So you’ve spent all this time and effort; expended all this energy researching and bargaining the best deals for you and finding your perfect playmate in mobile phone-form. But before you can get too comfy you have one more decision to make, one more hurdle to overcome: whether to get insurance or not, and if you do; the crucial question of which policy to sign up to.
Although most of your mobile phone’s life is spent snugly nestled into your handbag or pocket; life’s not always totally rosy for them. Not only can a split second of neglect from you lead to a shattered screen, or a drenched body, mobile theft is soaring; the Metropolitan Police alone claim that over 10,000 mobile phones are stolen every month.
Combine this with the price of replacing some of the latest smartphones which could cost around £600 to replace; all in all it’s probably a pretty good idea to sort yourself out with some insurance; especially if you’re tied into 18-24 month contract.
So, we’re going to outline some advice to help you find the best insurance plan for you and your treasured handset.
What to look for in an insurance plan:
Obviously different people need different things from insurance plans and you have to weigh up how much you are prepared to pay vs. how likely any of the following are to happen to you. For instance, if you travel a lot, ensure you find a policy with a comprehensive Overseas cover while if you have all the gadgets and gizmos that come with your mobile make sure you have a solid and generous Accessory cover.
It’s pretty much a balancing act – unless you want to pay up and be covered for the lot.
Here’s what you need to be looking for:
- Theft and loss
- Damage – either accidental or malicious (Liquid damage might not be included in this so double check)
- Worldwide cover
- Accessory cover
- Covers any user (if it’s been loaned to someone else)
- Excess (price of)
Finding the right policy for you:
It’s safe to say that the cheapest option is to add the phone to your home insurance, usually coming under a ‘possessions outside the home’ extra; which could cost as little as £30 a year. But there are downsides to taking this approach; you need to double check the policy’s excess (which could reach £100 – more than the policies offered by the major network providers) and you will need to consider the contents insurance. Many are now known to give significant no-claims discounts, meaning that your premium could explode if you make a claim.
So, while this is the cheapest option, it may well not be the right one for you. So here are some more options.
By this point you will presumably have sorted your contract and network provider, so giving you an in-depth run-through of the major provider’s insurance policies might be a little futile. But we will give you an overview and some good indicators just to illustrate their competitive stance within the insurance market.
The price of the policy will most commonly be divided into Bands (from 1 being the cheapest to 4 being the most expensive), depending on the value of your phone. The band your phone is in will also determine the cost of your excess. Take Vodafone. Band 1 costs £4.99 per month (£15 excess) while Band 4 costs £12.99 (excess £50). They both cover you for theft and loss, accidental or malicious damage, going abroad (for up to 30 days), accessories (up to a value of £200), damage while being used by other people, a courtesy phone and call protection (as long as you call to bar your number within 24 hours).
Most of the major providers' policies chime quite succinctly in time with Vodafone’s, give or take a pound or two here and there. Take Orange which offers a 3 tier system (Standard, Premium and iPhone Premium). They range in price from £6 - £12.50. Virgin differ slightly in that it costs £7.99 per month unless you’re a Virgin Media customer in which instance insurance is included for no extra charge.
But there are other ways to find a good, cheap insurance policy other than those of providers such as Vodafone, T-Mobile and o2. Take the growing trend of stand alone insurance companies such as mygadgetbuddy.com and insurance2go.co.uk. There are many comparison sites to help you with your research and find the best prices – some policies from as little as £2.93 per month are advertised on these sites. Take, for instance this comparison for an HTC Desire X on Mobile Phone Insurance Comparison:
Some of the pitfalls to watch out for:
While that all sounds well and good, you must also be sure to scan for those things which aren’t included. Although most of the major providers and stand alone comparison sites are clear about what is and isn’t included; you should still be on guard.
Vodafone for example don’t cover any damage that’s due to a manufacturing problem (but this will probably not matter if you have a good warranty period) but unlike Vodafone, some providers don’t cover the loss, theft or damage when your mobile is being used by someone else other than you. Most don’t include the excess you’d need to pay towards any claim made and some won’t cover a claim made within a certain period (for instance 30 days) of a previous claim.
Although most of these sound pretty standard and fair enough you should beware that claims can be turned down for any number of reasons – and some not so obvious. You have to be pretty snappy about the whole thing as various time restraints are in place. In some cases if you don’t report the loss within 24 hours they might refuse your claim. It’s also important to note that mobiles taken from schools or from public spaces, often including public transport, are rarely covered. The list goes on.
And finally, what to do to avoid these occurrences in the first place!
- However much you love your playmate and struggle to be without her, do not, I repeat DO NOT bath with her. Not only could you quite easily drop her in your steaming water, but the humid atmosphere might well damage her too.
- If she must accompany you to the bathroom, ensure she is placed safely and firmly on a shelf (not balancing on the sink corner, or on the floor) so that she is not in danger of being splashed, flushed down the pan, or even worse, crushed.
- Invest in a sturdy cover for her and a screen protector in case she’s dropped.
- Keep your eyes peeled when you’re using your phone out and about; you don’t want someone to dash by on a bike and snatch her from you.
- And finally, register your phone with immobilise.com (the national property register) – it's a great website that can help you recover your phone (and other property) and find the thief!
So in summary; work out and be sure of what you realistically want and need from a policy, then research it while being on guard so you don’t have a nasty shock if something goes wrong. There you go - that draws to a close our three-part blog series on ‘Choosing the Right Contract For You’. Now you are armed with the right handset, contract and protection information to go and enjoy your mobile.
Oh, and don’t forget; if you don’t listen to our very sensible advice and do happen to damage your phone (you silly sausage) you can still "sell my broken phone" with us here at OnRecycle and make yourself some easy cash: https://www.onrecycle.co.uk/. And don't forget to 'like' us on Facebook!