Phone Insurance: A Tough Cell
Pay extra for mobile coverage? Only if it's one pricey phone--or if your kids (or you) are klutzy.
(MONEY Magazine) – • THE COME-ON Your cell phone could be lost or stolen, or you might drop it in a puddle the second you leave the store! So you'd better insure it.
• WHAT IT IS A policy you buy from your cellular carrier that guarantees a replacement phone if yours is lost, damaged or stolen
• COST Usually $3 to $6 a month, plus a $35 to $70 deductible
• WORTH IT? Almost never, says Bob Hunter of the Consumer Federation of America: "You buy insurance to protect yourself against serious financial impact. If you're willing to withstand a $500 deductible on your home, which is fairly common, why would you insure an item worth $200?" You also can end up paying more out of pocket than the replacement is worth, since it's usually a refurbished model. After 12 months--if you can keep your phone safe that long--many carriers offer discounts on gear that make it just as cheap to buy new.
• EXCEPTIONS PDA/phone combos, which can cost $500 or more, probably merit coverage, although the deductible will likely be upwards of $100. And if you have a kid who's ever lost a phone (or two), the insurance might be a nice crutch.