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Updated on Monday, October 20, 2014
Not long ago, I wrote about how some banks offer coverage that will pay for any damage to your iPhone or other cell phone.
Little did I know I would need to use it right away.
Less than a week after activating my brand-new iPhone 6 64GB, an upgrade I waited 4 years to make, I managed to destroy it.
On a flight from California while reclining my seat I accidentally let the phone fall between the armrest and crush the screen in the process.
“That just cost $600,” said my seat mate.
First, you should rarely have to pay full retail for a replacement phone.
Even if you didn’t sign up for AppleCare, Apple has fixed rates for replacing a damaged phone, whether or not the damage is your own fault. It’s called ‘out of warranty’ replacement. For an iPhone 6 it’s $109 for screen damage, and $299 for more extensive damage.
Both are significantly less than the $649+ a new out of contract phone costs.
Second, if you bought the phone recently, your credit card may cover what you paid.
Many rewards and other credit cards have a benefit called ‘purchase protection.’ If an item you buy is damaged or stolen, you can get the full price you paid upfront refunded by your card company. That even includes accidents that are your fault.
I purchased my iPhone with an American Express card, and simply called the number on the back of my number to file a claim. It took about 15 minutes to get the paperwork started, and I was free to get the phone replaced by Apple. No need to send it back to American Express first.
The catch is they only pay for what you originally paid. In my case it was the $299, but they asked for no additional documents to verify my claim, which made it all painless. I also got to take advantage of the $109 screen damage repair price, and Amex still reimbursed me a full $299.
Third, if you’re out of purchase protection there’s another avenue.
As I noted above, some credit cards offer insurance for your phone as long as you pay your wireless carrier bill with the card.
Wells Fargo’s cards for example offer $600 in coverage. The coverage begins the month after you pay your bill with the card. For example, if you pay your bill in September with the card, the coverage begins on October 1. And there’s no limit on how long the coverage can last, as long as you keep paying your monthly bill with the card.
We keep a list of cards that offer this protection here.
This can often be a better deal than paying for damage insurance directly from your wireless provider, or even AppleCare.
Or, play it safe and invest in a really protective case.
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