Cell phones have become one of the most used gadgets by consumers; in the US just about every person you interact with has a cell phone. More recently, owning a high-end and expensive cell phone that has the newest technology has become the norm. If you aren’t carrying an iPhone or the newest Android device, you are behind.
We buy the best phones that can accomplish almost everything that our computers can, and we use them for work to playing entertaining games. However, these phones can be pricey and we pay for them in our expensive monthly wireless bills which most of us are required to pay for at least 24 months per contract. But what happens when your brand new iPhone breaks, is stolen, or is lost? I’m not referring to lost in your couch, I’m talking about lost as in you left it on the bus to work and will probably never see it again.
When you buy a new cell phone and extend your wireless contract, you only have to pay a reduced subsidized price for your cell phone. However, to buy a replacement cellphone outright, it can very expensive. Almost all smartphones are several hundred dollars, some close to a thousand. I personally don’t have the extra cash, so I protect my phone with a case, and I use cell phone insurance.
Just like you pay to insure your car, you should insure your cell phone. Think about it, you use your cell phone everyday. It becomes a necessity, and you probably would be lost without it. And because you take it everywhere with you, the chances of it becoming damaged are higher than if it were to sit at home all day long. Most consumers sign up for an insurance plan directly through their wireless carrier. Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, they all offer insurance. But for those of you that skipped out on insurance, or are looking for an alternative, consider using a third-party cell phone warranty service. A few thing worth mentioning first. While Manufacture Warranty will provide you assistance against hardware failures, it will NOT cover accidental damage such as from drops and spills. So to those with expensive smartphone like an iPhone or other Android devices, you either have to take very good care of your phone as if it was a new born, or you’ll need something that will reassure you, like an extended warranty.
SquareTrade is an extended warranty service provider for consumer electronics and appliances including cell phones and tablets. The company, headquarted in San Francisco, offers their warranty services through their website, as well as through large online and in-store retailers such as Costco and Amazon.
According to SquareTrade, “drops, spills, water damage, battery failures or any other failures from normal use or accidental damage” are all covered under their plans. This is the key difference between SquareTrade’s insurance and other coverage options such as AppleCare.
While I have never use the company’s warranty service for laptop or other electronic devices, I personally have used SquareTrade’s services for a cell phone because it costs less money than the monthly Asurion fee to insure my phone with Verizon. SquareTrade provides the following with their warranty:
- 2-year coverage from date of purchase: drops, spills & hardware failures
- Fixed or receive full replacement cost in 5 days or less – guaranteed
- Free 2-way shipping for repairs
- 100% parts and labor covered – deductible applies
- Fully transferable with gifts. Cancel anytime, full refund in first 30 days.
It is important to fully understand what you are receiving with this warranty. Unlike phone insurance directly from your wireless carrier, SquareTrade will only provide coverage for broken cell phones. Lost or stolen phones don’t qualify for a replacement. This I’m not to happy about, but I suppose this policy prevents fraudulent claims. Additionally, you can only replace your phone once per your 2-year term with SquareTrade whereas some wireless providers allow you to replace the phone multiples times. You must purchase your SquareTrade iPhone warranty within 30 days of purchasing your iPhone.
As you know, I have several phones on my family plan. A few months ago, one of the phones was broken from water damage and could not be revived. I initiated a claim on the SquareTrade.com website and they provided me with clear instruction on how to have my iPhone replaced. My first option was to bring it to the Apple store to be fixed, in which SquareTrade would pay for the repair costs. The second option was to mail SquareTrade my damaged phone and they would replace it or I could choose for them to fix it themselves. They also pay for shipping both ways. However, keep in mind that unlike car insurance, SquareTrade will not give you cash in exchange for your broken phone.
I decided to request a replacement. I filed a Claim with SquareTrade and paid the deductible that same day (Tuesday) and shipped it out on Wednesday. SquareTrade supplied a UPS Next Day air shipping label and confirmed receipt of the device on Thursday. By Friday evening, I received an e-mail that a replacement device would be shipped back to me, UPS Next Day Air Saver. Had the next day not been Saturday, I would have received the device four days after I shipped it off–a great turnaround! I had the device in hand on Monday. The only part I wasn’t completely happy with was that I received a used replacement iPhone in refurbished condition. It worked great but would have been nice to receive a brand new phone.
The pricing for a SquareTrade is a $125 lump sum for a two-year plan or you can choose to pay $7.99 per month. Then there is a $99 deductible if anything goes wrong.
For example, if you break an iPhone 5s 16gb phone, your total cost will be $224 ($125 fee plus $99 deductible).