Save on Cell Phone Insurance with These Credit Cards

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One of our phones recently went on an infinite boot loop where it would restart, go to the start screen and continue to reboot itself. The phone was a little over a year old and was out of warranty. With most phones selling over $500 nowadays, it was going to be an expensive option to replace.

Broken iPhone screen – Photo: Michael Gil via Flickr

Cellphone carriers recommend most users carry insurance for their phone. If you buy cellphone insurance directly from a cell phone carrier, it will most likely be through Asurion.

Asurion’s plans vary by carrier but there is a common denominator for all of them:

  • $6 – $8 monthly fee per phone
  • $100 deductible
  • Protection against lost, theft or damage

We always opt out of coverage. Instead, we rely on our credit card to cover our phones. There are few credit card options with cell phone insurance (we use Wells Fargo for our coverage):

Wells Fargo:

To our knowledge, all Wells Fargo Credit Cards have cellphone insurance coverage. Some Wells Fargo cards with this feature include Wells Fargo Propel American Express card and Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa card.

The common features of the coverage are:

  • Up to 4 phones
  • 2 claims per year, up to $600 each time and a $1,200 maximum per year
  • $25 deductible
  • Coverage for damage and theft. No coverage for LOST device.
  • You do not need to buy the phone with a Wells Fargo card, but you need to pay your monthly bill with it.

We were going to use it for the first time for our issue above, but Google Project Fi tech support was nice enough to send us a refurbished phone if we send the broken one back even though it was out of warranty.

Based on anecdotal reports, Wells Fargo seems to be pretty good with the claim process. Checking through Wells Fargo credit card offerings, Wells Fargo cards do not have any annual fees.

Chase Ink Business Preferred

Chase offer ONE credit card with cell phone insurance. It is their Chase Ink Business Preferred card. Features include:

  • Coverage for phones of you and employees listed on your monthly phone bill of your business
  • Up to 3 claims of $600 each in a 12 month period.
  • $100 deductible
  • Coverage for damage and theft. No coverage for LOST devices
  • Coverage for only new phones, refurbished phones are not included
  • No need to buy the phone with the Ink Business Preferred card, but you need to pay your monthly bill with it.

The Ink Business Preferred card is similar to the Asurion plans offered by most carriers. If you have a business and have the Ink Business Preferred card, it would make sense to pay the monthly cellphone bill with it since you would also get 3X bonus points per dollar spent as telecommunication charges are a bonus category for the card. There is a $95 annual fee.

Fifth Third Bank

Fifth Third Bank is a credit card issuer that most people have not heard of, but all their credit cards offer cell phone insurance coverage. Common features of their cards include:

  • Coverage for damage and theft. No coverage for LOST devices.
  • Up to 2 claims per year, $200 maximum each time and $400 max per year.
  • $50 deductible

There isn’t much information on the claim process, so we don’t have any reports on how good it is. But, the coverage is pretty low and at most would probably cost a fourth or a third the cost of a high end phone. So it isn’t that useful.

Credit Card Extended Warranty:

Most credit cards include extended warranty coverage. Our experience is mainly with American Express extended warranty protection. American Express match the equipment’s coverage with a US warranty for up to a year. So if the phone has a 90 day warranty, American Express coverage would double it to 180 days. If the manufacturer’s warranty is 2 years, you would only get an additional year. Our experience with American Express for claims have been very positive.

In our instance, if Wells Fargo’s coverage was less than ideal, we would’ve called American Express since we purchased the phone with an American Express card.

Is there value to insurance coverage from a cellphone company?

If you are the type that lose a lot of phones – then getting an insurance plan directly from your cell carrier would make sense. Asurion plans include lost phone coverage. Otherwise, we would opt out and use a credit card with cell phone insurance coverage.

Conclusion:

With the right credit card, you can save a significant amount of money especially if you are on a share family plan. All these coverage are supplemental, so it would be secondary overage after your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance plan. If you don’t have those plans, then it would be primary coverage.

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One Response to "Save on Cell Phone Insurance with These Credit Cards"

  1. John Roberts says:

    For several years I faithfully paid my cell phone bill with my Wells Fargo credit card in order to have the benefit of what I thought was cell phone insurance. I had an accident dropping my cell phone which caused swelling of my battery ultimately causing it not to work. I filed a claim according to their procedures and it was denied. In the fine print of this protection package they basically can deny any claim for any reason. I discussed this with my Wells Fargo banker and with other bank employees and was told this is a very common complaint that the protection is worthless. I assume they actually pay some claims but for me it was a waste of my time to file. I no longer bother to use this card for this supposed benefit.

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