You can insure your phone as a contents insurance inclusion, or through single-item insurance.
Less comprehensive cover is also available via mobile phone providers and credit card purchase protection.
Phone insurance can be an affordable way to protect your device, but the cost of your premium and any excess may be more than your phone is worth.
If you've ever had your day ruined by a shattered screen or a stolen phone, you've likely wondered about phone insurance and how it could protect you.
Phone insurance can help cover the cost of repair or replacement if your mobile phone is lost, damaged or stolen. There are 4 main options for mobile phone insurance in Australia. Each has its pros and cons, which we go into further below.
Adding a phone to contents insurance
Mobile phones can be covered as part of your standard contents insurance but more than likely, you'll need to look at adding on specified items or portable contents cover.
Single item insurance
There are a growing number of providers that will insure your device provided you purchase cover within a set period of time from purchase (often 90 days).
Credit card purchase protection or manufacturer warranty
Some credit cards offer purchase protection for mobile phones as a benefit for cardholders provided you buy your new phone outright with your card. Many phones also come with a warranty to cover defects, malfunction and breakdown.
Insurance from your mobile provider
Due to recent reforms, most telcos no longer offer new mobile insurance but Telstra still has one alternative to consider.
Contents insurance can cover your phone – and much more
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Read more on the 4 main options for phone insurance:
Your phone may be partially covered by insurance you already have, such as contents cover. Adding your mobile phone to an existing or new insurance policy can be a cost-effective way of insuring it in and around your home. 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.
What does it cover my phone for? Policies only pay out in the event of specific types of damage, like impact or fire, and disasters, like flooding or storms.
What is not covered? You might not be able to claim for events like dropped phones or water damage. Certain limits may apply for items like portable possessions or electronics and it may not cover the entire cost of repair or replacement.
Am I covered outside of my home? No, most policies will not cover possessions outside of your home. You'll need to purchase additional portable contents cover and check the applicable conditions and limits.
What does portable contents cover? It can insure your phone against any loss, theft or damage that occurs away from home. Home insurers may offer cover for specified items or cover a wide range of possessions that won't need to be specified but have individual item limits.
What else should I consider? Making a home 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 also increase if you make claims on contents insurance policies.
Single item insurance
Single item insurance or standalone gadget insurance is a relatively new type of cover in the insurance world. You'll find a few big names such as Bendigo Bank and NRMA, along with some new faces like Butter Insurance, Insurance4that and Raiz that offer some form of single item insurance.
These policies are generally bought online and designed to cover you for specific items, including your phone. All you need to do is go to their website, answer a few basic questions about your phone and its value, get your quote and pay. While policies differ from one insurer to the next, you'll generally find they'll cover you for:
Accidental damage to your phone
Someone stealing your phone
Protection outside of your home
Just make sure your phone was purchased from a registered Australian business and that you don't leave your phone unattended, or your claim could be denied.
Credit card purchase protection
Many credit card companies offer purchase protection for mobile phones as a benefit for cardholders. This type of cover is designed to protect you if your mobile phone is damaged, lost or stolen within a certain time frame after purchase. The details of the cover can vary between credit card companies, but some of the common features include:
Eligibility. The mobile phone must be purchased with the credit card and some cards may have restrictions on the type of device or where it was purchased.
Timeframe. There is typically a limited timeframe in which the purchase protection applies, usually around 90 days from the date of purchase, but can be up to 6 months.
Coverage limits. There may be limits on the amount of protection provided, such as a maximum claim amount or a limit on the number of claims that can be made per year.
Excess. Some credit card companies may require an excess to be paid before the cover kicks in.
Claims process. The process for making a claim may vary between credit card companies, but it is typically straightforward and can be done online or over the phone.
It's important to note that credit card purchase protection is not the same as phone insurance, and there may be restrictions or exclusions that apply. For example, the cover may not apply to loss or damage due to flood, earthquake or wear and tear. Phone defects in general may be covered through a manufacturer's warranty which typically applies between 12 to 24 months.
Mobile provider cover
Recent Telco reforms have led to mobile providers like Vodafone and Optus dropping their phone insurance offerings to new customers. To replace its mobile insurance, Telstra has an alternative program that offers some cover for phones called Upgrade and Protect:
How does it work? It's a $15 per month service that lets you upgrade your phone before your contract ends.
How much does an upgrade cost? An upgrade is free for phones in good working order in the second half of your contract. Earlier redemptions have a $99 fee and damaged phones have a $249 fee.
What about screen replacements? You can replace your screen for $99 and a consultant will come to you if you're located in an eligible postcode.
What conditions apply? You must add on Upgrade and Protect when you buy your new device on a repayment contract but can cancel anytime. You can make two damaged device upgrades per service every 12 months.
We let customers pay on a monthly or yearly subscription, which they can cancel at any time. Let's say you just bought an iPad for your kids going back to school. If you know you're going to have to get a new model in 9 months' time, you can just pay for nine months of protection. We really wanted to offer the flexibility so customers don't feel like they're locked in for ages.
Whether or not phone insurance is worth it is a personal decision and depends on several factors, including the cost of your device, how likely you are to damage or lose your phone, and the cost of the insurance itself.
Here are some of the key benefits and drawbacks of phone insurance to help you decide if it's an essential investment:
Protects against damage, theft or loss of your device
Offers peace of mind knowing you're covered in case of an unexpected event
Can save you money in the long run, as repairing or replacing a damaged or lost phone can be expensive
Some plans offer additional perks, such as discounts on device upgrades or tech support
The cost of premiums and excess may be more than the phone is worth
You may already be protected by a warranty or purchase protection
Providers often have restrictions, such as a limit on the number of claims you can make per year
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.
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.
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.
You are able to, but it won’t cover any damage that happened before you took out the policy.
It largely depends on how essential your phone is to you (if it is vital for work purposes, for example), and if you are 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.
Cristal Dyer is a travel writer at Finder. She has been writing about travel for over five years and has visited over 40 countries around the world. Cristal currently travels full-time, writing about her favourite cities and food finds, and she is always on the lookout for amazing flight deals to share.
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