Gadget Insurance: Getting Protection Coverage for Your Mobile Device

As mobile devices become more integrated into daily life—and also become more expensive—gadget insurance is something that anyone who has purchased a device should consider. With sensitive data like bank account details, contacts’ names and addresses, work-related emails, and other information now stored on most people’s gadgets, the consequences of losing a device or even being without it for a few days are becoming more severe.

There are a number of gadget insurance options to chose from, so it is important to thoroughly research all available plans. Those considering insurance for a mobile device should ask themselves whether they are prone to losing their gadgets, commonly drop them, or have highly breakable devices. This will help them better understand when to consider coverage and what options to consider.

What Coverage Options Are Available?

Carrier Options

Most mobile carriers have an additional insurance option available for purchase along with mobile plans and handset devices. This option can be more expensive than third-party insurers, but it provides the convenience of all expenses rolling into one monthly bill.

  • Verizon’s Total Equipment Coverage extends the manufacturer’s warranty on the device and covers loss, theft, damage, and mechanical defects.
  • Sprint Total Equipment Protection covers loss, physical and liquid damage, theft, wear and tear, and electrical and mechanical failure. It also offers access to Asurion’s mobile app, which can locate a lost device, remotely lock a lost device, and back up then delete phone data remotely if stolen or lost.
  • AT&T Mobile Insurance offers coverage for theft, loss, damage incurred after the expiration of the manufacturer’s warranty, and a next-day replacement service.
  • T-Mobile Premium Handset Protection Bundle offers insurance for accidental damage, theft, loss, and mechanical and electrical malfunctions.
Third-Party Options

Third-party insurers tend to be cheaper, but it pays to look closely at their fine print because not all plans protect against accidental loss or theft. Below are three of the most popular third-party insurers.

  • SquareTrade offers two payment options: either a monthly fee or an up-front lump payment for two or three years’ coverage. The gadget insurance they offer differs from one device to another, but they all offer coverage for accidental damage or phone defects, including broken ports, power issues, and display failure. They do not offer coverage for loss or theft.
  • Protect Your Bubble has a wide range of gadget insurance options. They offer coverage for loss or theft, accidental damage including water damage, damage from dropping a device, and mechanical failures like broken ports and screens.
  • Asurion is an award-winning third-party insurance provider. They offer coverage for theft, loss, accidental damage, and mechanical defects, and they also offer insurance for accessories.

Will My Smartphone or Gadget Break?

New research has shown that some of the most popular smartphone brands are also some of the most breakable. This means that even if users are very cautious with their phones and don’t lose them or leave them in vulnerable places, they may still need insurance simply because their device is highly breakable.

According to internal research from Gazelle, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is one of the most breakable devices. It claims the number one spot on Gazelle’s top-10 list of most breakable devices, with a total of 30.07 percent of S3 handsets reported as broken; the Galaxy S4 is next on the list with 29.79 percent broken. The iPhone 3Gs comes in third with a 28.96 percent breakage rate, while other iPhone models between the iPhone 4 and 5s claim the next five spots on the list.

According to research from SquareTrade, however, the Apple iPad mini and Samsung Galaxy S4 are the most breakable devices. SquareTrade measured the breakability of different devices by dropping them from a specified height onto a hard surface and recording the results.

Both sets of research indicate that two of the most popular gadget brands in Samsung and Apple are also two of the most breakable; those 60 percent of Americans who use either of these brands should seriously consider gadget insurance for this reason alone.

When Is It Time to Buy Insurance for Your Gadget?

As the price of popular gadgets increase, the best time to consider gadget insurance would perhaps be right after the initial purchase is made or mobile contract entered into. There is no use in waiting, given that accidents happen even to devices fresh out of the box, and the manufacturer’s warranty sometimes does not cover such damage. Then there is the rising rate of gadget theft in the U.S.: it now accounts for one third of all robberies, which makes a compelling argument for insuring a gadget right from the get-go.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons