Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
You’ve just spent a good chunk of change on a fancy smartphone, and the salesperson paints you a picture of everything that could happen to your shiny new device. You could drop it on a concrete floor and shatter the screen. You could drop it in the toilet (don’t laugh—a colleague of mine just admitted this happened to her!) and render it useless. You could lose it. You could have it swiped from your purse. “You really need insurance,” the salesperson tells you.
But maybe you don’t.
Consider this: According to a November 2013 survey by Consumer Reports, only one in five respondents had to replace a lost, broken, or stolen phone. With such a small number of folks needing a new phone due to mishaps, cell phone replacement insurance seems like an unnecessary extra cost.
Cell phone insurance: A waste of money?
According to Consumer Reports, cell phone insurance can cost $7 to $11 a month. That may not seem like much, but you’ll also pay a deductible that costs anywhere from $50 to $150. And get this: Even after paying for insurance, your replacement phone might be a refurbished device rather than a new one.
One of my favorite financial gurus, radio talk show host Clark Howard, says cell phone insurance is a waste of money. Instead of an insurance plan, Howard suggests that you instead invest in a protective case. OtterBox is a well-known option, but there are many other good-quality protective cases out there. Look for a case that protects all sides of the phone and offers a bit of a lip so the screen is inset. Imagine your phone falling facedown on a hard floor or getting dinged on the edge of a doorway. Are all edges protected? A screen shield is also a good idea, as it can protect your screen from shattering if it gets a direct hit.
Repairs can be less expensive than an insurance plan
Remember, too, that phones can be repaired. Even shattered screens can be replaced for a fraction of the cost of insurance and a deductible. Ask friends for a reputable shop, or try one of the franchise kiosks that you may see in your local mall. I took my smartphone to one of those kiosks to have the screen repaired and had a great experience.
If you feel uncomfortable carrying around your expensive phone without some kind of peace-of-mind coverage, check your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. Your phone might be covered under “personal articles” coverage.
Consumer Reports offers one other option: When you buy a new phone, keep your old one. If you break or lose your new phone, you might be able to reactivate your previous phone or transfer your SIM card to it. Use it until you’re eligible for a new phone (if you’re on a contract) or until you can afford to buy a new phone outright.
Finally, keep in mind that phone prices are going down all the time. By the time your phone breaks or is lost, you might be able to buy a better one for less than the cost of replacement insurance and the deductible.
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.