Mobile Phone Insurance — Here’s What You Need To Know

Because phone theft is the last thing you should worry about.

Team LemonadeTeam Lemonade

Here’s an all-too-common situation: You’re finishing up happy hour with a mate, and call an Uber 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 mobile, and realise it isn’t in your bag. Uh-oh.

Once you get home, you open up your laptop, and in panic mode, you sign into Find my iPhone, only to find your precious phone is already halfway across town. Will you have to fork over £800 for a replacement phone? Well, that depends on whether you have phone insurance, and what kind you have.

Getting cover 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 cover.

Short on time? Here’s the lowdown on mobile cover:

  • Mobile phones are covered by insurance policies under their “contents” cover part of, but purchasing the right add-ons like Theft & Loss cover and Accidental Damage to Mobile Devices cover means you’re covered for almost every scenario. 
  • Retail phone protection plans might cover accidental damage, but probably won’t cover theft.
  • “Phone & Device Insurance” offered by the carrier or manufacturer will also cover electronics like laptops, gaming consoles, tablets, and other electronics.
  • Phone & Device Insurance is a supplement, but not a replacement for contents insurance.

Considering whether to get phone insurance raises lots of questions. Is it worth getting mobile 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 more in-depth:

Does contents insurance cover mobile phones?

Most people don’t realise this, but your contents insurance does cover your phone in certain, specific circumstances.

Generally, insurance policies automatically cover your phone (and other items) from things like fires, lightning, smoke, explosion, burglary, and other damages (Also known as named perils), however, these kind of things are unlikely to happen, so that’s why we included four add-ons to provide you with some extra protection for things we know are likely to happen. 

So, if your new mobile was snatched while dancing at a concert, or pickpocketed while travelling abroad, and you purchased Theft and Loss cover, you’re in luck: your contents insurance will likely cover you.

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

My travel insurance denied the claim, but my Lemonade contents insurance came through and reimbursed me for everything that was lost, including my phone.”

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

In addition to any cover you’d have from your contents insurance, there are specific, third-party plans that are designed to cover your phone or/and mobile devices. Some might be available through your phone’s retailer (like Apple), while others are purchased via your carrier (Vodafone, O2 etc.) 

There are a few key differences between these specific phone protection plans and how your contents policy would cover your phone.

First off, nearly all of these plans available from your carrier or retailer would cover accidental damage (such as cracked screens or liquid damage), while contents insurance does not, unless you’ve purchased Accidental Damage to Mobile Device cover, and then you’d be able to claim for pretty much all circumstances. 

On the other hand, retailers (such as AppleCare+) don’t provide insurance for phone theft in their base plan, while your contents policies would protect you if your iPhone or Android is stolen as long as you’ve added Theft and Loss cover. 

That said, some retailer- or carrier-provided insurance plans might protect your phone against accidental loss or theft but a lot of them have exclusions. For example, phones taken from schools or other public buildings are not covered by lots of policies. Make sure you ask for the details of your specific policy. 

What else is covered by phone insurance?

Insurance provided by your mobile phone carrier or manufacturer can also provide cover for other devices as well. 

Other gadgets that you can potentially get cover on include:

  • Laptops/desktop computers
  • iPads, tablets, and e-readers (like Kindles)
  • iPods and MP3 players
  • Gaming consoles
  • Cameras

BTW, If you’re looking to get more cover on your gadgets, you can also look into adding your phone as a high-value item, increasing the limit from £2K, up to the full value of the item. 

Mobile phone insurance vs. contents insurance

Contents insurance is typically more affordable than phone protection plans offered by retailers or carriers. While the price of contents insurance starts at £4/mo, mobile carrier insurance starts at £9/mo, and retailer-provided insurance starts at £11/mo. That said, to protect yourself against many possible phone-related accidents and snafus, you’ll can add a few add-ons, which will probably increase your premium.

Here are a few other key differences to consider:

  • Contents insurance has an excess typically between £100–£500, while other phone insurance plans have lower options closer to £25. The excess is what you’d have to pay out-of-pocket before your insurance kicks in.
  • Most carriers and retailers require you to buy a plan within a set amount of time (usually 30 days) after buying your phone. They also tend to push their own insurance to get you to put more money down with them. 
  • While contents insurance policies do not limit the number of claims you can make per year, plans from your carrier or a retailer typically limit you to 2–3 claims per year.
  • Contents insurance includes cover for all of your stuff (bike, laptop, headphones, etc), not to mention personal liability insurance, while carrier and retailer plans focus solely on phones. 
  • At Lemonade we partner with BeValued, who actually come pick up your damaged mobile device and repair it using only original parts. But what if your device needs to be replaced? Smartphones will be replaced with a refurbished, Grade A (mint condition) mobile. All other devices will be replaced as-new. This is of course on the condition you’ve purchased our gold standard add-on; Accidental Damage to Mobile Devices.

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. Again, if you tend to have bad luck when it comes to your phone, you might want to have both contents insurance and a phone-specific insurance policy from your carrier or retailer. It’s up to you.

Loss and damage can have very different price tags. For example, replacing a stolen smartphone is much more costly than simply fixing a cracked smartphone screen.

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

  • How much cash would you be able to shell out if something happened to your phone out of pocket?—£50? £100? £250? £600?
  • Are you more likely to have clumsy moments (like spilling water on your phone), forgetful ones (like 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, contents insurance is the way to go. If you’d like to protect just your phone against multiple incidences of accidental damage (i.e. cracked screen), or theft (pickpocketed on the Tube), adding Accidental Damage to your Mobile Device cover and theft cover through your contents insurance makes the most sense.

How do I insure my phone with contents insurance?

If you decide to protect your phone (and the rest of your stuff) with contents insurance, getting a policy with Lemonade is easy. All you need to do is get a basic insurance policy, (don’t forget your add-ons when customising your quote) and all takes less than 3 minutes: Download the Lemonade app, answer a few questions, and get insured in minutes.

To make sure you’re getting enough cover for your phone (and everything else), double check your contents cover is sufficient. This will make sure you have enough cover in the event that a large amount of your stuff is destroyed in a fire, for instance. If you choose too low of a cover amount, you could be left high and dry if disaster strikes, and if you choose too high, you’re paying for cover you don’t really need.

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

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

2. Make a list of the stuff of everything you just snapped, and estimate how much each item costs when you bought it. 

– 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 to replace them

4. Add this up and—voilà! that’s the value of your stuff (and how much personal property cover you’ll need)

Tip: When calculating your personal property cover, the best practice is to round 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 contents cover.

Insure your phone in a jiffy

Phones are expensive, and after shelling out serious ££, 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 contents insurance through Lemonade.”

Take Lemonade for a whirl – it’ll take you less than 3 minutes.

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Please note: Lemonade articles and other editorial content are meant for educational purposes only, and should not be relied upon instead of professional legal, insurance or financial advice. The content of these educational articles does not alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. While we regularly review previously published content to ensure it is accurate and up-to-date, there may be instances in which legal conditions or policy details have changed since publication. Any hypothetical examples used in Lemonade editorial content are purely expositional. Hypothetical examples do not alter or bind Lemonade to any application of your insurance policy to the particular facts and circumstances of any actual claim.