Owning a cell phone can get expensive, especially if you have to replace or fix a stolen or damaged one. Luckily, you may have cell phone protection from your credit card.
By taking advantage of credit cards with cell phone protection, you could save on a separate cell phone insurance plan. But before signing up for a new credit card or foregoing insurance, it’s best to understand exactly what is and isn’t covered under credit card phone insurance.
What Is Credit Card Cell Phone Protection?
Credit card cell phone protection is a type of insurance protection, where your credit card issuer pays for you to replace a stolen cell phone or make repairs to a damaged one. In most cases, you’ll need to pay for your cell phone bill with that card in order to get the protection.
Depending on the terms and conditions listed on your credit card, you’ll be protected from certain types of damage, and up to a certain coverage amount.
How Does Credit Card Cell Phone Protection Work?
When you pay for your cell phone bill with a credit card that offers cell phone protection, you can file a claim if you experienced a type of covered loss.
Keep in mind that the coverage provided by your cell phone may not be primary. This means you may need to exhaust your other options, such as by filing a claim with your home, car, or separate cell phone insurance first. It’s best to check the terms of your credit card phone insurance to see when you’re able to file a claim.
If you are able to file a claim with the credit card issuer, you may need to pay a deductible per claim (in many cases it’s around $25 or $50) before insurance kicks in. Plus, you may have limitations as to how many claims you can make per year, as well as the amount you’ll be covered for. The specifics will ultimately depend on how your credit card works.
Who Does Credit Card Cell Phone Protection Cover?
In most cases, your credit card issuer will provide protection for cell phones that you pay your monthly service bills for. As in, any phone numbers listed on the monthly bill that you pay for using an eligible credit card will most likely be covered. That means if you have more than one phone on your plan, the credit card protection will extend to all of them.
However, some credit card companies may limit the number of cell phones that are covered. It bears repeating that it’s important to check the coverage limitations listed in the terms and conditions for your credit card.
What Does Credit Card Cell Phone Protection Cover?
Typically, credit card cell phone protection will pay to replace an eligible phone that’s stolen or to make repairs to an eligible phone that’s damaged. What’s typically covered includes damage to your phone that makes it non-functional or not operate optimally. Different credit card companies will have various definitions for covered damages, which can range from cracked screens to hardware failures.
What Isn’t Covered by Credit Card Cell Phone Protection?
Remember, cell phone protection only provides coverage for the actual phone. Here’s what usually is not covered by your eligible credit card:
• Accessories like a phone case or screen protector
• Cell phones for purchased for resale, or commercial or professional use
• Cell phones that are lost or that disappeared under mysterious circumstances (i.e. there wasn’t evidence of any wrongdoing)
• Phones stolen from a common carrier (like the U.S. Postal Service or another delivery service) or your baggage
• Phones from pay-as-you-go plans
• Cosmetic damage
• Damage or theft from fraud, illegal activities, normal wear and tear, certain natural disasters, and intentional acts
• Taxes or fees such as delivery charges
• Losses that are covered under your cell phone manufacturer warranty
• Replacement of a phone that wasn’t purchased from a cell phone retail store with the ability to activate phone with your cell phone service provider
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Factors to Consider Before Getting a Cell Phone Insurance Policy With Your Issuer
Trying to decide whether to take advantage of cell phone insurance through a credit card? Here are some considerations to make before deciding.
Though the deductible may not cost you a lot, it’s important to check exactly how much you’ll have to pay out of pocket before your insurance will cover the rest. It’s also smart to check how much it will cost for the repair beforehand, especially if you believe the cost could be close to the amount of your deductible.
The Number of Claims You Can File
Some credit card issuers limit the amount of claims you can make. For instance, you may only be able to make two separate claims a year up to the coverage limit.
You’ll also want to check to see whether the allowable coverage amount would be enough to replace your current phone if it’s stolen. If not, you may want to consider other alternatives.
Your Card’s Annual Fee
If you’re signing up for a credit card solely for the cell phone protection feature, make sure the annual fee is worth it, assuming there is one. In some cases, it may be better money-wise to stick with your homeowners or renters insurance, or to purchase a separate cell phone insurance plan.
At the end of the day, you don’t want the costs to outweigh the benefits of a credit card.
How to Know If Your Credit Card Has Cell Phone Protection
The best way to find out if your credit card offers cell phone protection is to check your card agreement. It should detail what features are offered — and you could even learn about additional perks, such as credit card rental insurance or credit card travel insurance.
Granted, the fine print can sometimes feel overwhelming or difficult to wade through. Another option is to call your credit card company and ask whether your card has cell phone protection and if so, how you can qualify.
Filing a Cell Phone Protection Claim
If you need to file a claim, most credit card issuers require that you file a report within a certain amount of time, such as within 90 days of your loss. Contact your credit card issuer, and it will provide the next steps you’ll need to take.
Your issuer may direct you to forms you’ll need to fill out with information like details around the loss and any proof you can provide. Your credit card company will then keep you informed with any updates related to your claim.
Alternatives to Credit Card Cell Phone Protection
If you aren’t using a credit card to pay your cell phone bill or just aren’t sure whether credit card cell phone protection is the right choice for you, there are other options. You might consider these alternatives:
• Homeowners or renters insurance: Many homeowners or renters insurance policies offer coverage for personal belongings. However, it typically covers theft and not damage or loss. Plus, you may face a higher deductible compared to what a credit card company may charge.
• Purchase a separate cell phone protection policy: Your phone’s manufacturer or service provider may offer policies. Before signing on the dotted line, read the fine print carefully to see what the coverage limit and deductible are, as well as what losses are included.
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Getting cell phone coverage from a credit card can be a great way to protect an item you use often. Plus, it could save you from purchasing a separate policy. Before moving forward with credit card cell phone protection, check to see whether the credit card is worth signing up for.
Can a cell phone be used to steal credit card details?
For the most part, the digital wallets used to store credit card information on your cell phone are safe. Still, you’ll want to do your research to ensure you’re choosing an app that has in place adequate protections. Also follow basic safety practices, like locking your phone, avoiding using digital payment devices over unsecured WiFi networks, and regularly reviewing your account for any fraudulent activity.
Is it safe to put your credit card details on your phone?
Generally yes, it’s safe to put your credit card details on your phone if you’re using e-wallet apps, such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. However, any type of credit card transaction can be vulnerable to fraud.
Is credit card cell phone protection worth it?
Credit card cell phone protection can be worth it if you want to guard against loss or theft for your phone that may cost you a lot of money to replace. You’ll want to weigh the card’s annual fee against the protection offered in order to determine if it’s truly worthwhile.
Photo credit: iStock/nunawwoofy
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