Do I still need to pay my contract if my phone is lost or stolen?
Unfortunately, if your phone is lost or stolen, you will still need to continue paying the monthly bills for the remaining duration of your contract. A phone contract is a legal obligation, and only in extreme circumstances will a network be willing to terminate it.
Contact your network as soon as your phone is lost or stolen. They will send you a replacement SIM card, free or charge.
However, if you don’t have insurance, you will still need to pay for a replacement phone.
You can get a replacement phone from your network, or choose to obtain your own replacement phone.
If you choose to get a replacement phone from your network, you will likely have to pay a fee. This amount can vary, depending on the phone and type of contract you have.
If you’re on a plan where the tariff and device are separate, such as with O2 Refresh, you can usually get a replacement phone without paying an upfront fee, or by paying a small upfront fee. In such a case, you will be taking out a new contract for the device, with the amount split over several months. You will still be obligated to pay the remaining monthly bills for your old phone’s contract.
Alternatively, you can choose to purchase your own replacement phone, such as from Amazon. The replacement SIM card sent by your network will be able to pair with your replacement phone.
- Can I make a claim if I have insurance?
- What to do if your phone is lost or stolen
- Will I be able to get a replacement SIM card?
- What will happen if I stop paying for my phone contract?
Can I make a claim if I have insurance?
If your phone is lost or stolen but it's covered by an insurance policy, you should be able to make a successful claim with your insurance company. They will replace your phone with the same or better model, or pay you the equivalent amount for your phone at the time it was lost or stolen.
However, you’ll still need to continue paying the remaining monthly bills for your phone contract. This is not an area that will be covered by insurance.
If provided with a replacement phone, you will be able to use it with the replacement SIM card provided by your network.
In some cases, home contents insurance policies may cover your phone if it's lost or stolen within your home.
Some bank accounts also come with mobile phone insurance policies at no additional cost. Make sure you contact your bank to find out if you’re covered.
For more information, see our guide on mobile phone insurance.
What to do if your phone is lost or stolen
If your phone is lost or stolen, contact your network immediately - ideally within 24 hours.
Your network will be able to block your old SIM card so it can no longer be used. They will also send you a replacement SIM card with the same phone number.
In addition, most networks will cover up to £100 of unauthorised calls as long as you report a lost or stolen phone within 24 hours. Any unauthorised calls over £100 may not be covered, depending on the discretion of the network.
If you’ve been using the same phone provided with your contract, your network will also be able to block your phone from being used.
If your phone has been stolen, immediately report it to the police by contacting the non-emergency 101 number, or by visiting your local police station. If you know your phone’s IMEI number, the police will also be able to block your phone from being used.
You should also be able to remotely wipe and block your phone if you have an Android or iPhone. Android phones can be remotely wiped and blocked by logging into Find My Device with your Google Account. If you have an iPhone, you can remotely wipe and block your device by logging into Find Devices with your Apple iCloud account.
Will I be able to get a replacement SIM card?
Your network will be able to provide a free replacement SIM card if your phone is lost or stolen. Your old SIM card will be blocked, and your phone number will be transferred to the new SIM card.
If you want a new phone number for security reasons, your network should be able to provide you with one. However, make sure you don’t have any online accounts with 2FA (two-factor authentication) linked to your old phone number, or else you will be locked out of these accounts.
What will happen if I stop paying for my phone contract?
Refusing to pay your phone contract for the remaining months is the worst thing you can do, even if your phone has been lost or stolen.
Failure to pay will put you into debt and negatively affect your credit score. This will leave a mark on your report for 6 years.
As a result, this may prevent you from taking out future credit cards, loans and mortgages.
Your debt may also be passed onto a debt collection agency.
See our guide on struggling to pay your phone contract if you can no longer afford the monthly bills.
Do I need to pay off my phone contract if it’s been lost or stolen?
Yes, unfortunately you will still need to pay for your phone contract, even if it’s lost or stolen. A phone contract is a legal obligation - failure to pay will put you into debt.
Will a network replace my phone if it’s lost or stolen?
If your phone is lost or stolen, most networks will be willing to replace it, however you will usually have to pay for the replacement device.
Some networks may allow you to take out a new phone contract, so you can split the payments over several months without having to pay the whole upfront amount.
However, you will still need to continue paying the remaining months on your previous phone contract.
Will my SIM card be replaced if my phone is lost or stolen?
Yes, your network will replace your SIM card free or charge. Your old SIM card will be blocked, and your phone number will be transferred to the replacement SIM card.