Mobile Phone Insurance
A Complete Guide...
It’s no secret that tinhat sell mobile phone insurance, and we like to think that we offer some of the best value cover in the UK. However we know that our insurance policies aren’t going to suit everybody, and because of this we’ve written the guide below to help you to make the best decision you can about what insurance is right for you (if any). If you already know that you need mobile phone insurance, and just want to know what the options are, feel free to skip to the relevant section. We’ll be updating this guide regularly, and hope you find it useful.
Do You Need Mobile Phone Insurance?
If you go into a high-street shop and buy a mobile phone on contract, the salesperson might give the impression that everyone buys mobile phone insurance. This simply isn’t true, and you need to decide for yourself whether the cost is worth it.
How likely are you to drop your phone?
If you’re frequently dropping your phone and/or cracking the screen then insurance is a no brainer. But if you only damage your phone once a year then it might be cheaper to get the phone repaired yourself. Here’s a quick comparison of the insurance and repair costs for an iPhone 6s:
|Cracked screens per year||Cost to insure||Cost to repair|
*cost to insure based on 12 months of cover at £6.49 a month, plus £50 excess for each claim.
Cost to repair based on current Apple iPhone repair costs.
How likely are you to lose your phone?
If you lose your phone, damage it beyond repair or have it stolen, you’re faced with having to replace it. Smartphones can cost anything from £100 to £800 – so unless you have a very cheap phone, an insurance policy could save you a lot of money.
…so should you self-insure?
Self-insuring simply means putting some money aside each month so that if something goes wrong with your phone you have enough money to repair or replace it yourself. If nothing goes wrong then you have a pot of cash that you can then use to buy a new phone later on, or just treat yourself to something completely different.
If you have a very low value phone (less than £100 when new) or you’re only likely to damage your phone once a year, then self-insuring is a viable option. You could put £10 aside each month and save enough cash to repair or replace your phone assuming that you’re careful. If your phone is more valuable, and you’re likely to break your phone more than once a year or lose it, then self-insuring becomes a very costly option.
Also worth noting: Self-insuring won’t cover the cost of unauthorised phone usage if your mobile is lost or stolen, and you’ll need to factor the cost of accessories into the amount you save each month. It really only works for careful users who are unlikely to lose or damage their phones, and perhaps have a bit of cash in reserve already. This is because if you have an accident early on you won’t have saved enough to cover the costs of a repair or replacement.
Are You Already Covered?
As mobile phone insurance has grown in popularity, a huge range of businesses are offering it to their existing customers. It’s possible that you already have insurance for your phone and just don’t realise it:
Premium current accounts
If you pay a monthly fee for a premium bank account then it’s likely that you have mobile phone insurance included in the bundle. There are pros and cons to this, so jump down to find out more about bundled mobile insurance.
Many home contents insurance policies will cover your mobile while it’s being used at home, but most will require you to pay an additional premium to keep it cover for accidental damage, loss and theft while away from the home. Jump down to find out more about insuring your mobile on home insurance.
Mobile phone networks
If you bought your mobile phone from a mobile phone network like Three, EE, O2 or Vodafone, it’s likely that you were asked if you wanted to add mobile phone insurance to your contract. If you can’t recall whether you did, try giving the network a call or dig out your original paperwork. Mobile phone networks often offer good insurance products, but jump down to read more and see how mobile phone networks compare.
Is your cover right for you? If you already have insurance with one of the above providers it’s possible that you didn’t shop around much, or look at the terms and conditions of your policy. There are pros and cons to each of these products, and a number of alternative options available, so read on to find out if your existing mobile phone insurance is right for you.
Need Insurance? What Are Your Options?
If you don’t already have a mobile phone insurance policy, or you aren’t happy that your current one offers good value, the section below is for you. We’ve produced a list of all of the different types of phone insurance available, along with the pros and cons of each.
Specialist Standalone Mobile Phone Insurers
“Can be a great balance of affordable premiums, comprehensive cover and low excesses – as long as you read the terms and conditions”
Standalone mobile phone insurance companies offer cover that’s tailored to mobile phones and other portable gadgets, and primarily sell online. You might expect this to make comparison simple, but the costs, levels of cover, exclusions and service levels can vary quite a bit. As such, most comparison sites primarily focus on ranking gadget insurers on cost – but that isn’t necessarily how you should approach buying your policy. We’ve listed a huge range of UK mobile insurance providers below, along with some useful details about their costs and policy terms which we hope will help you to make an informed decision about which is right for you.
|Provider||Monthly Cost||Max Excess||Instant Cover?|
|Protect Your Bubble||£8.49||£75||Yes|
|By Mobile Phone Insurance||£8.98||£125||Yes|
|Insure My Pocket||£9.99||£70||Yes|
*based on insuring an iPhone 6s 16GB for accidental damage, theft and loss.
This table demonstrates that while premiums don’t vary significantly between suppliers, the excess charges do. Many standalone insurers use high excesses to help reduce their premiums and make their polices appear more competitive, and it isn’t always obvious when this is the case. Some insurers have additional excesses that are payable in a number of circumstances, for example – claims within the first 3 months, damage/loss claims, claims abroad, and second and subsequent claims. This means that it’s always worth reading the terms and conditions before purchasing.
- Relatively low premiums.
- Very low excesses if you shop around.
