Consumer Reports: Pros and cons of cell phone insurance

Cell phone insurance - CRTV

In a recent survey, Consumer Reports found that over the last two years, half of the people they surveyed had at least one major incident with a phone in their household, and if there are kids in the house, that goes up to 81 percent. Without coverage, the average cost to repair a cracked screen for an Apple iPhone 8 is $145. A Samsung Galaxy S8+ is $277.

Apple and Samsung sell their own protection plans. Apple Care + for an iPhone 8 costs $129, and $199 for the iPhone X. Samsung Premium Care is $11.99 a month.

Coverage plans from Apple and Samsung don’t cover loss or theft. They’re basically extended warranties, not insurance. So they cover things like cracked screens, mechanical failures.

Or you could consider getting insurance through your provider. All four major carriers cover repairs, along with loss and theft, depending on the type of plan you select and your device.

But is cell-phone insurance really necessary? The important thing is to know yourself. You need to take a step back and ask yourself: am I the kind of person who tends to break things, do I have teenagers who who tend to break things?

CR’s rule of thumb: if you feel like within a two year period you're likely to have two or more incidents occur to your phone, you may want to get insurance.

CR also found that cracked screens are by far the most common repair need. Thirty percent of survey respondents said someone in their household had cracked their smartphone screen in the past two years.

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