Following news that Apple may be considering offering AppleCare+ in the UK - which would mean that the company would replace your phone after accidental breakage (but only twice in a two year period) - the idea of paying out for AppleCare may start to sound enticing. However, are there better insurance policies for iPhones that would give you a better deal, including replacing your iPhone if it was lost or stolen?
Have you ever lost a mobile phone? Have you ever left your iPhone the pub, in the back of a cab, or on a train? Have you ever had your phone swiped from your bag or grabbed from you hand? If the answer is yes to any of these questions you may have already signed up for insurance, or perhaps you came to terms with the loss and bought a new iPhone.
It may be that none of the above has happened to you, but you have just forked out a load of dosh to buy an iPhone. Is it worth insuring your new iPhone? You could lose it, it might be stolen, or you could drop it and smash the screen. The iPhone is not indestructible and it's a popular target of thieves.
We find out whether it's a good idea to get insurance, whether you will even be covered should the worse happen, and whether Apple will replace your iPhone anyway.
Should I insure my iPhone?
If you've just paid £699 for the 64GB iPhone you'd be wise to have some sort of plan in place for what you will do if you lose it – whether through your own carelessness or through theft.
The decision is whether to pay for an insurance policy, to put aside some money every month 'just in case', or whether to risk it and hope that the worse doesn't happen.
Before deciding whether or not to fork out extra for insurance you need to ask yourself the following questions, and answer them honestly:
Have you ever lost a phone before? (It will either mean you are going to be more careful next time, or you'll just do it again).
Have you made a claim for a lost phone before? (This could affect your premium, but it also suggests that you might be prone to this sort of behaviour).
Have you had your iPhone for a while? (Some insurance policies only insure new phones).
How long have you got left on your contract? (If you only have a few months to go you might as well wait and use a temporary phone in the meantime. Surely you can put up with a second-hand mobile for a few months.)
Are you disciplined enough to put money aside on a monthly basis to pay for a new iPhone if you lost the one you have now? (Putting aside £60 a month may be a good solution – especially as at the end of a year you may have the cash for a new phone. But the flaw with this system is that you might lose your phone within the first month of saving, you also may be liable for any fraudulent calls made with your mobile).
Is my lost iPhone insured? Am I covered?
You may not need insurance for your iPhone if it is stolen from your home and you have contents insurance. You may also be covered if your phone is destroyed in a house fire. Some policies may even cover you for accidental damage cover if you damaged your phone at home.
Outside the home you may be covered if you have insurance that covers your possessions outside the home (such as expensive cameras and laptops).
If your lost phone is on your house insurance you may still need to pay an excess, however, and this is likely to be £100 or more. You may lose your no claims discount.
If you try and replace a lost phone through your contents insurance it may take longer as it's not the insurers area of expertise. In addition, unauthorised calls might not be covered.
How can I tell if an insurance policy for my iPhone is any good?
In looking for the best insurance policy it's wise to check the following before you make your decision:
Are you covered for loss and theft?
What is the annual cost?
How many iPhones can you have replaced? (Some insurance policies will limit you to two phones a year).
What is the excess? (The 'excess' is how much you have to pay towards the cost of the replacement phone or repairs before the insurer pays their part. If your excess was £25 and the bill for repair was £100, the insurer will only pay £75.)
Will you have to pay the premium in full before you can claim? (Some insurers will actually ask you to pay the remainder of the premium before they will settle your claim).
Who pays for calls made with your iPhone after it was nicked? (You'll usually be covered for the cost of unauthorised calls made from your mobile but you'll usually need to have reported it missing within least 24 hours – and 12 hours for some providers. If you lost your phone the night before and didn't realize until the morning you may be out of luck.)
Will the insurer replace your phone with a new model? (Most insurers will deliver a replacement phone to you. But they won't guaranteed that it will be a new phone or even the same model. It is more likely to be a refurbished model).
Will the insurer give you the cash for a replacement? (Some insurers will give you the cash for an equivalent replacement, note that it's 'equivalent' that doesn't mean the latest model).
