Here’s an all-too-common situation: You’re finishing up happy hour with a friend, and call a Via home. It arrives much earlier than you thought, so you scramble your stuff together and jump in the car. When you’re all settled in your seat, you reach to grab your phone, and realize it isn’t in your bag. Uh oh.

In panic mode, you sign into Find my iPhone, only to find your precious phone is already halfway across the city. “It must have fallen out of my bag on my way to the car, and someone picked it up,” you realize.

Will you have to shell out $800 for a replacement phone? Well, that depends on whether you have phone insurance, and what kind you have.

Getting coverage for your phone is probably one of the last things you want to deal with- because phone theft happens to everyone else except for you, right? But it only takes one snatch to make you wish you had the right coverage.

Considering whether to get phone insurance raises tons of questions. Is it worth getting phone insurance for things like screen cracks? What about water damage? And which plan is right for you?

We’re here to answer your biggest questions around phone insurance – here’s what we’ll cover:

1. Does renters insurance or homeowners insurance cover phones?
2. What’s the difference between mobile phone insurance and renters/homeowners insurance?
3. Which phone insurance plan is worth getting?
4. How do I insure my phone?

Does renters or homeowners insurance cover phones?

Most people don’t realize this, but renters and homeowners insurance cover your phone, and everything else you own. Home insurance companies automatically cover your phone (and other stuff) for things like theft, vandalism, fire, and other damages (‘perils,’ in insurance speak) under your base renters policy.

So if your new phone was snatched while you were dancing at a concert, or pickpocketed while you were traveling abroad, you’re in luck: your home insurance will cover you.

Here’s a list of every type of ‘peril’ covered by home insurance:

college renters insurance perils

When Lemonader Phil W. was traveling in Italy, his phone, backpack, and camera equipment were stolen from the trunk of his car:

“The lock on the car was popped, and everything was stolen- including all of the footage from my trip. My travel insurance denied the claim, but my Lemonade renters insurance came through and reimbursed me for everything that was lost, including my phone.”

But understanding when your home insurance kicks in, over what’s called ‘mobile phone insurance,’ is crucial.

What’s the difference between mobile phone insurance and renters insurance?

There are a few different types of phone insurance plans, aside from your renters policy, including plans from:

  • Your phone’s retailer (i.e Apple)
  • Your phone carrier (i.e. AT&T)

While AT&T’s offering is slightly different from Verizon’s, there are a few consistent differences between these phone protection plans and your renters policy.

First off, nearly all of these plans cover accidental damage (such as cracked screens or liquid damage), while renters insurance does not. On the other hand, retailers (such as AppleCare+) don’t provide insurance for phone theft in their base plan, while phone carriers and renters insurance policies do.

Another difference is price. Renters insurance is typically more affordable than the other phone protection plans. While the price of renters insurance start at $5/mo, mobile carrier insurance starts at $9/mo, and retailers’ insurance starts at $11/mo.

Here are a few other key differences to consider:

  • Renters insurance typically has a $250 deductible while other phone insurance plans have lower options.
  • Most carriers and retailers require you to buy a plan within a set amount of time (usually 30 days) after buying your phone
  • While renters insurance policies do not limit the # of claims you can make per year, these other plans typically limit you to 2-3 claims per year
  • Renters insurance covers all of your stuff (bike, laptop, headphones, etc), while carrier and retailer plans focus solely on phones

Which phone insurance plan is worth getting?

Choosing a plan really depends on your lifestyle, habits, and how much you could pay upfront if you needed to get a replacement phone.

Read on, as some types of damages or losses are more costly than others.

For example, let’s say your new iPhone 8 cracks once while you have phone insurance. Since iPhone screen repairs cost around $290, and each plan has a deductible, here’s how much money you’d lose if you had each plan:

  • Renters insurance – $150 (assuming you don’t make any claims on other items)
  • Carrier plan – $140
  • Retailer policy – $170

On the other hand, if your iPhone 8 is stolen while you’re insured, here’s how much you’d gain or lose with each plan:

  • Renters insurance – gain $430
  • Carrier plan – gain $385
  • Retailer policy – lose $572

Why the discrepancy? Different loss or damage types have different costs- and replacing a stolen smartphone is much more costly than fixing a smartphone screen:

So as you decide which plan is right for you, ask yourself these questions:

  • How much $ would you be able to shell out if something happened to your phone that wasn’t covered by your plan – $50? $100? $250? $600?
  • Are you more likely to have klutz-y moments (ie spilling water on your phone), forgetful ones (ie leaving your on a coffee shop table, only to have it stolen), or both?
  • Are you looking to protect all of your stuff, or just your phone?

Bottom line: If you’d like to cover all of your stuff, including your phone, at a lower price, renters insurance is the way to go. But, if you’d like to protect just your phone against multiple incidences of accidental damage (ie cracked screen), getting covered through your phone carrier makes the most sense.

How do I insure my phone with renters insurance?

If you decide to protect your phone (and the rest of your stuff) with renters insurance, getting a policy with Lemonade is easy!

All you need to do is get a basic insurance policy, which takes less than 2 minutes: Download the Lemonade app, answer a few questions about your home, and get insured in seconds.

To make sure you’re getting enough coverage for your phone (and everything else), double check your ‘personal property coverage’ (insurance speak for coverage for your stuff) is sufficient. Otherwise, you could be left high and dry when disaster strikes.

Here’s how to estimate the value of your stuff:

1. Take 2 minutes, walk around your apartment, and take a video (or pics) of everything you care about

2. Make a list of the stuff of everything you just filmed/snapped and estimate how much each item costs

– If you have receipts, keep a pic in case you ever have to replace the stuff under warranty or have to make a claim

– For electronics and more expensive items, it’s important to know the make and model as well as when and where you bought them

3. For shoes, non-electronic kitchen items, and other stuff in bulk, just estimate what it would cost all together

4. Add this up and voilà, that’s the value of your stuff (i.e. how much personal property coverage you’ll need)

Best practice is rounding up to the nearest $10K. So if your laptop ($1,250), phone ($1,000), bike ($1,000), furniture ($5,000), and clothing ($7,000) add up to $15,250, you’ll want to get at least $20k in personal property coverage.

Insure your phone in a jiffy

Phones are expensive, and after shelling out serious $$ for your sidekick, the last thing you’ll want to do is replace it if things go sour. As Lemonader Phil told us:

“When my phone and other gear was stolen, Lemonade came through with a fantastic human-driven service process, and the claim was resolved in 48 hours. That’s why I’ll always have renters insurance through Lemonade.”

Take Lemonade for a spin – it’ll take you less than 2 minutes.