Mobile phone insurance: everything you need to know (2021)

By Adrian Vincent 16 Aug 2021, 20:22 Mobile phone insurance 2021

Mobile phone insurance is an additional monthly cost that you pay on top of your phone contract or tariff. An insurer will be covered under the FSCS.

In most cases, your phone will be covered against damage, loss and theft. Your policy may also cover other costs, such as unauthorised calls and app store fees.

Your provider may offer insurance when you buy your phone. Alternatively, you can choose your own insurer after you purchase your phone. Most policies require you to register your phone within 6 months of purchase.

It may not be worth paying for mobile phone insurance if you have an inexpensive phone or you are on pay as you go.

What is mobile phone insurance and what does it cover?

Mobile phone insurance will cover the cost of repairing or replacing your phone under certain circumstances.

You won’t always be able to make a claim, depending on how your phone was damaged or how it was lost / stolen.

Mobile phone insurance can be expensive and may not always be worth it.

When you purchase your phone, your network or provider may offer you insurance through a third party. However, in most cases, this is often more expensive compared to finding an insurance policy yourself.

Mobile phone insurance may be available as an additional benefit from your bank or home insurance policy, at no extra cost.

You will have to pay an excess whenever you make a successful claim, usually £25.

Insurance may cover the following:

  • Loss - You will be covered from loss whenever you misplace your phone and it cannot be found.

  • Theft - Your insurance may cover your phone if it is stolen, however it won’t be covered due to carelessness (for example, you left it unattended in a public space). You will be required to report any theft to the police within 24 hours and provide all references when making a claim.

  • Accidental damage - If you accidentally damage your phone, your insurer will try to repair your phone first before replacing it. They may accept your claim if they believe your phone was damaged deliberately or damaged due to to carelessness.

  • Breakdown - If your phone stops working unexpectedly, your policy should cover your phone for repair or replacement.

  • Battery wear - Phone batteries degrade over time. If the capacity of your battery has seriously degraded and it’s affecting the usage of your phone, it may be covered by your insurance.

Some policies may also cover additional cases:

  • Unauthorised calls - If someone makes unauthorised calls with your phone, including when your phone has been remotely hacked, your insurer may cover any costs incurred from your network.

  • Accessories - Any accessories included with your phone will be covered, and possibly accessories you have purchased separately.

  • Apps, media and content - Although possible, it is often difficult to assess the value of digital goods. This includes app store purchases, music and films. If you require your policy to cover digital goods, make sure to read the terms and conditions so you know exactly how and what is covered.

  • Water damage - Most policies will cover water damage, but this is not always the case.

What is not covered by mobile phone insurance?

What is not covered by mobile phone  insurance?

There are strict rules on what is covered and what is not. These rules are in place to prevent fraudulent claims or claims due to carelessness.

  • Damage from carelessness - If your insurer believes you have damaged your phone due to your own carelessness or negligence, they will not accept your claim in most cases. For example, you phone stops working as a result of being left in the rain.

  • Theft when unattended - Leaving your phone in a public space when unattended will not be covered under theft. For example, if you leave your phone unattended in a cafe and it is stolen.

Will I be eligible for mobile phone insurance?

Eligible for mobile phone insurance

Unlike other insurance policies, mobile phone insurance does not have a criteria for who is eligible and for who is not. You can get mobile phone insurance regardless of your job, salary, gender or previous circumstances.

The amount you will pay for your insurance is dependent on the value of your phone. If you are on a monthly contract, this may increase your premium.

Will I have to pay an excess when making a claim?

excess claim

When making a claim with an insurance company, you will have to pay an excess as agreed when you signed your policy.

Typically, this amount is £25 but can vary depending on the value of your phone and by what is covered in your policy.

The excess will go towards the cost of repairing or replacing your phone. The insurer will cover the remaining costs.

Compared to other insurance policies, most mobile phone insurance policies will not increase your premium when you make a claim.

When should I make a claim?

If you believe your policy will cover a potential claim, you should contact your insurance company as soon as possible.

If you take too long, your insurer may not accept your claim request.

  • Claiming when stolen - If your phone is stolen, you will need to make a claim within 24 hours. You should immediately report it to the police and note any references. Your insurer will ask for these references when making a claim. You will also need to contact your network so they can terminate the SIM card, in order to avoid unauthorised tariff charges. Your network will also send you a new SIM card for your replacement phone.

