How does Amex smartphone screen insurance compare?

Brodie Fogg 23 November 2015

Cracked Phone ScreenAMEX is gunning for iPhone users with the introduction of Apple Pay and smartphone screen insurance, but how does its insurance policy stack up against telcos?

Last week, American Express launched its Express Essential card with a particular demographic in mind: Gen Y.

The Express Essential card requires a minimum income of $40,000 and can be linked to the long-awaited Apple Pay technology, which allows you to make transactions with your iPhone. AMEX Express Essential is also first to the market with a smartphone screen protection feature.

If you purchase a smartphone outright  or pay your monthly phone bill with the American Express Essential card, you’re eligible for up to $500 worth of repair costs.


Interested in the AMEX Express Essential card? Check out our full review here


The conditions are straightforward: If you crack or damage the screen, you’re eligible for a repair, as long as the damaged handset was purchased on the Express Essential card, or a bill payment has been made within 90 days prior to the claim. Here at finder.com.au, we’ve already built an entire comparison engine that helps you decide whether you should buy your phone outright or go on a plan. However, one often-overlooked benefit of going on a plan is the optional insurance mobile providers offer should you damage or lose your handset.

The issue with smartphone insurance is that it can cost you an additional $10 to $15 per month. AMEX’s screen protection, on the other hand, comes included as a cardholder benefit. With that in mind, we’ve stacked up AMEX’s screen protection policy against the insurance plans offered by major Australian telcos.

Telstra Premium Care Smart CoverOptus Yes CoverVirgin InsuranceVodafone Cover MeAMEX Smartphone Screen Protection
Excess$75 for repairs, $150 for replacement and $250 for tablet and/or smartphone replacement$50 for accidental damage, or electronic breakdown/failure or $150 for lost/stolen handsets$200 for iPhone, $125 for all other handsets.$125 for repair/refurbished replacement, $225 for new replacement and $300 for new replacement within first 90 days*10% of the claimed amount
Monthly Premium$14.95$13.00$9.95$11.00$0
CoverageRepair and replacement of equivalent model if lost, damaged or stolen, and unauthorised calls/data usageRepair and replacement of equivalent model if lost, damaged or stolen, and unauthorised calls/data usageRepair and replacement of equivalent model if lost, damaged or stolenRepair or replacement of device if lost, damaged or stolenRepair if device screen is damaged
Sum insured$2,000 for mobile device repair or replacements$2,000 for mobile device repair or replacements (less the applicable excess)Up to $5,000 per claim (less the applicable excess)Up to $2,000 per claim (less the applicable excess)Up to $500
Accessory coverageUp to $100 for accessories that are a part of or attached to the deviceUp $600 for all associated accessoriesAccessories included in sum insuredUp to $100 for all associated accessoriesNone
International coverageUp to $500 for equivalent temporary replacement device and up to $100 for an emergency replacementInternational coverage (limit not specified)Up to $500 for equivalent temporary replacement device (within 14 days)Up to $300 for equivalent temporary replacement deviceNot specified

*For devices over $600. Different charges apply for devices under $600.

As you can tell from the table above, AMEX’s screen protection policy can’t really compete with the offerings of Telstra, Optus, Virgin and Vodafone.

If you lose your handset or have it stolen, you’re simply not covered, and the terms and conditions for AMEX Screen Protection do not specify coverage while travelling overseas, which could be a deciding factor for Gen Y cardholders.

There are other factors that may change the value of a plan as well. Depending on your household insurance policy your mobile phone may be covered by your existing insurer, for example. Equally, there are a very small number of handsets from Chinese maker Huawei that offer their own single replacement screen guarantees, so if you're interested in the Huawei G8, P8 or P8 Lite smartphones, you're already covered for a single screen accident.

With that said, there is no monthly premium with AMEX Screen Protection, and the excess is a fair 10% of the claim amount, so the most extreme cases will only set you back $50. You're limited to two claims in any twelve month period as well.

Factor in the no annual fee and 0% interest for the first 12 months and the Express Essential card becomes a solid choice if you’re looking to purchase your smartphone outright and wouldn’t otherwise have a leg to stand on should you damage your handset.

Picture: Cory Doctorow, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (image cropped)

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2 Responses to How does Amex smartphone screen insurance compare?

  1. Default Gravatar
    Ryan | July 4, 2016

    I’m with vodafone and am already 5-6 into my current contact. I just got a new essential Amex credit card. My question is, if i start paying for the remaining contract using the Essential credit card, am I covered for the screen repair?

    • Staff
      May | July 8, 2016

      Hi Ryan,

      Thanks for your question and sorry for the late reply.

      With the added benefits you can get from your AMEX Essential card, if you pay your monthly phone bill with the card, you’re eligible for up to $500 worth of repair costs so long you meet the conditions: you’re eligible for a repair, as long as the damaged handset was purchased on the AMEX Essential card, or a bill payment has been made within 90 days prior to the claim.

      Cheers,
      May

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