iPhone Insurance: The Great Big Comparison (2011 Edition)

So you’ve bought a new iPhone. Maybe it’s a second hand 3G, maybe it’s an iPhone 4 or maybe you’ve managed to get your hands on the new iPhone 5. Either way you’re now thinking…

“SH**! what happens if  I lose or break this?”

We’ve all been there (well the team here at iPhoneBloggers, anyway) and had all done quite a bit of research on the subject ourselves. It seemed a shame not to share it, especially considering we all have (and love) iPhones and had done quite a lot of research on the subject already.

Let’s Start Off Easily… The Comparison Table

[Just about everything you need to know is in this comparison table. The report goes into more depth as to why you might need insurance, or how these insurers compare to say O2 or Carphone Warehouse, but I think it's fair to say that all of the key facts are included here. - James, Editor ]

Company Theft Damage Loss Water Damage Worldwide Est Cost p/m More Info
protectyourbubble iPhone Insurance: The Great Big Comparison (2011 Edition) tick iPhone Insurance: The Great Big Comparison (2011 Edition) tick iPhone Insurance: The Great Big Comparison (2011 Edition) £1 p/m tick iPhone Insurance: The Great Big Comparison (2011 Edition) 60 Days £7.99 Check Below
insureandgo iPhone Insurance: The Great Big Comparison (2011 Edition) tick iPhone Insurance: The Great Big Comparison (2011 Edition) tick iPhone Insurance: The Great Big Comparison (2011 Edition) tick iPhone Insurance: The Great Big Comparison (2011 Edition) tick iPhone Insurance: The Great Big Comparison (2011 Edition) 90 Days £5.62 Check Below
insurance2go iPhone Insurance: The Great Big Comparison (2011 Edition) tick iPhone Insurance: The Great Big Comparison (2011 Edition) tick iPhone Insurance: The Great Big Comparison (2011 Edition) tick iPhone Insurance: The Great Big Comparison (2011 Edition) tick iPhone Insurance: The Great Big Comparison (2011 Edition) 30 Days £5.42 Check Below
betterbuyinsurance iPhone Insurance: The Great Big Comparison (2011 Edition) tick iPhone Insurance: The Great Big Comparison (2011 Edition) tick iPhone Insurance: The Great Big Comparison (2011 Edition) tick iPhone Insurance: The Great Big Comparison (2011 Edition) tick iPhone Insurance: The Great Big Comparison (2011 Edition) 30 Days £4.99 Check Below
jsinsurance iPhone Insurance: The Great Big Comparison (2011 Edition) tick iPhone Insurance: The Great Big Comparison (2011 Edition) tick iPhone Insurance: The Great Big Comparison (2011 Edition) tick iPhone Insurance: The Great Big Comparison (2011 Edition) tick iPhone Insurance: The Great Big Comparison (2011 Edition) 90 Days £4.99 Check Below

Compare that to these instore/network policies:

  • O2 iPhone Insurance – £15 per month
  • Carphone Warehouse/Best Buy Geek Squad – £13.99 per month
  • Vodafone Cover Me, T-Mobile Fonesafe - both £6.99 per month

What Does iPhone Insurance Cover?

An introduction to mobile phone insurance…

Most people don’t realise what they’re buying into when they buy an iPhone (especially on a contract as opposed to PAYG). Let’s say you lose your iPhone (god forbid) or some chav steals it (it’s a concern). Most networks won’t replace the iPhone. Bummer. Replacing it with an unlocked or PAYG phone is going to set you back several hundred pounds. So yeah, bummer.

Actually the biggest bummer is this: if you lose your iPhone handset, you not only have the cost of replacing it but you’re still signed into a monthly contract – for 12, 17 or even 36 months. Just because you’ve lost your iPhone doesn’t mean that your contract stops. At this point you’re now paying a monthly premium for a phone you don’t even have.

What happens if you get a new iPhone on a new monthly contract? Well there’s rumours of one network charging customers for two contracts(1). Either way, it’s going to set you back.

So that’s theft/loss and why if you aren’t covered for it, you might be seriously out of pocket. [Note: not all of the policies include cover for loss. Be sure to check the comparison table to see which ones do].

