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Consider taking up cell phone insurance to protect your precious smartphone

You may not have given thought to the idea of taking up a cell phone insurance plan for your mobile device. However, if you are spending anything close to one hundred thousand naira on a device, it is a very good idea to insure it. Many are of the opinion that insurance companies in Nigeria do not provide cover for mobile devices, but that is far from the truth.

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The situation is that insurers do not provide cover for mobile devices in isolation. To get insurance cover for your phone against theft, loss and fire, simply insure it as part of your home insurance policy. Businesses can also insure their devices by including them under their office equipment cover.

I have regularly insured my high-end mobile devices over the years, and so I write this from experience. If you broke the bank to buy that $1,000 (₦480,000) device, do get insurance cover for it. As such, should you lose it in a fire or burglary, you’re covered and can replace it easily.

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What is Cell Phone Insurance?

Cell phone insurance here is used to refer to the concept of insuring your mobile phone – usually to cover theft and fire. The subscriber pays a small amount annually as premium, in exchange for protection from damage or loss.

As far as I can tell from my findings, a significant number of mobile subscribers are enthusiastic about the idea if it comes at a “good price”. However, I am yet to speak with one insurer that is remotely excited about it. Every time I have raised the subject with an insurer, enthusiasm drops and their response is a cautious one.

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As already mentioned, the few companies that offer insurance cover for mobile phones lump it up with other insurance products e.g. home/household cover. In other words, if you insure your home and property, you can include your mobile phone. But you cannot insure your mobile phone alone. Why are insurers wary of covering mobile phones alone? I have spoken with professionals from three major insurance companies in the country, and the feedback is generally the same.

The feedback I have received from insurers include how phones can easily go missing or messed up by mishandling. There is a general mistrust of Nigerians to tell the truth about what really happened to their phones in such cases. There is also the fear that the they would end up spending more on claims than revenue from insuring the devices in the first place. The summary is that no insurance company in Nigeria is willing to push standalone insurance cover for mobile devices. Yet.

For now, apart from a select handful of companies offering cell phone insurance in the country, if you want insurance cover for your smartphone, what you can do is take a home/household cover or an office equipment cover and include your phone in the list of items covered.

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Some of the companies that have tried to offer the service in partnership with insurance companies have hit the rock and gone with the wind. New ones are springing up though, to service the need and fill the gap.

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In the United States, the story is different. Many insurance providers will provide you with cellphone insurance. Sometimes, even used devices are covered. This is usually in partnership with your wireless carrier. For example, Verizon provides insurance cover for smartphones through an 3rd party insurance provider.

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What does cell phone insurance cover? Does your phone insurance cover cracked screen?

Generally, cellphone insurance covers accidental damage including drops, liquid spills, and cracked screens.

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For example, in addition to accidental damage (including cracked screens and water damage), T-Mobile’s most comprehensive insurance plan covers device malfunctions, as well as loss and theft. Verizon’s cover is similar in scope.

In all cases, be sure to ask for all the details of what you are paying for.

Can you get insurance on your phone anytime?

It depends. Some carriers require that you take up device protection within 30 days of activating your device. Others have no such restriction.

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How do you file a claim for cell phone insurance?

To make a claim when damage, loss, or theft happens on your smartphone, you can apply from the carrier’s website or app, or directly from the 3rd party provider. In some cases, you will get a replacement device in as little as 24 hours. Of course, it can take longer than that.

When to cancel cell phone insurance

You can cancel your device protection plan at any time it pleases you to. There is no forced obligation.

Where to get cell phone insurance

The first place to look for mobile phone insurance is your carrier or wireless network. Usually, they will have one.

You can also ask at the point of purchase. For example, Samsung offers device protection, which you can pay for at the time you are buying your device. Large mobile phone stores usually offer a device protection product as well.

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Is cell phone insurance worth it?

Are cell phone protection plans worth it? This is a fairly common question. The answer is, it depends. For example, if you have purchased a smartphone at the cost of $1,500, replacing it in the event of theft could put a strain on your finances. In this case, taking up a mobile phone insurance cover is a smart idea. If you don’t think that replacing your phone will be a financial burden, perhaps you do not need a device protection cover.

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