What is mobile phone insurance?

It is a specialist insurance policy that covers the cost of replacing or repairing your phone if it is lost, damaged, or stolen.

Mobile phone policies usually have a lower excess than most other contents insurance policies, typically around 50. They also include extra cover like:

  • Accidental damage

  • Water damage

  • Screen cracking

You can get separate cover for each mobile phone you need to protect, but some insurance companies offer multi device cover that lets you insure your whole family's phones under one policy.

What is gadget insurance?

It works in a similar way to mobile phone insurance, but cover can be extended to a range of gadgets including smartphones, laptops, cameras and games consoles.

Gadget insurance is good if you are a student because you can insure all portable electronic devices under one low excess policy.

You can also get gadget insurance to cover one specific item, like your mobile phone, so it is worth comparing gadget insurance deals to see if you could save money.

Where can you find cover?

The main ways to get insurance for your mobile phone are:

  • Through your network provider or phone retailer

  • By comparing specialist mobile phone insurance policies

Getting cover from your phone retailer or network provider lets you insure your phone straight away, so if the worst happens you can get your phone replaced quickly.

However, this is unlikely to be the cheapest option and you could save money by comparing other mobile insurance policies.

Do you need it?

This depends on two things:

  1. How likely you are to damage or lose your phone

  2. Whether you can afford to replace your phone if it is damaged or lost

Did you know?

Ofcom report that over 60% of UK adults own a smartphone.

If you are unlikely to break or lose your phone, or you can afford to replace it if you need to, you may not need mobile phone insurance. You may already be covered elsewhere, like your home contents insurance policy.

However, if you are tied into a pay monthly contract or have a smartphone that would cost hundreds of pounds to replace, you should think about insuring it.

What is covered?

It varies widely between insurers, but most mobile phone policies offer cover for:

  • Loss or theft

  • Accidental damage

  • Malicious damage

  • Worldwide travel

  • Mechanical breakdown

  • Broken buttons

  • Water damage

  • Cracked screens

  • Accessories

  • Damaged headphone socket

Most mobile phone policies come with extra cover that is not included with standard contents insurance. For example, you can claim for the cost of replacing downloaded music, apps or games if your phone needs to be replaced.

You also get a faster claims service with a mobile phone policy, so you get your replacement phone in a matter of days.

What about unauthorised use?

Some mobile phone policies cover the cost of unauthorised calls, texts and downloads if your phone is lost or stolen, usually up to 2,000.

Not all insurers include cover for unauthorised use, so compare products if you need to find cover for this.

Are there any exclusions?

Policies usually exclude specified situations where the insurer will not pay your claim, including:

  • Policyholders under the age of 18

  • Cosmetic damage, or general wear and tear

  • Second hand phones

  • Damage resulting from carelessness

  • Theft without force, or while your phone is unattended

  • Accidentally leaving your phone behind, e.g. in a bar

  • Delays in reporting your claim to your insurer

  • Failure to tell the police if your phone is lost or stolen

  • Lost photos

You may also be limited to the number of claims you can make on your policy, although some insurers offer unlimited claims for an added price.

How much does it cost?

The monthly cost of mobile phone insurance ranges from around 2 to 15, so it's worth shopping around to find the best deal.

The cost depends on the make of your phone, with newer phones and certain models costing more than others.

The amount you pay for your mobile phone insurance also depends on your claims history:

  • If you have previously claimed on mobile phone insurance, you may pay more

  • If you have no prior claims, you may get a no claims bonus and pay less

How else can you protect your mobile?

There are other options to taking out separate mobile phone insurance, but they may not offer the same cover as a specialist mobile phone policy:

  • Warranty: If your phone is still under warranty you may not need a separate insurance policy. However, warranties only tend to cover mechanical problems so check the terms before you decide against separate cover.

  • Package bank accounts: If you have an account where you pay a monthly fee, mobile phone insurance may be included. You will need to register your phone for cover to start, and you should check that the policy gives you what you need.

  • Home insurance: Your contents insurance may cover your personal possessions away from your home. However, you may pay a higher excess if you claim, and claims may increase your premium.

  • Self insurance: You could put money away in a savings account each month, to cover the cost of your mobile if you need to repair or replace it. Pick an account that gives you easy access to your money, and consider the risk that your phone could get damaged before you have enough money saved to replace it.

You can use our comparison to find mobile phone insurance deals, or read more about other ways to protect your mobile phone here.

How to claim

Making a claim on your mobile phone insurance works much the same as most other insurance policies.