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Mobile phone insurance

Protect your mobile phone with your home insurance policy for peace of mind if it’s lost or stolen.

Protect your mobile phone with your home insurance policy for peace of mind if it’s lost or stolen.

Written by
Helen Phipps
Insurance comparison expert
Posted
25 AUGUST 2023
7 min read
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What is mobile insurance?

Mobile phone insurance offers cover if your mobile is lost, stolen or damaged. Depending on your policy, it could cover repairs, a refurbished replacement or a brand-new phone. 

Insurance is especially useful if you have an expensive handset or are signing up to a long-term phone contract – particularly if you have a history of losing or breaking your phone.

At the moment, you can’t compare standalone mobile or gadget insurance with Compare the Market. But you can protect your mobile phone as part of your home insurance policy with us.

What does mobile phone insurance cover?

Standard mobile phone insurance policies typically cover:

  • Loss – if you lose your mobile phone, this covers the cost of replacing it with a similar model. Not all policies include this as standard, so you may have to pay extra to include it.
  • Theft – if your phone is stolen, this covers the cost of replacing it with the same make and model, or the nearest equivalent.
  • Accidental damage – if you accidentally damage your phone, for example, drop it and crack the screen, this cover will pay for repairs or a replacement.

Which policy features do I get with mobile phone insurance?

In addition to standard cover, many policies offer extra features to bump up your level of protection.

Common features include:

  • Battery malfunction – a new battery replacement if yours is faulty
  • Liquid damage – repair or replacement if your phone is water-damaged
  • Phone accessories – cover for phone accessories like a case, headphones and charger
  • Unauthorised calls – a set amount of cover if your phone is stolen and used for unauthorised calls and data usage
  • Apps and content – covers the cost of replacing downloaded paid content and apps like music, games, movies and books
  • Multiple phones – insure multiple devices in the same household under one policy
  • Taking your phone abroad – some policies offer worldwide cover for up to a set number of days a year.

Do I need mobile insurance?

For most of us, smartphones have become an indispensable part of our lives. We literally take them everywhere with us. This means there’s a higher risk of our phone being lost, stolen or damaged when we’re out and about.

Mobile phone insurance offers peace of mind that costs can be covered if anything should happen to your phone.

You may find mobile phone insurance useful if:

  • You’re prone to losing or breaking your phone
  • You can’t afford to replace your phone
  • You have a long-term contract
  • You rely heavily on your phone and would need a replacement in a hurry.

Before you consider buying dedicated insurance for your mobile phone, check if it’s covered by your home contents insurance. If you have additional personal possessions cover, it may offer enough protection for your device, wherever you take it.

If you travel frequently, you may also find that your travel insurance covers your mobile phone. Some packaged bank accounts also include mobile phone insurance, so make sure you’re not doubling up on cover.

What does mobile insurance not cover?

Most mobile phone insurance policies won’t cover:

  • Wear and tear
  • Cosmetic damage
  • Intentional damage
  • Faults caused by not following the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Lost SIM cards
  • Damage caused if using a different SIM from the one your policy covers
  • Theft or loss due to carelessness. For example, leaving your phone unattended or where it can be seen in your car
  • Theft you don’t report to the police
  • Older phones (some policies have a limit on the age of phones they’ll cover).

Mobile phone insurance policies will also give you a set timeframe within which you need to report to your provider and the police, where relevant, that your phone has been damaged, stolen or lost. If you don’t do this, then your claim is unlikely to be paid. Check your policy for details.

How much does it cost to insure my phone?

The cost of UK mobile insurance depends on your phone’s make, model, age and the level of cover you want.

Remember, the more extras you add, the more your premium will cost.

If you want extensive cover, it might be worth choosing a specialist mobile phone or gadget policy. For example, some specialist policies include a potential pay-out if your phone is used to make unauthorised contactless payments or unauthorised calls in the first 24 hours it has been stolen.

Cover typically starts at a few pounds a week for cheap and standard models, but can total a few hundred pounds a year for top-of-the-range models with lots of extra cover.

How can I get the cheapest mobile phone insurance?

Your network provider will probably offer you insurance when you take out your contract, but you may find a cheaper deal by shopping around.

Check the terms of any policy carefully to make sure you’re getting the right insurance for your needs.

You may be able to reduce your premiums by paying a higher excess, but make sure you can afford the excess if you need to claim.

Another option is to self-insure – in other words, put aside a small amount of money each week to pay for repairs or a new phone if you need it. If you don’t need to, you’ll get to keep what you’ve saved.

However, there’s no guarantee you’ll save enough to cover the cost of a new handset. A top-of-the-range mobile can cost £1,000-£2,000, depending on brand and spec.

