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What is mobile phone insurance?

Mobile phone insurance protects you if your phone is lost, stolen or accidentally damaged. Given how much we rely on our phones to organise our personal and social lives and keep in touch with work and friends, it can be a real problem if your phone breaks, goes missing or is stolen. Mobile phone insurance covers breakage and some policies can pay for the repair of your mobile phone after the manufacturer's warranty period runs out.

Do I need mobile phone insurance?

Mobile phones have become an important part of our lives and we rely on them for virtually everything these days. Sadly, mobile phones are not indestructible, they can get damaged or lost, and replacing or repairing them can be really expensive.

If you drop your expensive new iPhone you will want to fix it as soon a possible so you can keep using it as normal. Research by Mintel showed that almost a quarter (24%) of smartphone owners in the UK have broken their screen at least once. Phone insurance gives you the chance to pay a small monthly or annual premium and in case anything happens to your device, the insurer will repair it or replace it within days, without no extra cost (except the excess, which can be anywhere from £30-£175, depending on the device).

Taking out mobile phone insurance is a good idea if you have a very valuable mobile phone, or if you are tied into a long contract with a provider. That is because even if your phone is lost or broken, you will have to continue paying your monthly instalments as set out in the contract. The more expensive your mobile phone, the more you will have to pay for insurance.

If you are now working from home and do not take out your phone much from the house, then you may have sufficient cover under your Home contents insurance cover. However, it is best to check exactly what is covered.

An alternative to standalone mobile phone insurance cover is Gadget Insurance, which covers electronic devices in your home such as phone, laptops, gaming consoles, tablets and wearable technology.

How do I find the best mobile phone insurance?

Most mobile phone insurance policies start with basic cover for loss, theft and accidental damage. Then you can add on extra cover depending on what you need. For example, you can add on mobile phone cover for travel overseas, mechanical breakdown mobile phone cover, liquid damage (in case you spill water on it or drop it in the bath) and problems with your mobile phone battery.

It is also possible to have a mobile phone insurance policy that covers multiple phones at one address - useful if you have a family who all has phones, or if you have different mobile phones for your work and personal life.

Before you start looking for the best mobile phone insurance, think about what you need from your phone insurance cover. Most insurance providers cover accidental damage and theft as standard. However, if you worry about losing your phone, you have to find a cover that includes loss. If you travel a lot, it is worth looking at phone insurance, who will cover you if something happens to your phone while you’re abroad. Some insurance providers offer limited protection abroad (for example, for 180 days in a year), but there are phone insurance providers offering unlimited worldwide cover.

If you’re worried about someone taking away your phone and using it to make unauthorised calls or use mobile data, make sure the insurance also covers airtime abuse.

When you’ve decided on what cover you need, compare mobile phone insurance providers online. This will help you find the best mobile insurance deal for the cover you want.

How do I find the best mobile phone insurance policy?

When you start researching phone insurance companies, you'll see that insurers offer different policies. You should pay attention to the offered cover type, the value of your phone, and the excess charge.

Cover: Look for mobile phone insurance policies that offer the right phone insurance protection for you. You might just want accidental damage phone insurance cover. Or you might want loss and theft cover too. Also think, whether you would benefit from an overseas and airtime abuse cover.

Value: How much is your mobile phone worth? Some insurers have a maximum claim value limit. Make sure you pick a policy that gives enough cover to replace or repair your phone if the worst happens. This is particularly important if you have a very expensive new mobile phone.

Excess: This is how much you pay each time you make a claim. How much are you happy to pay per claim? The excess charge can range from £30 to £175 and depends on the device type. The more expensive the phone, the more you will pay.

What does mobile phone insurance cover?

Mobile insurance can cover you for several different situations, depending on the policy you choose:

  • Loss of phone: If you lose your phone, loss cover will replace it with the same or a similar model

  • Theft of phone: If your phone is taken away from you, the insurance company will replace it

  • A cracked screen: Accidental damage phone insurance means you don't pay to repair or replace a cracked phone screen, even if it's been dropped

  • Damage abroad: If you travel abroad a lot, worldwide mobile phone insurance cover might be a good idea as it covers you if you lose or damage your phone when you're outside of the UK

  • Mechanical breakdown: mechanical breakdown shall mean your gadget(s) being inoperable due to a sudden and unforeseen fault as a result of the failure of internal electronic or mechanical components or defects when out of the manufacturer’s warranty period

  • Airtime abuse: if someone has made unauthorised phone calls or used data following the theft of your phone, your insurance will cover the cost of it up to a specific policy limit.

What does mobile phone insurance not cover?

Not everything is covered by phone insurance. Your mobile insurance policy document and IPID, Insurance Product Information Document will list the exclusions and conditions you aren't likely to be covered for:

  • Theft due to negligence (e.g. leaving your phone on view in the car, leaving it unattended in an unlocked changing room, loose in the pocket)

  • Intentional damage (if the insurer sees that the damage to the phone has been caused by the policy holder’s intentional action, they have the right to decline repair or replacement of the phone and terminate your policy)

  • Manufacturer's defects (this may be covered by your phone manufacturer’s warranty)

  • Dents and scratches (everyday wear and tear)

  • Lost SIM cards

  • Older phones (there are insurers covering phones up to 36 months old, but usually insurance covers phones up to 6-12 months old).

What information will I need to give the insurer?

When you decide to take out phone insurance, you'll need to gather some information for the insurer.

You’ll need to provide your personal information, like your name, email, address and phone number. The insurer will want to know how old your device is and what condition your phone's in. They'll also want proof of purchase from a manufacturer, network provider or mobile phone retailer.

You'll need to make sure you provide the right information because the insurer won't pay out if you don't.

How do I make a mobile phone insurance claim?

You'll need to notify your insurer as soon as possible after your phone is damaged, lost or stolen. Be aware that in the case of a loss or theft you will likely have to file a police report in the location the phone was lost or stolen and provide the report number before your insurer will consider a claim.

If this occurred abroad you will still need to obtain this report from the local authorities. This can be difficult, time-consuming and frustrating depending on where you are abroad and if there are language difficulties. Allow plenty of time and patience to obtain this, and if it is in a foreign language you may need to have this translated back into English before the insurer will accept it.

Avoid the temptation to wait until you return home to file a report for convenience. If your insurer discovers you have been untruthful they will deny the claim instantly.

You should also be completely truthful in your insurance claim. Some insurers will only allow you to make one claim per loss/theft, so if you claim the phone was lost and the insure denies the claim, perhaps because they considered you to be careless in the way it was lost, you cannot then change this to a theft in hopes the claim will be approved and paid out.

Does phone insurance cover all phone brands and models?

The short answer is yes. Most phone insurance providers will cover most if not all phone brands and models, dependent upon age. Insurers are quick to add the newest devices like the iPhone 12 or the Samsung S20 lines to their offering. However, they also cover phone brands like Nokia, LG and even Motorola. So whether you need to insure your latest iPhone 12 Pro Max or Nokia Sirocco, you can be sure that you will find enough cover options in the market. If you’re phone is not listed on the insurer’s website, you can always contact them to discuss your cover options.

Can I insure more than one mobile phone?

Yes, you can insure more than one device. Some insurers offer multi-device discounts, even if the other device is not a phone.

These are the devices you can put on one gadget insurance policy:

  • Mobile phones (e.g. iPhone, Samsung, Google)

  • iPads, tablets and eReaders

  • Laptops

  • Smart watches

  • Cameras

You can compare quotes for covering all the electronic items in your home by searching for Gadget Insurance.

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