5-minute guide to mobile phone insurance

What is mobile phone insurance?

Mobile phone insurance typically covers theft, accidental damage, liquid damage, mechanical breakdowns and loss. Depending on the insurer it may also cover your phone abroad, and include unlimited repairs, as well as cover for unauthorised calls - in case it falls into the wrong hands.

Who needs it?

We all know someone who seems to have a natural talent for losing or breaking their phone. Mobile phone insurance is good for peace of mind, covering the valuable gadgets we rely on and carry around with us on a daily basis.

Higher risk groups are those aged 16-24 year olds, who are more likely to be targeted by thieves, while those who live with young children may claim more for breakages.

The average phone stolen is worth £206

But mobile cover may suit anyone with a pricey smartphone they’d be hard pressed to fork out hundreds of pounds to replace. Many of us take out phone contracts that come with a ‘free’ phone. It’s not actually free of course - the cost of the mobile is simply spread across your monthly payments.

Because of that, many people are unaware of the true cost of their handset, and get a nasty shock when it gets lost or stolen and realise it’ll cost them £619 to replace their iPhone 6 Plus.

According to Protect Your Bubble data, almost a quarter (24%) of all handsets stolen are worth more than £300, while the average phone stolen is worth £206. Bear in mind that it's not unheard of for an unlucky person to lose two phones in a year, and break their screen, too.

Is my smartphone covered by home insurance?

Some home contents insurers will also cover your gadgets, but they may not cover these away from your home, so check your terms and conditions.

If you rely on your home contents policy to cover your smartphone and you have to make a claim, it may affect your renewal premium and any no claims bonus. You may also want to check the excess amount you’ll need to pay for a successful claim.  Specialist gadget insurers typically don’t increase your premium if claims are made, and the excess may be lower than a home insurance policy and will likely stay the same too.

Decent specialist mobile insurance should include cover for unauthorised calls, which general home contents insurance doesn’t usually cover.

And thieves racking up charges to premium rate numbers is quite common - almost one in five (19%) Brits aged 16-24 have had their mobile phones stolen and unauthorised calls made from their handsets according to survey data from Protect Your Bubble.

If you’ve got university-age children, specialist cover may also be good for them. Some home insurance policies offer cover for students temporarily living away from the home, but that is may only for items in their accommodation - not for portable items like mobile phones and laptops when taken outside the home. Another drawback is that if your kids make a claim on your home policy, it may affect your premium and any no-claims bonus you might have.

Will my travel insurance cover my mobile abroad?

If you lose your gadgets abroad and think your travel insurance will pay out for a £500 smartphone, think again. Some travel policies have 'single article limits' of £200-£300, so they may only pay out for individual items up to that value.

Take care of your smartphone

Insurers ask policyholders to take care of their gadgets and not knowingly leave them where they’re likely to be lost, stolen or damaged. A good gauge is, if you wouldn’t leave your purse or wallet there, don’t leave your phone there.

If you’re careless with your mobile, you may find that your insurer won’t pay out. For example, if you were working in a cafe and you left your laptop and phone in the charge of a stranger sitting nearby whilst you nipped to the bathroom, and they were stolen, it’s likely that claim would be declined.

Questions to ask before you take out a policy:

  • Could I afford to replace my phone myself if it was lost or stolen, and pay for repairs if it breaks?
  • Will the insurer cover my phone as standard if I go abroad?
  • What is the excess charge?
  • Does the insurer cover unauthorised call charges?
  • How many claims can I make in one year?
  • Have I kept proof of purchase?
  • Does my bank account already provide mobile phone insurance?  Some paid-for accounts do.

Thanks to Stephen Ebbett of specialist gadget insurer, Protect Your Bubble, for sharing these tips. You can find our more about mobile phone and gadget insurance here.

  • Read our review of iMend's repair service here. Plus find out about the smartphone than can help those with hearing problems here.