What is mobile phone insurance?
Mobile phone insurance covers you if you lose, damage or have your mobile phone stolen. Depending on the policy you buy and what you’re claiming for, it could cover repairs, a refurbished replacement or a brand-new phone.
It could be especially useful if you have an expensive handset or if you’re entering a long-term phone contract – particularly if you have a history of losing or breaking your phones.
Mobile phone insurance is also a good idea if you rely heavily on your mobile, perhaps for work, and you’d need to replace it quickly.
What does phone insurance cover?
As a general rule, the best mobile phone insurance policies will cover:
- Mechanical breakdown
- Battery malfunction
- Broken buttons
- Screen cracks
- Accidental damage
- Cover for phone accessories like a case, headphones and charger
- Unauthorised calls if your phone is stolen
- Fraudulent activity, if your phone is linked to your debit or credit card
- Water damage. If you accidentally drop your phone in the bath, for example
- Content and apps. Covers the cost of downloaded content and apps, like music, games, movies, and books
- Multiple phones
- Taking your phone with you overseas.
Depending on the claim you make, your insurance provider may cover repairs or a replacement. You could look for a policy that offers a rapid replacement service, although you’re likely to pay more for this type of cover.
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What isn’t covered by mobile phone insurance
Most mobile phone insurance policies don’t cover:
- Wear and tear from using your phone
- Cosmetic damage, like scratches to the handset
- Intentional damage
- Faults caused by not following the manufacturer’s instructions
- Lost SIM cards
- Damage caused when using a different SIM to the one covered by your policy
- Theft or loss because of carelessness. For example, leaving your phone unattended or where it can be seen in your car
- Theft of a phone that hasn’t been reported to the police
- Older phones. Some policies have a limit on the age of phones they’ll cover.
It’s important to report damage and theft to your insurance provider as soon as it happens. Some insurance providers will insist you do this within 24 hours. If your phone’s been stolen, you should report this to the police too.
You should also check whether your policy covers you while you’re abroad, especially if you’re away frequently or for an extended time. Your travel insurance may also cover your mobile phone.
Do I need mobile phone insurance?
Mobile phone insurance might be useful if:
- You’re prone to losing or breaking your phone
- Your phone would be too expensive to replace
- You have a long-term mobile phone contract
- You rely heavily on your phone and would need a replacement in a hurry.
What types of mobile phone insurance policies are available?
You can buy:
- A standalone mobile phone policy that just covers your phone
- Gadget insurance that can cover your phone and other devices, like laptops and tablets
- Home contents insurance that includes cover for your mobile phone.
If you’re considering contents insurance as a way to cover your phone, check the excess on the policy – the amount you pay towards a claim. It might be more than the value of your phone. And check whether your phone is covered when you’re out and about. If not, you can add on personal possessions insurance for an extra cost.
You might also want to include accidental damage cover for your phone, typically available as an add-on to home contents insurance.
How much does mobile phone insurance cost?
The cost of UK mobile phone insurance depends on the make, model and age of your mobile phone and the level of cover you want.
Most phone networks offer their own insurance. However, you need to check exactly what’s covered, as well as the excess you’ll need to pay and how quickly you’ll get a replacement phone or repairs carried out. The excess is how much you pay towards a claim. You might get a better deal by simply adding your phone to your home insurance policy.
If you have a packaged bank account, it’s worth seeing if mobile cover is included. It’s often offered as one of the benefits of monthly-fee current accounts. Make sure that the level of cover offered is enough for your device though.
If you want the most extensive mobile cover, choosing a specialist mobile phone or gadget policy might be your best option. Many mobile providers offer this. At the moment, you can’t compare standalone mobile or gadget insurance with Compare the Market. However, you can protect your mobile phone as part of your home insurance policy with us.
How can I get cheap mobile phone insurance?
Your network provider will likely offer insurance for your mobile when you take out your contract, but you can often find a cheaper deal by shopping around. Make sure you check the terms of any policy carefully, to make sure you’re getting the best mobile phone insurance for your needs.
You may be able to reduce your premiums by paying a higher excess, but make sure you’d still be able to afford the excess if you make a claim.
