage caused by you or a member of your immediate family.
- Damage as a result of extreme carelessness. Most insurers will list potential examples of extremely careless scenarios in which a gadget will not be covered.
- Claims where the gadget was left unattended. This will almost always count as being extremely careless. This might include a phone left on display in a car.
- Claims where a proof of purchase cannot be provided. You will need to provide a receipt, proving you owned the smartphone.
- Loss/theft claims without a crime report. You’ll need to provide a crime reference number with your claim.
Will mobile phone insurance cover all brands and models of handset?
Yes, you should be able to get cover for all models and brands of handset, as long as they’re bought “new” from a reputable retailer or directly from the manufacturer or mobile network. Some insurers won’t cover handsets that are bought second-hand, even if they’re still pretty new. And most policies won’t cover phones that you’ve owned for more than a certain period; 12 months is typical.
Can I insure more than one device on the same policy?
Yes, there are plenty of insurers that will let you add other smartphones or other devices, such as tablets, to your policy. In fact, many insurers will provide a discount if you choose to add multiple gadgets to your policy. Our guide on gadget insurance has more details.
How much does mobile phone insurance cost?
Standalone mobile phone insurance can cost from £2 or £3 to more than £10 a month, depending on several factors.
- Brand and model. In general, if your mobile device is top of the range and has a high market value, it will usually cost more to insure than an older model.
- Level of cover. The more comprehensive the cover, the higher the likely cost.
- Level of excess. This is the amount you must pay towards any claim. Some gadget insurance providers cap their excess at a flat rate. Others allow you to choose your excess; higher excesses will mean lower premiums, and vice versa.
- Monthly or annual payments. If you pay monthly, you usually incur interest on your monthly payments and will end up paying more in the long run.
You may be able to get cheaper cover by buying it as an add-on to your home contents insurance, but cover may be less comprehensive.
How can I reduce the cost of mobile phone insurance?
There are a few tactics you can use to avoid overpaying for mobile phone insurance.
- Check if you’re already covered. If you have a packaged bank account or a home contents insurance personal possessions add-on, this may offer the cover you need for your mobile phone.
- Don’t default to buying your mobile network’s cover. When you take out a mobile contract, the service provider will probably offer insurance, but this is unlikely to be the cheapest option.
- Shop around. Use a price comparison site such as Finder to compare mobile phone insurance policies. Make sure you compare the quality of cover as well as price to make sure the insurance includes everything you need.
- Adjust the excess. Increasing the insurance excess, if possible, will lower the premium. Make sure you don’t set it so high that you can’t afford it in the event of a claim, though.
- Consider adding multiple devices to the same policy. Some insurers offer family gadget cover that lets you insure multiple gadgets belonging to members of the same household. This can work out cheaper than insuring each gadget separately.
How do I claim on my mobile phone insurance policy?
The claims process will differ depending on your insurance company and your reason for making the claim. Some allow you to make a claim online; with others, you need to call the claims team. Regardless of how you claim, you should always do so as soon as possible. Some insurers may have time limits for making a claim after the incident.
In all cases, you’ll need to provide details of the device and the incident that led to the claim being made. Other steps depend on whether you’re claiming for loss/theft or for damage.
- With loss/theft incidents, you’ll need to inform the police (or the local authorities if the loss/theft happened abroad) and your network provider before making a claim.
- With damage claims, you may have to send your device to the insurer to see if it can be repaired. Based on the details you provide, the state of your device and the terms of the policy, it will either be repaired or replaced – often with a refurbished model.
Bear in mind that you’ll need to pay your insurance excess to proceed with a claim – typically at least £50.
If your claim is rejected, and you disagree with the reasons, make a complaint to the insurer. If you are not happy with the outcome you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
The bottom line
If you’re not ready for the financial sting of repairing or replacing your smartphone, mobile phone insurance is worth considering – especially if you’re prone to accidents. But check to see if your home insurance already covers you. If it doesn’t, it’s worth comparing the price of adding the phone to the policy versus buying standalone cover.
You can compare cover and prices in our table of mobile phone insurance providers at the top of the page.
Frequently asked questions about mobile phone insurance
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