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Old 06-07-2019, 11:57 AM
DummyGladHands is offline
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Cell phone insurance thru your carrier?


I am pretty sure there was a thread a while back that I can't find. So here goes again.

My insurance thru Sprint is now $15/mo. I have never used it, and I have been with Sprint over 15 years. Profit center, anyone?? The one time I might have they wanted to send my phone away for "10 days to 2 weeks." Um, no. Dare I go without?? I have an "old lady" data plan and that $15 is fully 1/3 of my monthly cost. Any alternatives?
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Old 06-07-2019, 01:09 PM
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Alternatives to what? Alternative sources for cell phone insurance, or a different carrier?

They call it "insurance" to make you think you need it. I have never gotten it. There is a time or two I might have used it but on balance I ended up far ahead. In general you need insurance against a catastrophic loss. Anything else is a "service plan." Over the long run it's better to just pay for repairs if you need them.
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  #3  
Old 06-07-2019, 01:28 PM
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Don't forget about the deductible, frequently up to $200 if you use the insurance.

Most people are better off if they could sock that $15 in a savings account or under the mattress for if/when then need a new phone.
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Old 06-07-2019, 01:39 PM
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You may want to look into some of the prepaid offerings by other companies. These are companies which you pay by the month. Many of them offer unlimited talk/text and XGB of highspeed data and then unlimited slow data after that. If you don't have a lot of data requirements, you can save a lot by going with one of those. You can typically buy one of their phones or bring your own phone. Since you've been with Sprint for a while, you should probably look for companies which use the Sprint network since you know the phones will be compatible.

(BTW, sometimes these sub-companies are called MVNO providers. Search for Sprint MVNO to find companies which use the Sprint network)
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Old 06-07-2019, 01:52 PM
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Yeah, I learned the hard way what a scam phone insurance is. When my grandson was on our plan we had it on his phone because he tended to be a little... um, careless with his. Figured it would be cheaper than buying a whole new replacement phone. Wrong! The insurance was, I think, $12 a month (or $288 over the course of a two year contract). If you filed a claim you had to pay a $200 deductable, in return for which you got a refurbished phone that may last you six months. And I believe you were only allowed to file two claims over the course of a contract and then they terminated your coverage.
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Old 06-07-2019, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
In general you need insurance against a catastrophic loss. Anything else is a "service plan."
This. Insurance is about paying someone else to alleviate your risk. That's handy when the bad outcome is something that could bankrupt you (like a house fire, or cancer), but it's a waste when the bad outcome is a cost you could absorb without too much hardship. Depending on how awesome your phone is, $15/mo is enough to buy you a new one every couple of years. Phones don't break that often, unless you happen to be really hard on them. Spiderman has the gold-medal advice here; stop paying those premiums and bank your cash yourself for a new phone.
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Old 06-07-2019, 02:02 PM
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I agree with everyone. Insurance is to protect you against catastrophic loss that you can't otherwise manage. You trade off some expected value against a floor on the worst-case scenario.

Insurance on relatively inexpensive things is almost always a terrible financial deal and a pain in the ass too (it's often easier to just ignore the insurance when it comes to replacing things. As you pointed out, it's not worth being without a phone for two weeks to use it).

I break my phone every 4-5 years on average. When that happens, I just pay out of pocket to fix it or buy another one. It's a bummer, but it's not going to impact my ability to pay my mortgage or buy groceries.
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Old 06-07-2019, 02:26 PM
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I'll take you on. I'll charge you $10 / month for the same coverage you're getting through your provider.
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Old 06-07-2019, 02:35 PM
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Just to add a bit to the discussion: I see three classes of phones in my friends and coworkers:

a. Brand new phones without a case that have only accumulated some scratches so far
b. Phones without a case that have major damage, usually major cracks in the screen, but still work
c. Phones with a case that are pristine

Same with screen protectors - either you use protection, or get scratches on your screen.

Cases and screen protectors absolutely work. Some better than others but they are essential and a lot cheaper than paying $15 a month all the time.
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Old 06-07-2019, 06:38 PM
Mama Zappa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DummyGladHands View Post
I am pretty sure there was a thread a while back that I can't find. So here goes again.

My insurance thru Sprint is now $15/mo. I have never used it, and I have been with Sprint over 15 years. Profit center, anyone?? The one time I might have they wanted to send my phone away for "10 days to 2 weeks." Um, no. Dare I go without?? I have an "old lady" data plan and that $15 is fully 1/3 of my monthly cost. Any alternatives?
We're Verizon users here, and the insurance is about 10 bucks a month for most smartphones. It's spendy but when we figure the cost to replace the phone, it makes more sense. It's handled through Asurion.

