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Mobile phone insurance: how to get the best cover

Find out what mobile phone insurance covers, how much it costs and if it's worth buying a mobile phone insurance policy. 

In this article
What is mobile phone insurance? What does mobile phone insurance cover? Do I need mobile phone insurance? How much does mobile phone insurance cost?
Common mobile phone insurance exclusions Alternatives to mobile phone insurance Mobile phone insurance: your questions answered

What is mobile phone insurance?

Mobile phone insurance covers the cost of repairing or replacing your mobile phone if it is lost, stolen or damaged. 

What does mobile phone insurance cover?

In addition to covering the cost or repairing or replacing your mobile phone, most mobile phone insurance policies also cover the following:

  • Unauthorised calls 
  • Phone accessories
  • Protection abroad
  • Downloads
  • Apps, games, music and other valuable content

The level of cover offered by insurers will vary between providers so it's important to check the mobile phone insurance policy wording before buying. If you're still unsure, just give the provider a call for clarification. 

Do I need mobile phone insurance?

When deciding whether or not you actually need mobile phone insurance, it worth asking yourself the following questions:

Are you accident prone?

If you have a history of losing, breaking or having your phone stolen, mobile phone insurance could be right for you

If you often run into trouble with your phone, mobile phone insurance could help you save in the long term, especially if you need to make multiple claims in a year.

Can you afford to replace your phone?

Smartphones can be very expensive to replace or repair, especially if you're looking at newer models like the iPhone 8, iPhone X or Samsung Galaxy S9. 

Ask yourself: would be able to replace your phone if the worst happened? Or would at least be happy to purchase a cheaper model instead?

How much do you rely on your phone?

Consider mobile phone insurance if you rely on your mobile phone quite heavily and would need an instant replacement if it was lost stolen or damaged. 

Not all policies will replace your phone instantly so be sure to check that yours does before buying. 

Could you get protection elsewhere?

You already be able to protect your mobile phone under a pre-existing policy. For example, if you have contents insurance, you may be able to add your mobile phone to your policy under personal possessions cover. 

For more see: Alternatives to mobile phone insurance

How much does mobile phone insurance cost?

The cost of mobile phone insurance will vary depending on the model of the phone you want to insure and the level of cover you decide to go for. 

We've taken a look at four categories of mobile phone insurance to help you get an idea of the cover you can expect to receive. These include:

Packaged bank accounts

A packaged bank account is a current account that comes with a number of benefits, like mobile insurance, for a monthly fee.

Specialist gadget insurance

Specialist gadget insurance policies have been designed specifically to protect your mobile phone and other gadgets.

Manufacturers insurance

Certain manufacturers offer their own insurance for the mobile phones and gadgets that they make.

Mobile network insurance

If you buy a phone or take out a contract with a mobile network provider, you may be able to get mobile phone insurance added on.

The table below compares mobile phone for an iPhone 8 64 GB from 43 providers.

Common mobile phone insurance exclusions

Mobile phone insurance exclusions will vary from policy to policy but here are some of the common ones to look out for:

Carelessness

Incidents that occur through carelessness are usually not covered by mobile phone insurance, and insurers will often reject claims where you haven't taken reasonable care.  

For example, forgetting your phone was on your duvet when making the bed and causing it to hit the wall and crack its screen.

Theft while unattended

Most mobile phone insurance policies will not provide cover if your phone is stolen while you’ve left it unattended. This could include leaving your phone on the seat of your car or on a table in a restaurant. 

Your phone could still be classed as unattended even if you left it with a group of friends or people you know. If you left your phone on the counter of a bar with your friend, for example, while you went to the loo.

Water damage

Water damage is often excluded from mobile phone insurance policies. This could include anything from accidentally dropping your phone in the toilet to leaving it in your jacket pocket and putting it through the wash.

Delays in reporting your phone lost or stolen

It's vital that you report your phone as missing or stolen as soon as possible. 

Some insurers won't cover the cost of replacing your phone or for unauthorised calls or downloads if you leave it more than 24 hours to report your phone as lost or stolen.

Cosmetic Damage

Most mobile phone insurers do not cover cosmetic damage such as scratches or dents. Unless the damage to your phone prevents it from working properly, you're unlikely to get cover through your policy.

Young people

Most mobile phone insurance providers will not cover phones for people under the age of 18.

Make sure you check with a provider before taking out cover to make sure that you or the person you’d like to get insured is eligible for cover.

Alternatives to mobile phone insurance

If you don’t think mobile phone insurance is for you, there are a number of alternatives which may be able to provide cover for your mobile phone.

Warranties

You may be able to get limited protection if your phone is still under warranty. 

Warranties only tend to cover mechanical problems so check the terms and conditions before you decide against taking out separate cover.

Contents Insurance

If you have contents insurance you may be able to cover your mobile phone through personal possessions cover. 

Personal possessions protects your belongings whenever you leave your home and could even offer protection when you travel abroad.

Adding your phone to your contents insurance could resulting you having to pay a higher excess if you claim. 

Remember that making a claim could increase your home insurance premiums when you come to renew your policy.

Self Insurance

Self insurance involves putting money away in a savings account each month to cover the cost of repairing or replacing your mobile phone. 

Be realistic about your ability to set aside enough money to cover any costs that could arise, especially if you have to foot the bill for or unauthorised downloads or calls to premium rate numbers. 

Mobile phone insurance: your questions answered

Cost and value are very different things so it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons of taking out mobile phone insurance. 

If you do decide to get cover, make sure that you shop around to find the best mobile phone insurance deal.

Check the terms and conditions of all policies carefully and if you’re still unsure, give them a call to clarify.

It depends as mobile phone insurance can be bought annually or monthly. If you choose an annual policy, your mobile phone insurance will last for 12 months. 

If you choose a monthly policy your mobile phone insurance cover could last for a shorter period.

Most mobile phone insurance providers cover cracked screens if it affects the functionality of your mobile phone. 

Be sure to check the check the terms of your policy.

It depends, some gadget insurers classify refurbished phones as new while others may classify them as used. 

If you are unable to mobile phone insurance for your refurbished phone see if you could get it covered through your contents insurance.

Most mobile phone insurance policies require you to report your phone as lost or stolen within 24 hours of you discovering the incident. 

For some insurers you have as little as 12 hours to do so. It’s best to check with your mobile phone insurance provider.

If your claim is successful, your mobile phone insurance provider will settle it by either repairing your phone, giving you a replacement or sending you a cheque or bank transfer.

If your mobile phone insurance claim has been rejected, you can complain to your insurer and go through their internal complaints process. 

If you are unsatisfied by the outcome you can take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Some mobile phone insurance policies may cover the cost or replacing apps and music. 

There is often no way to recover the cost of lost photos, messages or contacts if your phone is lost or stolen, so remember to back up your phone regularly.

If you have any more questions about mobile phone insurance, get in touch with our experts on the Which? Money helpline or email us using money-letters@which.co.uk.