- Separate policy won't affect other no claims.
- Unlikely to get a next day replacement.
- Can get stung by excesses if not careful.
- You aren't always covered immediately.
Home Contents Insurance
“Cheap premium, but excesses can be very high and you can risk your no claims bonus”
We covered home insurance briefly earlier on in the guide, and it is worth considering as an option for insuring your phone. You’ll need to have a look at the terms of your existing contents insurance policy, but most will require that you pay an additional premium in order to insure your phone for damage, theft and loss while out and about. This tends to be about £25 to £35 per phone, but varies by provider. Check your excess too. While most policies will have a compulsory excess, many people opt for a voluntary excess too to reduce their annual premium. If your excess is a couple of hundred pounds then it’s likely to be a lot more expensive to claim for a phone accident than if you have a separate policy. You should also check to see if mobile phone related claims will affect your no claims bonus and result in an increased premium the following year. Dedicated mobile insurance policies don’t go up in price if you have a claims history, but contents insurance usually does.
- Cheap to insure (usually £25 to £35 per year).
- Some home insurers will give you cash instead of replacing your phone.
- It's quite convenient to have everything covered under one policy.
- Excess is likely to be quite high (perhaps around £200).
- You could lose your no claims discount if you claim.
- Home insurers tend to take longer to replace your phone.
Premium Bank Accounts
“Only good value if you use the other included benefits, like travel and breakdown cover”
Most current accounts are free to use, however a number of banks offer a premium account that comes with a number of benefits and has a monthly subscription fee. They usually come with a combination of mobile phone insurance, travel insurance and breakdown cover. If you already have one of these accounts, and you use all of the benefits then the mobile phone insurance that’s included might suit your needs – however if you’re only using it for the mobile insurance then you might get a better deal elsewhere.
The monthly cost and excesses are generally higher than standalone insurers, and are much closer to those of mobile phone network policies. You’re unlikely to get the same level of service as with a mobile phone network though, with repairs and replacements typically taking several days. We’ve compared the costs of the major banks below:
|Bank||Monthly cost||Excess||Need to register?|
|Barclays||£9.50||£25 damage. £50 theft & loss. Double for iPhone||Yes|
|TSB||£9.95||£50 damage, theft & loss. £100 for iPhone||No|
|Bank of Scotland||£9.95||£50 damage, theft & loss. £100 for iPhone||No|
|Lloyds||£9.95||£50 damage, theft & loss. £100 for iPhone||No|
|Halifax||£10||£30 damage, theft & loss. £100 for iPhone||No|
|Nationwide||£10||£25 damage. £50 theft & loss. Double for iPhone||No|
|Natwest||£12||£75 damage, theft & loss. £100 for iPhone||No|
*prices compared 19/05/2016
- Often don't need to register the phone.
- Only good value if you use additional services.
- High excesses
- Fairly long wait times
Mobile Phone Networks
“Only good value if you use the other included benefits, like travel and breakdown cover”
Insurance form your mobile network operator is typically the most expensive, but they offer a level of service that few can compete with. Insurance from the likes of O2 and Three typically features a next day replacement policy, but the premiums can be as much as £12 a month and excesses can be up to £100 on high value devices. If cost isn’t important to you, and replacement speed is your priority, then insurance from your mobile phone network is probably your best bet. Do bear in mind that most networks require that you purchase the insurance policy within a certain number of days of buying the phone, so if you’ve had it for a few months already you’ve probably missed your chance. Here’s a quick comparison of the policies offered by the UK networks:
|Network||Monthly cost||Excess||Time to replace||Replace abroad?|
*prices compared 19/05/2016. Based on an iPhone 6s 16GB.
- Fast repairs and replacement (usually next day).
- Convenient to only have to call one company if your phone is lost or stolen.
- High premiums and excesses.
- Have to insure phone very soon after purchasing.
“Limited cover for accidental damage and mechanical breakdown”
All mobile phone manufacturers offer warranties on their products, but some also offer insurance policies. These are usually at an additional cost, and largely cover accidental damage so might not be a viable option for you if you’re also worried about loss of theft. We’ve listed all of the manufacturers that have policies like this available in the UK, along with costs and levels of cover:
|Apple||up to £109 a year||up to £79||2 x accidental damage|
|Wileyfox||£9.99 a year||None||1 x screen repair|
The cover provided is pretty limited, and is only available from a handful of manufacturers. The insurance policy is usually specific to the device that you bought, so if you change your phone at any point it’s unlikely to be covered.
- We're struggling to think of any.
- Very low level of cover.
- Limited claims.
- Specific to the phone you buy.
Need Insurance? What Are Your Options?
It really is up to you to decide how to insure your phone, but we hope that this guide has helped you to make an informed decision about what type of cover is right for you. To summarise, here are the main features of each of the options we covered:
- Self-insuring – great if you’re a very careful user and have a low value phone.
- Standalone insurance – can be a great balance of affordable premiums, comprehensive cover and low excesses – as long as you read the terms and conditions.
- Home insurance – cheap premium, but excesses can be very high and you can risk your no claims bonus.
- Premium bank accounts – only good value if you use the other included benefits, like travel and breakdown cover.
- Mobile phone networks – the best service around, with next day replacement – but this comes at a cost.
- Manufacturer insurance – limited cover for accidental damage and mechanical breakdown.