At the moment, you can’t compare standalone mobile or gadget insurance with Compare the Market. But you can protect your mobile phone as part of your home insurance policy with us.

What types of mobile phone insurance policies are available?

You can choose:

  • A standalone specialist mobile phone policy that just covers your phone.
  • Gadget insurance that covers your phone and other devices, like laptops and tablets.
  • Home contents insurance that includes mobile phone cover.
  • Packaged bank accounts sometimes include mobile phone insurance. Always check the level of cover is right for you though.

If you’re considering contents insurance as a way to cover your phone, you may want to add on accidental damage. This will cover your phone against mishaps in the home, like dropping it in the bath or cracking the screen on your tiled kitchen floor.

And if you want cover when you take your phone out and about, you’ll need personal possessions cover. If this isn’t included as part of your contents insurance, you can usually add it for an extra fee. This will also cover your purse or wallet, bag and jewellery.

Always check the policy excess (the amount you pay towards a claim). This might be more than the value of your phone.

If you have an expensive mobile, check the single-item limit of your contents insurance. If your phone is worth more than the limit, you’ll need to tell your insurance provider. They’ll list it separately on your policy to ensure it’s fully covered.

What do I need to insure my phone?

To insure your phone, you’ll typically need to provide:

  • Your phone’s brand, make, and model
  • Your name, address and date of birth
  • Where and when you bought the device
  • The IMEI number (normally found on the box)
  • Details of any existing damage
  • Information about how much cover you want and the excess you’re willing to pay.

How do I claim on my mobile insurance?

If you need to make a claim:

  • Call your insurance provider. You’ll find a helpline number on your policy documents. You’ll usually need to make your claim within a certain time period.
  • If your phone has been stolen, contact the police straight away and get a crime reference number.
  • Contact your network as soon as you realise your phone is missing. They can put a block on your SIM card to prevent unauthorised calls and texts.
  • If your phone is stolen or lost, change any passwords on your banking, email or social media accounts straight away. 

Your insurance provider should walk you through next steps, including what paperwork you’ll need to complete.

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Author image Helen Phipps

What our expert says...

“Smartphones can cost hundreds of pounds – and so much of our lives are on them. If you’re worried about the cost of repairing or replacing your phone, mobile phone insurance could work for you.”

- Helen Phipps, Insurance expert

Frequently asked questions

Is insurance on iPhones worth it?

That depends on your financial situation and how likely you are to lose or damage your phone.

If you’re careful with your iPhone and invest in a good-quality protective case, you may find insurance is an unnecessary expense. 

However, if you can’t afford to replace or repair your phone if it’s lost or damaged, iPhone insurance could be a worthwhile investment.

I have more than one mobile phone. Can I insure them together?

Some mobile phone insurance providers require you to insure each phone separately, while others offer multi-device cover. Many include family bundles, which can work out cheaper overall.

How does phone insurance work?

If you damage your phone, some insurance providers will prefer to repair it. If that’s the case, you may be without your phone while repairs are carried out. Other insurance providers may offer you a refurbished equivalent, rather than a brand-new handset.

If your phone is lost or stolen, you should either be offered a new phone or one of equivalent value. It’s important to understand how this works in practice.

If you bought a top-of-the-range phone a few years ago but the technology has overtaken you, you’ll only get the equivalent to your old phone. You won’t get a new top-of-the-range phone with a higher spec than yours.

For details, check your policy terms and conditions.

How much is my mobile phone excess and when do I pay it?

Your mobile phone excess will depend on the value of your phone and the policy you take out.

Does it matter how old my phone is?

Yes, most insurance providers will only cover you within six months of buying the phone, although some offer cover up to one year from the purchase date.

You’ll need proof of purchase when making a claim, so keep hold of any receipts or card statements.

For a second-hand phone, you may need to get specialist refurbished phone insurance. And if you bought your phone on eBay or a similar auction site, you could find it hard to get cover, even if it’s brand new.

What should I do if my claim is rejected?

If your claim is rejected, take a look at your policy documents. Check your details are correct and find any wording that can prove you should be covered.

You may need to make a formal complaint with your insurance provider and send evidence to support your argument.

If you’re still unhappy after going through your provider’s formal complaints procedure, you can take your claim to the Financial Ombudsman – a free, independent service that will investigate.

Can I insure my children’s mobile phones?

You should check the age restrictions on any policy to make sure your children’s mobile phones will be covered. Many insurance providers won’t cover children under 16 or, in some cases, under 18.

You may need to add extra cover to ensure your child’s mobile is covered or look for a specialist policy.