However: when we've had to make a claim, we are not required to send the old phone back until they send us a replacement.

Interestingly, if there's no *physical* damage, but the screen is just going wonky, I've found that Verizon will ship the replacement. It behaves like an extended warranty vs insurance. If it's a dropped phone with a broken screen, we go through Asurion and have to pay the deductible.

Typically we'll keep the plan in place until the phone is about 18 months old; at that point, we figure, we'd be happy to upgrade.

How often have we used it?
My first phone, the screen misbehaved. Verizon sent me a refurbished one (which was clearly refurbished, it had some issues but at least the screen worked).

My next phone, no claims.

My third phone: two claims in a few months. One was wonky screen / free refurbished one from Verizon. The second time, I dropped it and it hit the ground juuuuuuust right.

My daughter's phone has been swapped out twice. Once due to some kind of battery issue (Verizon insisted we take it to an Apple store; they were trying to weasel out of their obligation; Apple said "no can fix" and we made Verizon pony up). The next time was a cracked screen.

So that's 5 replacements overall, in the 7 years all 4 of us have had smartphones. Arguably we're coming out behind, but it's nice to have the expense somewhat predictable. It also covers loss / theft.

To the OP: 15 a month sounds steep. Even the top-tier plan through the Veridiots is only 12 bucks (and that's the fancy one that includes one-on-one phone tech support or something). If you could handle an emergency replacement, you may be happier just putting the 15 away each month then using that to fund a replacement.
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Old 06-07-2019, 11:15 PM
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I pay my cell phone bill with my Wells Fargo Visa card. If my cell phone is stolen or damaged, Wells Fargo pays to replace it (subject to a $25.00 deductible).

There is no cost to me for this insurance.

Last edited by Duckster; 06-07-2019 at 11:16 PM.
  #12  
Old 06-08-2019, 06:52 PM
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If you have an unused phone that still works, you probably don't need the insurance. You could just switch to that phone instead until you figure out a replacement. If you had to save up to afford a new phone, you could use the backup in the meantime.
  #13  
Old 06-08-2019, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by filmore View Post
If you have an unused phone that still works, you probably don't need the insurance. You could just switch to that phone instead until you figure out a replacement. If you had to save up to afford a new phone, you could use the backup in the meantime.
This is not efficient, however. It's better to sell your old phone (unless it's so old that it's worthless) and in the event you need to purchase a replacement, most scenarios it will be years later and you could just buy your old phone back for less than you sold it for.
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Old 06-09-2019, 12:01 AM
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This is not efficient, however. It's better to sell your old phone (unless it's so old that it's worthless) and in the event you need to purchase a replacement, most scenarios it will be years later and you could just buy your old phone back for less than you sold it for.
That's efficient? Not only would you take a loss on your phone, you would be buying back an older phone that might have had issues over the intervening years, such as battery problems and not being able to run the latest app updates.
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Old 06-09-2019, 12:13 AM
SamuelA is offline
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Originally Posted by cochrane View Post
That's efficient? Not only would you take a loss on your phone, you would be buying back an older phone that might have had issues over the intervening years, such as battery problems and not being able to run the latest app updates.
It depends on the exact dates but in general, yes. In most possible futures you will come out ahead. Obviously, for futures where your new phone fails before the depreciation on your old phone would have exceeded the inefficiency of selling it (shipping and ebay fees), you do not come out ahead.

If you break your phone so often that this solution isn't the most efficient one, you probably need to be purchasing used phones from ebay that are the least expensive phones that meet your functional requirements.

Last edited by SamuelA; 06-09-2019 at 12:18 AM.
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Old 06-09-2019, 06:05 AM
kanicbird is offline
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I had good service with it from Verizon. However over the years I have paid more then I got, thus is the game of insurance. Cost is $10/month. I was having problems with a iPhone 6, one mic was no longer working, the one that is used for Siri, so no Siri. They overnighted me a refurbished iP6 with a return box for mine. No cost for that exchange, but for some things I understadn there is a deductible, of I believe $100

I know in general it's not a good idea, but it is peace of mind, even if I lose the phone, or it's stolen, it's covered. It's just that the phone seems to be too valuable to be carried around as much as we do, and it's too big a expense to take the hit, that the insurance is worth it for me.

The alternatives that I can recall is Apple Care (not sure about android), pay for the extra year. Check with your home or renters insurance. I think there are 3rd party insurers also. Or buy with a credit card that would extend the warrantee a additional year.

Last edited by kanicbird; 06-09-2019 at 06:07 AM.
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