You could also try to save by self-insuring – putting a small amount of money away each week towards the cost of a new phone if you need it. And if you don’t, you get to keep what you’ve saved. On the other hand, if something does go wrong there’s no guarantee you’ll have enough saved to cover a new handset, which can run into the hundreds when not on contract.
Frequently asked questions
I have more than one mobile phone. Can I insure them together?
Some mobile phone insurance providers might stipulate that you insure each device separately but others offer multi-device cover, including family bundles, which usually comes at a discounted rate.
Will I get a new phone or will it be repaired?
Some insurance providers prefer to try to repair damage, in which case you may be without your phone for several days or longer while the repairs are carried out. Others may offer you a refurbished equivalent rather than a brand-new handset.
How much is my mobile phone excess and when is it paid?
The excess will depend on the policy you take out, but most mobile phone insurance providers will charge an excess of at least £50. After you’ve made an approved claim, you’ll need to pay the excess in order to proceed.
Does it matter how old my phone is?
Yes, most insurance providers will only offer cover that starts within six months of you buying your phone, although some offer insurance starting up to one year from the purchase date. You’ll need to have a copy of your proof of purchase when making any claim.
Be aware that you may have to get specialist insurance for second-hand phones and it could be difficult to get cover for phones purchased on auction sites, even if they’re brand-new.
What do I need to get covered?
You’ll need to provide the following details:
- The brand, make and model of your phone
- Some personal details such as your name, address and date of birth
- Where and when the device was bought (keep a copy of your proof of purchase for your records)
- The IMEI number, which is normally found on the box of your phone
- Any existing damage to the phone
- The level of cover required and the amount of excess you’re willing to pay.
You can’t currently compare standalone mobile phone and smartphone insurance with Compare the Market. But you can add your phone to your home contents insurance if it’s not covered as standard and add personal possessions insurance, which can cover your phone if it’s lost or stolen when you’re out and about.
How do I make a claim?
You should call your insurance provider as soon as possible when you realise you need to make a claim. There should be a helpline number provided in your policy documents. Normally, you’ll need to make a claim within a specified time period, and if you’re making a claim for a stolen device you may need to file a report with the police.
Your insurance provider should walk you through the next steps, including what documents you need to provide as evidence and any paperwork you need to fill in to proceed with the claim.
What should I do if my claim is rejected?
If your claim is rejected, check your policy documents carefully. Make sure all of your details are correct and make a note of any wording in the policy that you think proves you should be covered, or any information you consider misleading or ambiguous. Then call your insurance provider’s complaints department or write a formal letter of complaint, including any evidence to support your dispute.
If you’re still unhappy after going through the formal complaints procedure, then you can take your claim to the Financial Ombudsman – a free, independent service that will investigate your complaint.
For more information read our guide to rejected claims.
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 have to add extra cover to ensure your child’s mobile is covered or look for a specialist policy.
Can I claim for my phone on home insurance?
In some cases, yes. For example, your home insurance policy may well cover you if your phone is stolen from your house. You may also be able to extend the cover for accidental damage or if you take your mobile outside the home. Be aware, though, that you may have to pay higher excesses on your home insurance and, if you have to claim, you could face higher home insurance premiums in the future.
What is digital download cover?
Digital download cover offers cover should something happen to your phone and your downloads are lost. It may be included in standalone mobile phone insurance and in home insurance. Be aware that you often won’t be covered if you delete your downloads by mistake and that only downloads you’ve bought legally will be covered.
Where can I find mobile phone insurance?
You can’t currently compare standalone mobile phone and smartphone insurance with Compare the Market. But if you’re thinking about adding your phone to your home insurance policy or want to add on personal possessions insurance, we can help. We’ll find you quotes from a range of UK insurance providers, in a matter of minutes, so you can choose cover that’s right for you.
What do I need to get a home insurance quote?
We’ll ask you a few questions about you and your property, then show you a list of quotes to choose from, including optional extras. Just give us some details about:
- The property you live in
- When you’d like your insurance to start
- The value of the contents in your home – our comparison includes a contents calculator to help you.
If you already have home insurance, it will be helpful if you have your current policy documents to hand.Start a quote
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