Check how long you need to have the policy before the insurer will pay out. (Some insurers won't pay if you lose your phone in the first 14 or 21 days).
I've had my iPhone stolen – will I be able to make a claim on my insurance?
Even if you have insurance you may not qualify for a replacement phone for a number of reasons outlined below.
How did you lose your iPhone? Did you leave it somewhere? Was it carelessness on your part? If your insurance company thinks that you are too blame for the loss of your phone they may not replace it.
Was your phone stolen? Was it pickpocketed? Did you leave it unattended in your car? Was it taken from your home in a burglary? If your iPhone was pickpocketed you should be able to claim on your insurance – as long as you reported it quickly (some insurers insist that you report it within 24 hours).
If you left your phone unattended your insurer may think it was carelessness on your part. There have been cases of insurers refusing to pay out for phones left in a car, for example.
If your home was broken into and your iPhone was stolen it should be covered by your home contents insurance. If it was stolen from your office it may be coverer by the insurance your employer has.
What insurance policies are available for iPhones
There are a number of companies offering to insure iPhones. Here are a few examples.
Protect Your Bubble
Offers cover up to £700 for £7.99 a month (include 'loss' for £1 extra a month)
This includes: accidental damage, liquid damage, theft, unauthorised calls, breakdown, worldwide cover
Excess is: £50 for an iPhone.
You aren't covered for: more than one of the above claims in a year; the first 14 days; if the gadget doesn't work when you buy the insurance; accidental damage caused by neglect or deliberately; if unattended while away from home; if it breaks down within the warrantee period (because Apple would fix it anyway).
You need to: report the theft, get a crime reference number and blacklist the handset within 48 hours; be over 18
The iPhone needs to be: less than 12 months old; have valid proof of purchase from a UK registered company.
Offers cover up to £700 for £5.99 a month (include theft and loss for £1 extra month)
This includes: Theft, Loss, Accidental Damage, Breakdown and Unauthorised Calls; repair or replacement in the event of breakdown or Accidental Damage whilst in your possession or that of immediate family, you are also covered for Unauthorised Calls for up to a period of 24 hours (Unauthorised Calls limit is be £1,000 inc VAT).
Excess is: £400 or less is £25 and £50 for all cover exceeding £400
You aren't covered for: First 14 days after the start date of policy; theft from an motor vehicle unless it's locked and the phone is locked in the glovebox or in the boot; theft when on public transport or in public unless the phone was taken by force; theft when left unattended; damage caused by a virus; damage caused by pressure waves from an aircraft; if your iPhone was bought from an online auction site unless you produce a valid VAT receipt.
You need to: Contact your airtime provider within 24 hours; obtain a Crime Reference/Lost Property number and a copy of the Police Crime report.
Should I get the AppleCare Protection Plan for iPhone
Apple sells an AppleCare Protection Plan for £61 and that will cover your phone for two years. It extends the telephone and warranty support that comes with your iPhone from 90 days to two years. You have to purchase this while your iPhone is still within its one-year warranty. If you have a fault with the phone under AppleCare it is possible to get an express replacement service.
In the US there is an AppleCare+ protection plan that costs an extra $49 and means that Apple will replace your iPhone twice following accidental damage (eg dropping it and smashing the screen). Apple is said to be planning to make AppleCare+ iPhone accidental damage cover available in Europe.
AppleCare and AppleCare+ will only cover you for breakages and faults, not theft. It's also worth considering: you may not even need the second year's additional coverage. Apple emphasizes that its One-Year Limited Warranty and AppleCare Protection Plan benefits are in addition to rights provided under consumer law. (This is because Apple has got in trouble with various courts around Europe for selling two years of coverage without making it clear to customers that there are local laws that may give them sufficient coverage anyway). Read more about Apple's warranty here.
My iPhone is broken can I get a replacement?
Read this article about getting Apple to fix your broken iPhone for free.