Is mobile phone insurance worth buying?

Mobile phone insurance

My phone lies face down on the tarmac. It’s a 21st century Schrödinger’s cat – at this point it exists in two states: it’s escaped with barely a scratch and the screen has smashed into a thousand shards.

Unfortunately, as I turned my phone over, I realised it was the latter. I’d somehow got lost during my bike ride into work the first day back after a holiday. I’d checked Google Maps for directions and put my phone in my shorts pocket in case I needed its assistance again. Setting off, my phone unsurprisingly slipped out of my pocket, bounced two or three times along the pavement and came to rest on the curb about five metres back. Not only had the screen broken, but the force of the impact had also completely killed the phone.

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I knew I’d taken out insurance when I took out the contract – it was on the bill every month – but I wasn’t sure of the terms. The good: I had a replacement phone delivered to my door the next day – in the end, I was only 27 hours without a phone. The bad: I had to pay £100 and later found not only could I have had a lower excess, I’d also been overpaying every month for my phone insurance.

Do your research

Whether you think it’s worth insuring your phone is up to you. It’s nice to have the peace of mind that should your phone hit the floor or take a swim in the toilet you’re not going to have to fork out for a new one. But it can be pricey and sometimes not worth it for the value of your phone.

Invariably, when you take out a phone contract, you’ll be asked if you want insurance. But don’t be pressured to take it there and then.

Do your research. You don’t have to be insured by your phone provider and you may be able to get it cheaper elsewhere. If you decide you want to be covered by your phone provider, you can always take it out at a later date. But actually, you may already be covered. Mobile phones are sometimes included in home insurance and packaged bank accounts you pay a monthly fee for.

What phone insurance packages do the top networks offer?

If you’re with EE, you can either opt for full cover – which includes damage, theft and mobile security software – or damage and out-of-warranty breakdown cover. These start at £8 and £4 per month respectively, but it varies by phone. For instance, an iPhone 7 will cost £12 for full cover or £8 for damage. You can cancel it any point in your phone contract without any additional cost. Depending on the band of your phone, your excess can range from nothing to £100.

Three’s insurance is called ‘Three Rescue’. Much like EE, it offers both full and damage/breakdown cover. Unlike EE however, Three doesn’t cover corrupted software downloaded onto the phone. The number of claims you can make is also limited to two per year. For an iPhone 7, you’re looking at £8 for damage cover with an £80 excess or £14 full cover with a £100 excess.

O2 offers a damage-only plan as well as a wider coverage option against damage, loss and theft. There are four tiers for the full plan depending on what phone you have, with monthly prices starting at £3 with a £20 excess, climbing to £12.50 with a £60 excess. Damage-only cover is £6 per month with a £60 excess.

Vodafone and GiffGaff

Vodafone has a damage and breakdown plan or one that covers loss, theft, damage and breakdown. The excess depends on which of Vodafone’s two tiers your phone fits into but it only differs by a tenner. It’s £60 for Tier 1 or £50 for Tier 2. Tier 2 phone insurance is £5 for damage/breakdown, rising to £8 for wider coverage. More expensive Tier 1 phones, however, cost a little more to cover – £7 and £12 for the respective plans.

GiffGaff currently doesn’t offer any of its own insurance options. Instead, it simply directs you to advice on how you can get the best deal. GiffGaff’s advice is to… well… consult us.

Have you got mobile phone insurance? What has been your experience of making a claim? Let us know in the comments below.

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4 replies

  1. I’d be more interested in an article on insurance provided by third parties. I’ve had a gadget insurance policy through Adrian Flux that includes my smartphone and tablet for £40 a year for a while. I’ve never claimed though so can’t comment on that aspect.

  2. The best phone insurance is through Nationwide Flex Plus accounts – it covers 4 phones in your household with up to 2 claims every year. It comes as part of the packaged account (£10/month minus any interest you earn through the month) but that is cheaper than taking out some polices for one phone and you also get worldwide travel insurance (inc dangerous sports) and European motor breakdown assistance thrown in. For me it’s a no brainer. Excesses are low (£25 for Android damage, £50 for iPhone, both doubling for loss). I’ve claimed for 4 phones over the years and it was always completely hassle free (apart for one where I’d forgotten to update the IMEI number of their website so I claimed for the wrong phone and it took a couple of emails to my provider to sort out).

    1. We have the same Nationwide insurance in a packaged account, which we gratefully looked up when my daughter dropped her iphone and the screen smashed. However we found out that the excess was £50 and that we would have to send the phone away, possibly for a week or more, for a repair costing around £125, and some very involved process of getting an estimate, claiming, etc. We were about to go on holiday So she took it to a shop in town who fixed it for £30 on the spot. When I broke mine, I did the same and didn’t bother with the insurance., which doesn’t seem to be much use to us.

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