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Mobile phone insurance

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What is mobile phone insurance?

Mobile phone insurance covers you if you losedamage or have your mobile phone stolen. Depending on the policy you buy and what you’re claiming for, it could cover you for 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. 

It’s 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?

‘Damage’ protection is standard across most policies, but it’s worth asking your insurance provider exactly what’s covered under their terms and conditions, since the definition can vary. 

As a general rule, you’ll be protected against loss/theft, mechanical breakdown, battery malfunction, broken buttons and screen cracks. Your cover may also include your phone accessories, or even the apps, games or music you have stored on your device.

Depending on your policy, you may have to add extra cover for loss. However, the price of this optional extra won’t necessarily be higher if you’ve lost your phone several times in the past.

If your phone is stolen, you should normally be covered for any unauthorised calls from your device, and some policies may also cover you for fraudulent activity if your phone is linked to your debit or credit card.

Typically, most policies also cover water damage, but it’s worth checking – especially if you’ve been known to drop your phone in the bath.

Depending on the claim, your insurance provider may cover repairs or a replacement. You could also look for a policy that offers a rapid replacement service, although you’re likely to pay more for this type of cover.

What isn’t covered by mobile phone insurance?

As with most insurance policies, wear and tear isn’t usually covered. Cosmetic damage, like scratches to the handset, are normally also excluded, along with any intentional damage or faults caused by not following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Most policies won’t cover lost SIM cards and you may not be covered if you’re using a different SIM to the one on your policy - for example, if you’ve changed network providers but kept the same phone.

When it comes to loss or theft, your insurance provider is unlikely to pay out if they feel that you were careless, the incident was preventable or you could have taken reasonable steps to recover the phone. This means you’re unlikely to be covered if you leave your phone unattended in public, or you leave your phone in view and it’s stolen from your car or from a building with no sign of a break-in.

It’s important to report any instance of damage or theft to your insurance provider (and the police, if applicable) as soon as it happens. Some insurance providers may require you to either report the incident to the police or make a claim within a given time frame – often 24 hours or less.

You should also check whether your policy covers you while you’re abroad, especially if you’re away frequently or for an extended time. There could be limitations to overseas cover

Why do I need mobile phone insurance?

Whether or not you need mobile phone insurance really depends on how likely you are to lose or damage your phone. If you’re accident-prone or forgetful, it’s worth considering whether you’d be able to afford to replace your phone if it’s uninsured and damaged beyond repair.

How much does mobile phone insurance cost?

That depends on the make, model and age of your mobile phone, the level of cover you want, and the insurance provider.  

Most phone networks offer their own insurance, with prices starting from less than £3 per month. 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.

You might get a better deal by simply adding your phone to your home insurance policy. Check you excess though, to make to make sure it’s worth it. Also check whether mobile phones are covered as standard by your policy and whether your phone is covered when you’re out. If not, you can add cover for personal possessions outside the home. Standard home insurance might not include accidental damage to your phone, so this is another thing to check and add on, if necessary.

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.

How can I reduce the cost of 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 deal 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 did need to 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, should 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?

Possibly, yes. Some insurance providers might stipulate that you insure each device separately but others offer multi-device cover, which usually comes at a discounted rate. 

Will I get a new phone or will it be repaired?

That depends on the terms of your policy and what you’re claiming for. 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 18 months 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 normally can be found on the box of your device
  • 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 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 outside the home cover, which can cover you if your phone is 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?

Check your policy documents carefully. Ensure all of your details are correct and make a note of any wording in the policy terms that you think proves you should be covered, or any information that you think is misleading or ambiguous. Then call up your insurance provider’s complaints department or write a formal letter of complaint, including any evidence for 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.

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 and you may be able to extend the cover for accidental damage or to insure your mobile outside the home. It depends on the terms of your home insurance policy. 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?

The money we spend on downloading music, films and books can add up. Digital download cover can help if something happens to your device and your downloads are lost. This type of cover 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 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 the 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. You’ll need to tell us:

  • the rebuild value of your home
  • the level of cover you need

If you already have home insurance, it will be helpful if you have your current policy documents to hand.

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Chris King

Home insurance expert

"Could you manage without your mobile? Smartphones can cost hundreds of pounds. And it’s not just a case of financial investment – so much of our lives are on our phones. If you’re worried about the costs of repairing or replacing your mobile, then mobile insurance might work for you."

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