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Phone insurance

Do you need mobile phone insurance? Compare your phone insurance options.

The back seats of taxis, tiled floors and toilets are all natural enemies of mobile phones. If you want to protect your phone against theft, loss, damage and (of course) toilet water, make sure you’ve got adequate smartphone insurance in place.

Keep reading to find out more about smartphone insurance and how you can benefit.

How mobile phone insurance works

Mobile phone insurance can provide you with:

  • Reimbursement if your phone is lost or stolen, and then someone uses it to make expensive calls
  • Cover for renting or buying a new phone if yours is lost, stolen or broken overseas
  • Cover for phone accessories
  • Options for repairs, replacement with a new phone or replacement with a refurbished old phone of the same type

What are the different phone insurance options?

There are three main options for mobile phone insurance in Australia, each with its pros and cons. These are:

  • Getting insurance through your mobile phone provider
  • Adding the phone to your contents or home and contents insurance policy
  • Buying separate portable contents insurance policy to cover your phone and other valuables you take with you

Compare phone company insurance plans

All the major mobile providers in Australia offer phone insurance policies. Compare the different policies on offer below:

Optus

Optus Device Protect covers mobile phones and tablets. If your device is stolen, lost, accidentally damaged or suffers an electronic breakdown or failure that is not covered by warranty, it will be repaired or replaced. This policy covers you anywhere in the world.

Device Protect
How much it costsWhat it coversWhat is not coveredOther costsMaximum cover
$14 per monthTheft, loss, accidental damage, electronic breakdown or failureScratches, fire, loss of data, intentional damage, wear and tear$100 excess for damage claims, $200 excess for loss and theft claimsLimit is $2,000, including up to $600 for reimbursement of unauthorised calls

Telstra

Telstra offers two smartphone insurance policies: StayConnected and StayConnected Plus.

StayConnected
How much it costsWhat it coversWhat is not coveredConditions and other costsMaximum cover
$13 per monthReplacement or exchange of your device for any valid reasonThose whose bills are not paid up to date$100 service fee for non-smartphones, $140 fee for smartphones, $180 fee for tablets and large smartphonesNo limits apply
StayConnected Plus
How much it costsWhat it coversWhat is not coveredConditions and other costsLimits and additional benefits
$13 per monthReplacement or exchange of your device for any valid reasonThose whose bills are not paid up to date$140 service fee for non-smartphones, $190 fee for smartphones and $220 fee for large smartphones and tabletsNo limits apply

Virgin Mobile

Phone insurance plans from Virgin Mobile cover both standard handsets and smartphones against loss, damage or theft.

Virgin Mobile phone insurance
How much it costsWhat it coversWhat is not coveredConditions and other costsMaximum cover
$9.95 per monthRepair or replacement in  the event of damage, loss or theftMore than one claim per month, theft from an unlocked vehicle, fire damage, claims where you are able to claim benefits from a different party$200 excess for iPhones and $125 for other handsetsMaximum cover of $5,000 including up to $1,250 of unauthorised calls

Vodafone

Vodafone Cover Me offers worldwide cover against damage, loss and theft.

Cover Me
How much it costsWhat it coversWhat is not coveredConditions and other costsMaximum cover
$15 per monthRepair or replacement in the event of damage, loss or theftAny intentional damage, theft from an unsecured place, wear and tear or other deterioration, damage or loss when the phone was in the possession of a child under 14 on school grounds, any misuse of the device$50 excess for repair, $75 for refurbished replacement and $125 for new replacement of phones worth less than $600$125, $200 and $300 excess for the same reasons for phones worth more than $600$2,000 total, including up to $500 reimbursement for unauthorised calls, $100 for accessories and $300 for replacement hire or purchase outside of Australia

What to consider when comparing phone insurance

  • 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 excesses and other fees when determining value for money. Compare this to the total cost of your device.
  • If your phone is damaged or breaks while it’s still under warranty, you might not benefit from mobile insurance. Think about the warranty period (typically two years) and how often you generally replace your phone.
  • You are able to cancel mobile phone insurance at any time but will not usually be able to claim any refunds.

Adding a phone to contents insurance

If you are thinking about taking out a contents-only or a combined home and contents insurance policy, or already have one, then adding your mobile phone to it can be a cost-effective way of insuring it against theft, damage or other loss. However it is important to note that these policies will only cover your gadget in certain situations and might not protect your phone when you need it most.

  • Contents insurance policies only pay out in the event of specific types of damage, like impact or fire, and disasters, like flooding or storms. You might not be able to claim for events like dropped phones or water damage.
  • By default, most contents insurance policies will not cover possessions outside of your home. You should ensure that your policy specifies portable contents cover, and check the applicable conditions and limits.
  • Contents insurance policies may specify certain limits for items like portable possessions or electronics. Depending on your policy and phone, it may not cover the entire cost of repair or replacement.
  • Making a contents, or combined home and contents, insurance claim may be more difficult than claiming on a dedicated phone insurance plan, and the excess may be impractically high for claiming just one item like a phone.
  • Your premiums may increase if you make claims on contents insurance policies. If you have a high sum insured then these premium increases may not be worth the money saved by claiming a payout for your phone.
  • You may not be able to seamlessly and immediately add a new item to your policy. Sometimes it is only possible to adjust a policy at renewal time, or there might be additional costs for doing so.

Taking out portable contents insurance for a mobile phone

A number of insurers will offer individual portable contents policies for mobile phones, laptops, jewellery, designer accessories and other valuables you take with you outside your home.

Most portable contents policies will offer two options:

  • Specified items. This involves listing specific items like mobile phones, tablets, wedding rings and other portable valuables. If you have a newer or more valuable smartphone, or are only want insurance cover for your phone and nothing else, then specified-item cover may be more suitable for your needs. If you want a broader level of protection that encompasses more than just your phone, general cover may be more suitable for your needs.
  • General cover. This type of policy covers non-specified items, such as whatever was in a handbag when was stolen, including mobile phones and anything else.

Your phone insurance questions answered

Q. Is phone insurance worth it?

A. 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 excesses, how much your phone is worth, and how important your phone is to you. Phone insurance is not necessarily an essential investment.

Q. What does phone insurance cover?

A. Phone insurance from mobile providers typically covers almost all forms of accidental damage, theft, loss and destruction. Portable contents insurance, or adding a phone plan to an existing contents insurance policy, will generally mean it is covered against a narrower range of events specific to that policy.

Q. Does phone insurance cover a cracked screen?

A. Yes. Phone insurance from mobile providers will cover a cracked screen, and you may have the option to either get it repaired or get a replacement phone. Contents insurance policies may or may not cover a cracked screen depending on how it happened. Consider the excesses you will need to pay to get it fixed, and think about using a screen protector to avoid this happening.

Q. Does mobile phone insurance cover water damage?

A. Yes. Phone insurance from mobile providers will typically cover water damage, while contents insurance policies typically will not. Once again, this depends on how it happened.

Q. Can I buy phone insurance after my phone is already broken?

A. You are able to, but it won’t cover any damage that happened before you took out the policy.

Q. Do I need phone insurance?

A. It largely depends on how essential your phone is to you (if it is vital for work purposes, for example), and if you able to pay for a replacement out of pocket. If you cannot earn an income without a phone, and cannot afford to pay out of pocket for a repair or replacement if it is damaged or lost, then phone insurance may be a good idea.

Picture: Shutterstock

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