When you get a new tech gadget, you’re probably very excited to use it and discover all that it can do. The last thing you want to think about is what if you damaged it. Many tech devices are more expensive to fix than to replace and are luxuries, not necessities. So you may think that you will do without until you can save up to get a new device, perhaps more advanced than the one you broke.
If you got a new iPhone or Android phone, you probably bought it when you signed a new contract with your carrier, significantly reducing the price of the phone to a couple hundred dollars or less. So why would you spend money to get an extended warranty on the phone?
Reasons to buy a cell phone warranty:
1. To replace a smartphone that you bought on contract, you need to pay much more than the cost of the phone when you signed onto your contract. The 16 GB iPhone 4S is $649 without a contract, much more than the $199 price with a contract.
2. You have to keep paying smartphone fees to your carrier (example, the fee for your data plan) during the term of your contract even if you don’t have a smartphone any more.
3. Mobile phones are, well, mobile. They get around. As in “get into the washing machine” get around. Or drop out of your pocket. Or run over by a car. You get the idea. The more places you take them, the more ways you have to destroy them.
4. Manufacturers’ warranties only cover defects, not damage.
5. Once you have a smartphone, it’s really tough to go back to a feature phone. Really tough.
For those reasons, I highly suggest that people get warranty coverage on their cell phones. I know someone who broke her iPhone the first month she had it. She didn’t want to pay the money to get a replacement iPhone off contract, so she went back to her feature phone and ended up paying for a data plan she didn’t use for 2 years.
Where to Buy Warranties
There are three main sources for cell phone warranties: the carrier, the manufacturer and third parties.
Many carriers offer a cell phone warranty for a monthly fee. Check your terms and conditions and compare the fees and deductible with other warranties available. In general carrier warranties are more expensive than manufacturers’ warranties, though may seem cheaper because you pay a monthly fee instead of a lump sum.
When you buy a cell phone, many manufacturers will give you a warranty against defects for 12 months. This doesn’t cover you against damage to your phone should something happen like you drop it, your dog mistakes it for a chew toy, or your kid runs over it with her tricycle.
Square Trade is a website that offers warranties on many tech devices. I’ve purchased a warranty for my iPad from Square Trade. Right now they are offering a 2 year warranty on the iPhone 4S on sale for $99. Square Trade Warranty
Apple offers an extended warranty for its products called AppleCare. Beginning this month, Apple is offering AppleCare + to cover damage to iPhones. The coverage is for 2 years and costs $99. You must buy the coverage when you buy the phone from Apple, though until November 14 you can buy AppleCare + for phones that were purchased elsewhere on or after October 14. To purchase AppleCare + when you didn’t buy your phone from Apple, you must speak to Apple on the phone.
Apple is especially busy right now. Don’t call Apple unless you want to wait on hold for hours. In fact, you may be on hold past November 14 even if you call right now. Instead, go to expresslane.apple.com and schedule Apple to call you. You can have them call you immediately or at a designated time.
Which Should You Choose?
If you buy an iPhone and live near an Apple Store, I recommend buying AppleCare +. The major advantage is that you can take your iPhone into an Apple Store and either have it fixed or walk out with a new one. The disadvantage of AppleCare + is that you are restricted to two repairs if your phone is damaged.
If you don’t live near an Apple Store or want to protect tech that isn’t an Apple product, I recommend SquareTrade. They don’t limit the number of times you can repair your device though they only cover the damage up to the cost of the device. So if you completely demolish your iPhone, they will give you a new iPhone but your warranty is then over.
If you want to protect your tech with a warranty against damage, look at all your options. Compare fees and deductible amounts. If you’re buying a smartphone at a steep discount when you sign a contract with your carrier, definitely consider getting a warranty for your phone.
Do you get warranties against damage to your tech? Have you ever had a mishap with your cell phone? Let us know in the Comments section below!
* Image by Ryosuke Takeoka
** Image by Stephen Heywood