iPhones are expensive devices that also happen to be a bit slippery and made almost entirely of glass. That makes them prime candidates for being dropped and potentially smashed on hard floors. To avoid equally catastrophic financial impacts, some sort of insurance policy could be a shrewd investment - in fact we've heard of people who choose AppleCare+ over putting a case on their iPhone.
But, what's the best option? Dedicated insurance? AppleCare+? Or just putting money away each month to save towards an eventual replacement? We take a look at the pros and cons of protecting your iPhone investment.
Will Apple fix my iPhone for free?
Before you head off to look up insurance companies and the like, remember that your iPhone does come with a one-year warranty. While this doesn't cover accidents, such as dropping your iPhone and cracking the screen, it will cover component failures that are due to manufacturing errors or faulty parts.
So, if your battery suddenly can't hold a charge or your iPhone starts behaving weirdly, book a trip to the Apple Store and explain the situation. If you purchased your iPhone from a third-party vendor or bought a refurbished model from a specialist site, they will probably have some kind of warranty too, so be sure to check with them before spending any money.
For more details, read how to get a broken iPhone fixed or replaced.
What does AppleCare+ include?
Let's start with AppleCare+, as it's offered when you buy a new iPhone and comes from Apple so may feel that it's the best option in terms of cover and convenience. But is that actually true? Here's the lowdown.
What does AppleCare+ cover?
AppleCare+ is essentially an accidental damage insurance policy. It covers screen breakages, water damage and similar mishaps. You can make a couple of claims each year, but you'll need to pay an excess to cover part of the cost.
If you're in the USA, you also have the option of AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss, which you'll probably have already guessed includes being able to recover your money if your iPhone gets stolen or left on the bus. Again, you get two claims a year and there is an excess fee.
What does AppleCare+ cost?
For the standard AppleCare+ coverage, the price varies depending on which iPhone you have. Here's the current costs:
- iPhone 12 Pro & Pro Max: £199/$199
- iPhone 12 & 12 Mini: £149/$149
- iPhone 11: £149/$149
- iPhone XR: £149/$149
- iPhone SE: £79/$79
Of course, you'll also want to consider those excess fees. For screen damage it's £25/$29 per claim, while for other damage you're looking at £79/$99.
It's the same on the AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss, but there's the additional $149 excess for replacing a stolen or misplaced device.
So, for example, if we were to have an iPhone 12 and we broke the screen, how much would it cost to repair?
First, we'd need to have AppleCare+ which for that model costs £149/$149. Then there's the excess cost of the claim, which currently stands at £25/$29.
This means that the total cost would come to £174/$178. Of course, you can make additional claims across the two-year period of coverage, which would alter the equation.
How long does AppleCare+ last?
For iPhone, AppleCare+ (both varieties) run across two years, plus you can also get coverage for your iPad, AirPods, Apple Watch, Mac and other Apple devices.
For more details, read is AppleCare+ worth it?
You may also be wondering how long the repair will take. In that case read: Apple repairs: price guide and how long repairs take.
What does phone insurance include?
There are many insurance companies that offer coverage for your tech. One thing to check first is whether your existing home contents insurance covers loss or damage to your iPhone, as that could save you money. Otherwise, you can look towards dedicated technology insurers like Protect Your Bubble or Gadget Cover that have specific policies for iPhones and other devices.
What does phone insurance cover?
As with AppleCare+, you'll usually find that these policies cover accidental breakages, water damage and device failures. Most also cover theft, some offer worldwide coverage (great if you'll be traveling a lot), and others will replace your device if you lose it.
It's always advisable to read through the policy details before committing to anything, so you know exactly what's covered and what isn't. Remember that you'll also be liable for excess fees on any claim, which can have an impact on how much of a saving you'll make on some policies.
Remember to shop around for insurers, with your mobile service provider no doubt offering policies, as well as your bank. If you have others in your family with devices, then a multi-device policy might also be wise as it could cut down the cost of insuring each one individually.
How much does phone insurance cost?
Obviously, the price will vary depending on the insurer and what's included in the policy. This is one of those occasions where you would be wise to shop around and we suggest you read our guide on how to pick the best iPhone insurance. But we will give you an idea of what to expect below.
At the time of writing, we looked at a typical offering for a 64GB iPhone 12 and found that UK firm Gadget Cover came in at £6.75 per month or £74.25 per year. The excess cost is linked to the value of the device, with those up to £500/$500 costing £50, £501-£999 costing £75 and anything over £1,000/$1,000 would set you back £100 per claim.
Using the UK provider we made the same broken screen claim for the iPhone 12 as we did with AppleCare+ and found that the insurance policy cost £74.35 for the year (remember AppleCare+ is £199 for two years), and as our device costs £799 the excess charge will be £75 to replace the display.
Adding this up we get £149.25 for the claim. It's worth bearing in mind though, that is the accident occurs in the second year of coverage rather than the first, this bumps up the cost to £223.50 overall.
As for the US, we took a looked at the insurance offered by AT&T, which is provided by Asurion. Here you can pay $8.99 per month (which is $107.88 a year). There are deductibles depending on the nature of the repairs, with that broken screen repair priced at $89. There is a limit of two claims in 12 consecutive months. The maximum value per claim is $2,500. So a cost of $196.88 in the first year or $304.76 by the second year.
How long does phone insurance last?
Generally, third-party insurance policies are annual, so you'll need to renew them every 12 months, although if you take out insurance with your mobile phone provider it may last for the full two years of your contract with them.
Which is the best option: AppleCare+ or phone insurance?
Like all insurance, it's all a matter of weighing up your risk. If you're the kind of person who tends to drop their phone all the time, then having a backup for those moments is probably the most sensible route to go down. With AppleCare+ you can have your screen or water damaged iPhone back up and running quickly and at an acceptable cost.
Non-US customers should note though, that they don't have the option of theft or loss coverage, which seems a large oversight by Apple. As iPhones are desirable devices that cost lots of money and are easily pocketable, they are prime targets for thieves. So, in this case, private insurance would seem the safer choice.
We would recommend you contact any potential insurer and confirm that Apple or a certified Apple repairer will carry out the work on your iPhone, as we've seen in the past that Apple is making it harder for non-certified technicians to work on their iPhones.
Finally, if you're careful with your devices and generally don't have them in your hands all the time when walking down streets, you could well find that your iPhone can make it through its life without the need for insurance at all. This potential can definitely be improved by the addition of some protection, such as that found in our best iPhone 12 and 12 Pro cases roundup. Then with the money you save, you can put a little away each month and save up for the new iPhone 13 or any of its successors.
Your iPhone won't last forever though, insurance of no insurance. Read How long does Apple support old iPhones?