Sometimes, it’s because the cost of replacing a smartphone screen can be quite high, and for some, it doesn’t seem worth it.
It’s early days, but some credit card companies are starting to turn their attention to the smartphone user. One company has even started offering smartphone screen repair coverage as a specific cardholder benefit. But there are other options out there too if you’re prone to smartphone mishaps.
The cards that offer smartphone repair cover
In Australia at the time of writing, American Express (AMEX) is the only company offering smartphone screen repair – on their Explorer, Essential and Platinum charge cards. However, in order to activate the benefit there are some criteria you need to meet, beyond the standard credit card eligibility requirements.
According to AMEX, you’ll need to purchase the phone outright in a single transaction and put the cost of the phone on your qualifying card. If you get the card after you’ve already signed up for your phone plan, you may still be eligible for coverage as long as you change your monthly payments to one of the eligible cards and wait 30 days from the date of the first payment made on the card to be covered.
At the time of writing, the cards offer reimbursement on screen repair costs up to a total of $500 with an excess of usually about 10% of the repair cost. Customers are limited to a maximum of two eligible claims per 12 month period. For more information on AMEX credit cards you can learn more on the Canstar website.
According to AMEX, it won’t cover the cost of your smashed phone repairs if they occurred while playing competitive sports. In addition, damage due to ordinary wear and tear over time would not be covered – only damage caused by a single incident would be eligible.
However, if applying for one of these AMEX cards doesn’t suit your needs there are still options to consider if you’re in the market for smartphone cover.
What are the other options?
Purchase Protection Insurance
If you’re already a credit card holder and you used that card to pay for your smartphone, it could be that damage to your screen is covered by your existing card. Purchase protection, also referred to as merchandise protection or purchase security, insures the products you buy with your credit card for a specified period of time. This is usually up to 90 days after the purchase, although some credit card providers offer cover for up to six months. Some companies offer purchase protection included with the credit card, while others offer you the ability to purchase it for an additional fee. Check the product disclosure statement of your chosen card to check if it’s right for you.
If your smashed screen was the result of an accident, purchase protection insurance may have it covered if the accident happened within the eligible time period. Additionally, purchase protection may also cover you for other purchases too, not just your smartphone. Although you should check if exceptions apply.
Remember, though, purchase protection insurance with a credit card typically only covers items purchased using that card, within a specified period after the item was purchased. You are unlikely to be covered for damage to a smartphone that was purchased using another method, was purchased before you took out the card.
In addition, to claim on damage or theft to an item through purchase protection insurance, it generally needs to be:
- In your possession at the time of the accident or theft
- Purchased solely for personal use
- Worth less than a specified amount (often around $3,000-$5,000)
The table below displays a snapshot of premium credit cards featuring purchase protection insurance on Canstar’s database, with links to providers’ websites, sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest) and then by provider name (A-Z). The products and Star Ratings displayed are based on a monthly spend of $5,000. Check upfront with your provider and read the PDS to confirm the cover details of a particular credit card, and whether you would be covered for damage to a smartphone screen where the phone was purchased using the card.
Insurance through your mobile service provider
Didn’t purchase your phone with a credit card? Depending on the type of phone you have and the mobile network provider you’re with, you may still be eligible for smartphone insurance. At the time of writing, most of the major telecommunications providers in Australia currently offer some form of smartphone insurance, either as an additional cost on a monthly plan or as an after-purchase extra to add on later.
Keep in mind that as with your contents insurance, smartphone insurance from your mobile provider may not cover your phone if it is left unattended or potentially if the damage is a result of usual wear and tear, cosmetic damage, or due to fire or rain.
Cover through your home and contents insurance
Another common way to insure your smartphone is through your home and contents policy. While it’s in your home, your smartphone will generally be covered, but make sure you read your policy carefully to get an understanding of how much cover your policy provides for mobile devices and screen repair and whether that policy would be enough.
If you’d like to have your phone insured when you’re away from your home you can opt to take out additional ‘portable valuables cover’, sometimes called ‘portable contents cover’. This is designed to insure eligible items against any loss, theft, or damage that occurs while you’re away from home. Some providers also offer portable valuables cover for jewellery, laptops or other valuable portable items.
Remember to take into consideration the additional costs of this kind of extra cover. It may be an extra premium on top of your existing home and contents cover and if the excess is more than a few hundred dollars, it could be worth considering if purchasing the additional insurance just for your smartphone is worth it.
Considering contents insurance as an option for protecting your smartphone? The table below displays a snapshot of contents-only insurance policies on Canstar’s database featuring Specified Portable Item Cover and Accidental breakage cover, with links to providers’ websites. The table is sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest) and then by provider name (A-Z).
Before committing to any policy, check upfront with your insurer and read the PDS for details of the Portable Item Cover and Accidental breakage cover to confirm whether the policy meets your needs and would cover you for smartphone screen repair. The products and Star Ratings displayed are based on a policy holder under the age of 50 based in NSW and ACT with the cost to replace contents set at under $75,000.