  • Claiming when lost - If you lose your phone, your insurer may require you to report it to the police before making a claim. If you’re unsure if you need to report the loss to the police, check the terms and conditions of your policy or contact your insurance company directly. You should do this as soon as possible in order to increase the chances of your claim being accepted.

  • Accidental damage - Take photos of any visible damage when you accidentally damage your phone. You may need this as evidence just in case your insurer disputes the condition of your phone. You should request a claim as soon as possible, in order to prevent any further degradation of your phone.

Is mobile phone insurance worth the cost?

If you have an inexpensive phone and you are on pay as you go, then mobile phone insurance may not be worth the cost. Long term, it will probably be cheaper to replace your phone out of your own pocket.

You should evaluate the current value of your phone and compare it to the monthly cost of insurance.

Remember, mobile phone insurance covers more than just the phone itself. If you’re on a contract and your phone is stolen, most policies will cover the bill of any unauthorised calls or other out of tariff charges. These costs can add up, particularly if premium calls or texts are made after theft.

You should also consider your personality and the area you live:

  • Clumsiness - If you’re a clumsy person and you have previously damaged your phone by accident, you may get value from an insurance policy.

  • Frequent loss - If you have lost your phone multiple times before and believe you will do so in the future, you may want to consider taking out insurance for your phone, in order to be covered for the next time you lose your phone.

  • Live in high crime area - If you live in an area with high crime and you believe you are more susceptible to theft, mobile phone insurance may be a cost effective solution.

  • You travel frequently - If you travel frequently, you will be more susceptible to loss or theft. Most mobile phone insurance policies include worldwide cover by default, but you should check this yourself.

There are many other situations to consider, such as if your insurance is required for business use. Everyone has different circumstances that can affect the value you will get from a mobile phone insurance policy.

If you don't have insurance and you need to replace your phone, you should consider purchasing a new mobile phone contract.

What should I know before getting mobile phone insurance?

Before you sign a new policy, you should be aware of the following:

  1. Check if you can get free insurance: Your bank or home insurance policy may cover insurance for your mobile phone at no additional cost. Home insurance for mobile phones is often limited in what is covered, so make sure you read the terms and conditions first

  2. Assess if self-insurance is more cost effective: If you have a cheap phone, it may be more cost effective to replace or repair your phone using your own money - known as self-insurance. Remember, phone insurance is usually paid monthly, and you need to pay an excess (usually £25) when making a claim.

  3. Understand what is covered: Every policy has different terms and conditions on what is covered. Make sure you read the small print in order to fully understand what is covered, and what is not covered.

How can I get mobile phone insurance?

How can I get mobile phone insurance?

There are many ways in which you can get insurance for your mobile phone.

In most cases, you will need to take out insurance within 6 months of purchasing your phone.

  1. When purchasing - Sometimes your provider will offer you mobile phone insurance when you purchase your phone or contract, usually from a third party company. More times and none, this is more expensive compared to finding your own insurance separately after purchasing.

  2. From your network - Some networks will provide you insurance if you ask for it. This is typically available only for customers who are on contracts with the network.

  3. From your bank or credit - If you pay a monthly fee with your bank or credit card, most will offer mobile phone insurance at no additional cost. They may also cover for an additional person in your household, and travel insurance. This may work out cheaper when you consider the other benefits your bank includes.

  4. With your home insurance - Home insurance will often include mobile phone insurance, however it’s often limited and may work out cheaper if you pay separately for mobile phone insurance. Home insurance will generally only cover theft from within your home and damage from fire. It will not cover other circumstances, unless stated otherwise. In addition, making a claim may increase your premium a considerable amount when you have to renew your policy, meaning it’s not cost effective to use your home insurance policy for your mobile phone.

Which networks offer mobile phone insurances?

You may be able to get mobile phone insurance directly from your network. You should check if you can find a better deal elsewhere beforehand.

Network Cost Worldwide Loss Theft Accidental damage Breakdown
EE Full Cover from £4.80 / month Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
EE Damage Cover from £2.40 / month Yes No No Yes Yes
O2 Full Cover from £6 / month Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
O2 Damage Cover from £3 / month Yes No No Yes Yes
Sky Mobile Protect from £1 / month Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tesco Phone Insurance from £4 / month Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Three Full Cover from £4 / month Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Three Damage Cover from £7 / month Yes No No Yes Yes
Vodafone Full Cover from £9.50 / month Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Vodafone Damage Cover from £6.50 / month Yes No No Yes Yes

EE mobile phone insurance

EE offer two different policies - Full Cover (from £4.80 per month) and Damage Cover (from £2.40 per month).

