With the imminent arrival of the much heralded Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone7 Plus, the excitement for many is rising.
You may or may not want to buy an iPhone 7 and with a price tag of between £599 and £900 depending on the model, that may be a stumbling block for you.
If you do decide to buy one or indeed buy many of the latest new smartphones, the high price tag may mean that you would struggle to replace it out of your own pocket should it be lost, stolen or damaged.
Sticking with the Apple iPhone for a moment, Apple offer AppleCare+, a warranty scheme for the new 7 series of iPhones.
It costs £119, and provides two year’s cover for the handset and technical software support.
Is this though your best solution for getting smartphone insurance? Possibly. There are though other options you may want to consider.
Standalone mobile phone insurance policy
This is a standalone insurance policy that you can buy for your mobile phone that will provide cover if your smartphone is lost, stolen or damaged. The policy may also provide cover for accidental damage, unauthorised calls, apps, games, music and other valuable digital content, protection in the UK and abroad and, for phone accessories.
As with all insurance cover, policies can vary widely in terms of what they cover and the level of cover. It is important you take the time to understand both what is covered and what is not covered. Understand too what the excess amount is that you need to pay should you need to make a claim. Often this will be more if your phone is lost or stolen than if it is damaged.
Whilst having many advantages, these policies can be expensive and therefore it is worth your while shopping around to compare premiums and cover levels.
It is worth considering whether you want to get insurance for just one smartphone, perhaps your new iPhone, or whether you want to cover multiple phones in your household. You may want to extend it to wider gadget insurance, to cover tablets and laptops in your home.
There are a number of options and it is worth first considering carefully what cover you really need. Opting for multi-device or gadget insurance may well be good value for you. We’ll be taking a closer look at that soon so do come back and see what we’ve found out.
Home contents insurance
The vast majority of home contents insurance policies provide some protection for mobile phone handsets while in the home.
The level of cover though can vary vastly, from not much more than £100 to thousands of pounds.
Equally, invariably a number of exclusions and restrictions will apply.
For example, of those policies that provide cover, whilst theft is automatically included, accidental damage to your phone will only be covered as standard by a small percentage of them. This means that with the majority of home insurance policies, you will have to specifically extend your policy to include accidental damage in order to cover damage to your mobile. Be aware too that around a fifth of policies actually exclude this cover.
Few policies will cover your mobile phone while you are out and about.
The majority require you to buy additional personal possessions cover to insure your personal belongings away from home against loss, theft or accidents. Cover also generally only applies to the handset rather than data or unauthorised calls and there is a wide variation in the levels of cover provided.
Consider too the need to replace digital information should you mobile phone be lost or damaged. Most home contents policies include cover for this but the level of cover varies considerably.
Any claim made for loss, damage or theft of your phone will be subject to a policy excess, perhaps £25 or £50 or maybe more, and this may be higher on a home insurance contents policy than on a dedicated mobile phone policy.
Finally, be warned, if you make a claim on your home insurance your premium may increase when it comes up for renewal.
Packaged Current Accounts
You may find that your current account provides insurance cover for your smartphone or iPhone. Around a quarter of accounts include mobile phone insurance, which depending on the policy will pay out for loss, theft or accidental damage to your handset as well as cover for breakdown, phone accessories and unauthorised calls.
You’ll need to check the specifics of your account as the total amount you can claim will vary as will the amount you can claim on the different elements of the cover.
Home insurance expert, Ben Wilson comments, “Smartphones take a lot of stick – we all know of someone who has dropped, dented or drowned their device and repair or replacement costs can be eye-watering. So, if you’re investing in a new smartphone it is well worth taking the time to look at your insurance options and making sure you pick one that meets your individual needs.
“While insurance can give you a financial buffer against unforeseen losses, it won’t protect against carelessness – insurers expect you to take reasonable care of your possessions. So, for example, you may not be covered for the theft of your smartphone if you left it unattended in a public place.”
Ben Wilson continued, “Not all insurance policies cover data and unauthorised calls. But, if your phone is lost or stolen, there are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself against hefty charges for unauthorised use and replacing data. Get into the habit of backing-up data regularly. Use passcodes to protect your handset and data and, download and activate an app such as findmyiphone which will help trace a lost or stolen handset as well as allowing you to remotely erase data.
“If your phone is lost or stolen contact your provider asap, ideally within 24 hours. This will enable your provider to stop any calls being made on your account and will limit the amount you can be charged for unauthorised use.”
Diane Ray, MoneyHighStreet comments, “With the ever rising costs of smartphones and their continual use, don’t put your head in the sand and think yours will never get dropped, damaged, stolen or lost.
“It happens to us all at some point – my husband managed to put his iPhone in the wash and my son dropped his Motorola in just the last couple of months. Taking the time to consider your insurance options, as Ben suggests, is vital.
“We are embarking on this journey ourselves. Our daughter has just invested in an iPhone 6S. She didn’t want to wait for an iPhone 7 and after much saving of birthday and christmas money she wanted to buy her first smartphone bought with her own money.
“Immediate thoughts are to look closely at the separate mobile phone insurance. We’ll keep you posted on our findings so do come back soon to find out how we’re getting on.”