Let’s say you just got a new phone, laptop, or camera – lucky you! It might not be the first, or even second thing you think of, but at some point you’ll have to decide whether or not to insure it. The most common gadgets that people insure are phones, as this is the object that people most often take out of the house with them which is particularly attractive to thieves (and attracted to the floor, apparently, considering how many times my phone’s fallen onto it). Here are our tips for finding the best phone insurance!
As is often the case, whether or not you need insurance depends quite largely on what you’re like as a person. If you’re a very frugal, responsible person with an old, inexpensive phone, then the chances are you don’t need insurance and it wouldn’t be worth it anyway. If you are, however, keen on top-of-the-line tech and forgetful when it comes to where you put things, then insurance could save you some serious money.
So, here are your options…
If you’re worried about losing or damaging your phone and want to avoid buying a new one or paying for an expensive repair, then insuring is definitely the best option. Standalone insurance is particularly helpful if you have an expensive phone and are worried about making a claim – be it because you’re prone to misplacing things or that your budget can’t stretch to buying a new phone. Insurance can come in very handy, but bear in mind that the more claims you make, the more your policy will go up – if it’s got to a point that you’re having your screen repaired numerous times a year, all on your insurance, then it may not actually be saving you any money.
One of the advantages of standalone insurance is that, if you make a claim, it won’t have any effect on your claims history in other areas of insurance. Aside from that, if you look around it can be quite easy to find policies with low excesses and premiums, but you do need to make sure that you’re not being short-changed elsewhere.
We did some research into some prominent standalone phone insurers to compare prices, comparing an iPhone 7 and a Samsung Galaxy S7, both new, with 32GB memory.
We compared Switched On Insurance, Simplesurance, Protect Your Gadget, Home Rescue, Love It Cover It, Gadget Cover, Protect Your Bubble, and So Sure
*Unclear means that the information was not readily available on the insurers’ websites
**So Sure gives you the option of paying cashback every month if you share with your friends, so prices may vary
Good for expensive phones,
Good for people who are prone to losing things,
Won’t affect your no-claims bonus
Watch out for high excesses
Covering it with your home insurance
All home insurance providers will give you the option of including a mobile phone or ‘high value items’ (including gadgets). If you want your phone or gadget to be covered then you need to declare it, and depending on how much your device is worth then it may not affect your premium at all. Most insurance companies will include your (declared) phone for no extra charge if it’s below a certain price, with us it’s £250, and your premium will only increase beyond that base price. The coverage you go for will vary – the default will be to cover these items at home, and you can pay extra to cover it out of home and for accidental damage.
Adding a phone to your contents will normally cost you less than standalone insurance, although the premium for contents will probably be higher than standalone as all of your possessions are also being covered for a wider range of risks. You will also normally have a higher excess (around £200, say) and if you end up making any claims then it will have an effect on your claims history.
One more problem you may have with contents insurance is that if you make a claim and want it to be sorted out straight away then some insurers may not handle your claim as quickly as you would like. Some phone insurance policies are offering same-day replacements, this kind of coverage would not be available with home contents. The speed of handling claims depends heavily on your insurer, as some are more agile than others.
There is certainly an element of convenience in covering all your contents and your phone in one go – if you want to get everything organised at the same time and not have to think about it for a year then this is the option for you.
We estimate that insuring a phone with your home contents will increase your quote by between £25-35, and based on research that we did on our own pricings at Urban Jungle, the cost of adding a phone starts at £10.
Low extra cost
Everything in one place
Will affect no-claims bonus
Claims may take a while to go through
Covering it with your bank account
Many packaged bank accounts include phone insurance nowadays, so it’s worth checking with yours to see what the coverage is like or what kind of perks you could get by changing to a new bank. This may be the cheapest one for you to go for, but make sure that the coverage works for you (or that the other perks outweigh mediocre coverage.)
The good news here is that your phone may already be covered, you just need to check to make sure it’s registered with the bank!