Other things you might want cover for:

  • Travelling Abroad
    - Taking your phone abroad can open it up to a lot more potential problems and accidents (pickpockets, dropping it in the swimming pool etc). Most policies offer the same level of cover abroad as at home in the UK, however this is for a fixed number of days per year – usually 30 (Insurance2go and Better Buy Insurance), 60 (Protect Your Bubble) or 90 (JS Insurance & Insureandgo)
  • Water Damage – Beer spillage, dropping your phone down the toilet…it all happens, actually all too frequently (100,000 times per year apparently)
  • Breakdown – If your phone breaks down, or you suffer some mechanical failure that’s either outside of your phone’s warranty you’ll want to be able to recover your costs.
  • Unauthorised Calls – If your phone racks up a huge volume of unauthorised call charges whilst lost or stolen. Sadly it happens.
  • Data Backup – Some insurance plans offer this, basically allowing you to backup your contacts and information on your phone. It’s not essential as there are plenty of free and paid tools that do this already, but it’s a nice bonus.

Some Stats

  • Around 100,000 mobile phones are stolen every year. Naturally given their value, iPhones are very popular among thieves (2)
  • There are more insurance claims for iPhones (for both theft and loss) than any other handset (3)

The Cheapest Policies

If you take a look at the comparison table, you will see a list of all the different UK mobile phone insurers and their premium (monthly/annual rate) costs as well.

Cheap is a relative term (is £5-a-month to cover a phone worth over £400 cheap? I would say so) but I think the best value-for-money comes from the ‘gadget insurance specialists’. Protect Your Bubble falls into this category. Their policy costs £7.99 per month (or £8.99 if you want cover for loss as well).

Now compare that to an instore iPhone insurance premium. O2 for example starts from £15 per month which is almost double that. Carphone Warehouse offers cover through their ‘Geek Squad‘ premium that costs £13.99 per month, although this is a bespoke premium so you need to phone up to get a quote for your phone. In comparison, JS Insurance and Better Buy Insurance both offer policies for less than a fiver per month (Better Buy Insurance starts from just £3.33 per month (without many trimmings admittedly) making it the cheapest policy around).

Read More:

When You Might Not Need Insurance

  • You have home/home contents insuranceSome home/home contents insurance policies will cover mobile phones. You should check with your home insurer first to see if you are covered. It’s also worth asking what your ‘excess‘ is. The excess is the amount you will have to pay when making a claim (the insurance company pays the rest). Why ask? Well if your excess is £200, it may have been more cost effective to take out insurance for your iPhone separately.
  • Your bank account includes mobile phone coverSome premium current accounts include mobile phone insurance. Check with your bank to see if they offer this service. You will most likely need to upgrade and pay a monthly fee, but it’s worth seeing how it compares to the providers mentioned in the comparison table above. Be sure to check what level of cover they offer – if the max is £200, it isn’t enough to insure an iPhone. There are some reports(4) that some bank accounts are refusing to pay out for iPhones, under their mobile phone insurance cover, although we don’t have enough information about this to make a comment.
  • Your phone is under warranty

    Mobile phone insurance tends to cover problems which aren’t covered by the Apple warranty i.e. theft and loss which aren’t covered by your warranty, as opposed to say, mechanical failure or breakdown. If you are very careful though, you could get away with not having it.

Our Reviews:

We’re working our way through each of the different policies, reviewing each on individually to find the best UK iPhone insurance policy our there. Points are given for ‘cheapness’ or value-for-money, glowing reviews from other iPhone owners and features (e.g. ticking as many of the boxes in the comparison table – i.e. theft, loss, water damage etc). Hopefully it will provide more of an in-depth comparison than the comparison table above, for those that really want to compare the nitty gritty.

We’re also took a look at (but weren’t particularly blown away with):

  • Tesco’s Mobile Cover
  • Natwest’s Mobile Cover
  • Lloyds’ Mobile Cover

My iPhone Has Been Lost/Stolen: What Should I Do?

  • Immobilise your phone. You will need to call your phone’s network to do this. What does Immobilising do? It means your phone network can stop calls being made using your SIM. If you are able to provide the IMEI number, an IMEI block will make your phone useless to any SIM card.
  • Have you registered a police report? If not, you should do this immediately. You will need to get a crime reference number if you’re planning on making an insurance claim. For your claim to be valid, most insurance companies require you to file a police report within 48 hours (or within 48 hours of returning to the UK if your phone was lost abroad).
  • If it’s stolen, register it on the National Mobile Phone Register (immobilise.com). It’s a database for stolen goods, including mobile phones. If a company like a mobile phone recycling company or pawn shop finds (or is sold) your phone they will be able to see that it is stolen
  • Make a claim. Contact your phone insurance company immediately (if you’re covered). You will need to fill our a claim form where you will be asked for your crime reference number and details of the incident.

Apps like Find My iPhone (free) and GadgetTrak ($3.99) can pinpoint the location of an iPhone using GPS cell tower triangulation (don’t worry we don’t know what that means either). If you’re still lucky enough to have your iPhone, install these now. Find My iPhone is an official Apple App and may even be installed on your iPhone already – you just need to activate it.

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