You can take out insurance or make a claim with EE by calling 150 from your EE number, or 07953 966 250 from any other number.

O2 mobile phone insurance

If you’re an O2 customer, you have 28 days to apply for insurance when you make a purchase or upgrade.

You can currently get Full Cover (from £6 per month) and Damage Cover (from £3 per month)

You can get insurance from O2 when you purchase your phone.

If you want to buy insurance after your purchase or you need to make a claim, you should call O2 from your O2 number on 202 or 03448090202 from any other number.

Sky Mobile phone insurance

Sky Mobile customers can get Sky Mobile Protect within 60 days of making a purchase.

If you’re an existing Sky customer and already have Sky Protect, you can add Sky Mobile Protect for an additional £1 per month.

To make a claim, you will need to pay an excess of £75.

Sky Mobile Protect covers worldwide loss, theft and accidental damage.

To get Sky Mobile Protect or make a claim, you should call 0800 497 0660.

Tesco Mobile phone insurance

Tesco Phone Insurance offers worldwide insurance from £4 per month for your device, including loss, theft and accidental damage.

You can get Tesco Phone Insurance by calling 0345 030 3290.

You can make a claim online or call 0345 030 3290.

Three mobile phone insurance

Three customers can get cover with Full Cover (from £7 per month) or Damage Cover (from £4 per month).

Accessories up to £300 included with your phone or made at purchase with your phone are covered.

You can get Three mobile phone insurance when purchasing your phone. You may also be eligible after purchasing by calling 333 from your Three number or 0333 338 1001 from any other number.

You can make a claim online or by calling 333 from your Three number or 0333 338 1001 from any other number.

Vodafone mobile phone insurance

Vodafone phone insurance is available to all pay monthly phone customers.

Plans include full cover (from £9.50 per month) and damage cover (from £6.50 per month). All plans include worldwide coverage.

If you have an Apple device, AppleCare is included with your insurance.

You can get Vodafone insurance when you purchase your phone contract, or up to 18 months after this date by calling 0333 304 3346. If you are eligible for AppleCare, you must apply within 60 days of purchase.

To make a claim, call 0333 304 3346.

How can I get mobile phone insurance for free?

Free mobile phone insurance

If you pay a monthly fee for your bank account, you may be eligible for mobile phone insurance at no additional cost.

Your home insurance policy may also cover your mobile phone, but within limited coverage.

Bank mobile phone insurance

If you pay to use your bank account, your bank will often provide you with a range of additional perks. Usually, mobile phone insurance is included, with worldwide coverage.

It may work out cheaper to upgrade your bank account to get mobile phone insurance, compared to taking out a separate policy from another company.

Visit your bank’s website for more information.

Home insurance mobile phone coverage

If you have home insurance, you may be able to cover your mobile phone for free or at a small additional cost.

However, we don’t recommended using your home insurance policy for your mobile phone - even if it’s included for free:

  1. Increases your overall premium if you make a claim, even for a small repair.
  2. Coverage only applies when at home
  3. Might not cover unauthorised calls
  4. Theft is only covered if your home is broken into
  5. Accidental damage from fire only

Speak to your insurer about what is covered.

FAQs

How can I get mobile phone insurance for free?

You bank or home insurance policy may include mobile phone insurance at no additional cost.

If my phone cannot be repaired, will it be replaced with a brand new phone?

Not necessarily. You insurer may replace your phone with a refurbished device, or a different phone of equivalent value.

How long will it take to repair my phone?

Typically, you should expect your phone to be repaired within 1 week.

If my phone is lost or stolen, how long will it take to get a replacement?

Some insurance companies deliver a replacement within 1 working day, however this is usually with more expensive premiums.

Other policies should deliver a replacement phone within 3 working days.

What's the difference between warranty and mobile phone insurance?

Mobile phone insurance must be paid with a monthly fee, and covers accidental damage. Some policies also cover loss and theft.

A manufacturer or retail warranty will typically last for 12 to 24 months, and will only cover faults that are not caused by you or someone else. Legally, a warranty is provided for free when you purchase your phone.