Many banks offer premium and packaged accounts which include phone insurance, often covering the entire family on the same deal. Many banks will offer varying levels of premium account, which will have different perks but the phone insurance is normally the same for each price band.
We had a look at TSB, Natwest, Barclays, Nationwide, and Co-op to see how their deals compared.
Comes with additional perks
More than one person covered
Numerous devices covered on one policy
Monthly fees can get quite high
Limited choice on the replacement phone
Covering it with your network provider
Often, when you buy a phone you will be given the option of insuring it at the point of purchase. Same-day replacement deals are being advertised by many major service providers, such as EE, Three, and Vodafone, alongside other perks such as screen repairs included as standard and water damage being covered. This is most likely the most convenient option, as you can sort it out at the same time as buying your coverage, however it’s easy to get deceived by what seem like low monthly payments. Although you’re promised high levels of coverage (water damage and cracked screens are among the most common claims), your excess may be really high and you may be limited to one claim per year. Just because it’s convenient doesn’t mean it’s the best, so be sure to put the same time and consideration into your insurance choice as you would put into picking a new phone.
Low extra cost
Very broad cover
Easy to sort out at point of purchase
Can be expensive
Limited number of claims
The pros and cons of each option
One thing which people rarely think of when choosing their policy which can completely ruin an experience is how your insurance provider deals with making changes. If you move house and need to update the address it could cost you upwards of £20 – hardly the kind of thing you want to be thinking about while you’re unpacking and making yourself at home. If you know that your tenancy is up in a few months or think it’s likely you’ll be moving in the next 12 months then it’s worth checking out different insurers’ policies on changes. Insurers know how much of a pain this can be, so they normally advertise it proudly if they don’t charge you for changes and do their best to hide it if they do. The good news is that nowadays, most companies will have an interactive chat on their website where you can ask. The bad news is that a lot of them still charge you, but luckily at Urban Jungle any changes you make are completely free!
For many people, self-insuring will end up being the cheapest option – if you never end up losing or damaging your phone then you’ll be glad you self-insured. It’s also sometimes the only option, as some companies will only let you insure new phones, often ones which are less than 6 months old. If you only need to repair your screen or buy a new phone once in a blue moon, it might not be a particularly big problem to shell out.
At the same time, if you don’t have that spare money lying around and your phone gets lost or stolen then you could be in quite a pickle. It’s easy to forget that buying a new handset isn’t the only cost to bear in mind – if someone steals your phone they could make expensive calls or find out a lot of personal information about you which could be used for identity fraud.
It’s worth noting that phones are getting increasingly expensive as the quality of technology improves. Whereas a few years ago you might get away with spending £300 on a good phone, most high-end smartphones (think iPhone and Samsung Galaxy) are more than double the price. If you’re happy to cover all this yourself, then by all means self-insure and (hopefully) save yourself some money.
Could cost you nothing
Could be very expensive
If you break your phone and you don’t have insurance, you haven’t necessarily lost your money! There are a growing number of companies who will buy your old phone off you to recycle it or send it on to be repaired and sold again. You can compare prices on www.compareandrecycle.co.uk, and notable phone recycling companies include Envirofone, Mazuma Mobile, and Music Magpie. Depending on the phone you’re selling and what condition it’s in, you could make enough money back to contribute maybe half the cost of a new phone. The advantage of using this method is that you get what can be a fairly similar amount of money back as you would on your claim, and it’s the eco-friendly option too.
Earns you money
Good for the soul
Probably won’t earn you enough to buy a new phone
There are some details which may seem fairly insignificant when you’re buying your policy but can make a huge difference if you make a claim.
Firstly, you might want to look at the insurer’s chosen repayment method – will they be replacing your phone or giving you the value of your insured phone in cash? A replacement may sound good, but often you’ll be getting a refurbished phone instead of a new one (which is fine, depending on what you want.) Being paid in cash may seem preferable, but if your phone’s a year or so old then prices may have gone up, and your pay-out might not be enough for an equivalent quality replacement once the excess is factored in. This is where home contents insurance comes in handy – most insurers (including Urban Jungle) will cover you Old for New. This means that no matter how old the item insured, you will be repaid either with a new replacement or with the money to buy an equivalent item new.
