Cell phones are expensive devices. And naturally, you want to protect your investment. This is why you purchase a sturdy phone case and a screen protector. Additionally, you might purchase insurance for your cell phone—just in case of an accident or defect.
With insurance, you can file a claim and get your phone fixed or replaced if damaged. But while insurance offers a measure of protection, it’s important to understand exactly how it works, to avoid having your claims rejected.
Read the fine print
Cell phone insurance coverage varies depending on the company providing the insurance. So it’s important to read the fine print of your policy and know exactly what it covers, and what it doesn’t cover.
Don’t assume that all policies work the same. Whereas some insurance policies might cover loss or theft, others may only cover accidents and/or defects.
Sometimes you can choose between different plans with different coverage options. You’ll pay more for a comprehensive plan, but it is imperative to get adequate coverage. The cheapest policy isn’t always the best. For example, if you get a policy that doesn’t include theft, you could end up paying the full cost to replace a stolen phone.
Don’t let the policy lapse
If you purchase insurance through your cell phone provider, the cost of the policy is added to your monthly bill. Understand, however, you don’t have to get coverage through your provider. You can also purchase coverage directly from a third-party company.
If you choose this option, make your payment every month and don’t let your coverage lapse. Some companies provide a grace period for catching up any late payments. But if your payment isn’t received during this grace period, the company may cancel your policy and refuse to cover any claims you file. You can re-purchase a policy, but there’s usually a 30-day wait period to file a claim.
Don’t be careless with your phone
Although your insurance coverage may include accidental damage, some cell phone insurance policies limit your number of claims. Limits vary, but you might be only allowed six claims in a 12-month period. If you have multiple incidents with your phone and exceed your maximum, the company may reject any new claims or cancel your coverage altogether, hence the importance of understanding how your policy works.
You may have to provide a police report for a stolen phone
If your cell phone insurance covers theft, you might have to file a police report and submit it to the insurance company. Report any theft to the police and your insurance provider as soon as possible to avoid a claim rejection. Some companies will only accept claims filed within 60 days of loss or theft.
Companies that provide cell phone insurance receive numerous claims per day. And sometimes, a claim falls through the crack. Not hearing back doesn’t always mean that you’ve been rejected, but rather you’ve been overlooked. If you file a claim with your insurance provider and don’t hear back, don’t hesitate to follow up.
Accidents, loss and theft can happen when you own a cell phone. And without insurance, you’ll have to pay the entire replacement or repair cost yourself. For that matter, insurance can provide peace of mind and protect your wallet.
Be mindful of the fact that many insurance policies have a deductible. Depending on your deductible, you might pay $100 or more out-of-pocket before your insurance company picks up the tab. But while you’re responsible for some of the cost, this is certainly better than paying the entire cost.