How old is too old?
Secondly, a lot of insurers will only accept new phones, so if you’ve got a good quality phone which is more than 3 or 6 months old then you may not be in luck. This will mostly be a problem with your bank or with standalone insurance, whereas with contents insurance your phone may need to be worth more than a token amount (£250, say) but age doesn’t necessarily come into it.
Little things like whether or not your phone is covered abroad can be key as well, as travel insurance policies will often deliberately exclude phones. Based on our research, so long as you’re not going abroad for more than 2 months you’re probably fine for most insurance options. It’s also worth noting that your insurance won’t always pay out if it looks like you were negligent in any way, for example if your phone got stolen because you left it on a cafe table while you went to the toilet.
As we mentioned earlier, the excess can be crucial for items like phones and gadgets. If you’re spending £100 to have your screen repaired and your excess is £75 then it doesn’t really seem worth it, so be aware of your options. In cases like that, it probably makes the most sense not to make a claim at all, as it will affect your claims history without benefiting you particularly. For this reason, it can be worth prioritising problems to some extent by avoiding making a claim unless the cost of repairing or replacing your phone or gadget is larger than the value of the excess.
How to pay less
People often go for the monthly instalment version of phone insurance because it feels like you’re paying less. In truth, you’re probably being charged interest by your provider – this may seem like small increases at the time, but over the year it could be adding £20 or more to your premium. Another thing to bear in mind with monthly repayments is that should you make a claim mid-term, your insurance provider may require you to pay the outstanding monthly payments before carrying out your claim. So although paying month by month will have less immediate impact on your wallet, should you need to make a claim there really isn’t any difference in how much you’ll be paying, except that if you pay monthly you may be paying more.
Making a claim
If your phone is stolen, most insurers will require you to report it to the police within 24 hours, which is probably a good thing to do even if you don’t have insurance. How long it will take to get a replacement phone or repair will vary depending on your insurer, so we recommend that you have a look at customer reviews to get an idea of what they’re like.
How to avoid making a claim
Whether or not you have insurance, you’ll always want to avoid damaging or losing your phone. It’s easy to get some phone protection through simple things like using a screen cover and phone case, they can help you more than you would think. You can buy strong, shock-resistant tempered glass screen protectors on Amazon.
If you want to avoid having your phone stolen then it gets a bit trickier, and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. If you live in a city, then keep your phone or gadget somewhere which is difficult for other people to get to without you noticing – so don’t keep it in your back pocket or in an outside pocket of a rucksack. If you have an inside pocket in your jacket, then that’s a safe place, similarly if you have any pockets or bags which can be closed properly with zips or buttons then they’re far more secure.
In case your phone is stolen or lost, then it’s sensible to have some precautions in place, such as strong passwords and, if possible, biometric authentication (fingerprints and face recognition). Having a ‘find my phone’ app can do you a lot of favours, and can stop you from having to make a claim if it’s just misplaced and not stolen. If you want to know how safe your neighbourhood or the area you work in is, then you can check out the crime stats on the Police website, although many thefts aren’t reported so the stats may not be accurate.
Hopefully these tips were useful, and the world of phone insurance is clearer now! You can get a quote to cover it with your home contents insurance with Urban Jungle using our link. We also offer Tenants Liability Insurance, which protects your deposit if you damage your landlord’s belongings (furniture, fixtures and fittings) at £40 for a year and £30 for six months.
Got any questions?
We know insurance can be a bit confusing, and we love talking about it, so if you have any questions, please get in touch by hitting the Contact Us button on our home page.
Decided covering your phone or gadget on your home contents insurance is the way to go for you? Get a quote here!
Or alternatively you can get a quote for Tenants Liability Insurance.
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Urban Jungle is a home insurance business, specialising in renters and sharers. We’re using technology to make insurance better for young people, but also care about helping people make life as renter better.
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