AppleCare and Other Phone Security Plans: Who Needs and What Doesn’t – They Should Buy

Years ago, my iPhone 7 fell from my nightstand, bounced off a plastic box and landed on the hardwood floor.

I picked it up, hoping for the best, but the screen shattered. Due to an unfortunate mix of physics and karma, the hardest effect was downstream, the only part of the device not protected by its Apple AAPL -0.31%

-Branded leather case. (The latest Apple cases for the iPhone 12, completely cover all four sides. Finally.)

Apple’s standard warranty did not cover the damage, even though the phone was just months old, as the drop was an accident. Bill for screen replacement? $ 140.

Yes, that repair-hit stung. But do I regret going through AppleCare +, which reduced my out-of-pocket costs? No.

One cracked screen was enough for one lesson. Since that horrific incident in 2016, I have yet to pick up another phone for repairs. And I’m Not Alone: ​​A 2016 Verizon VZ 0.33%

The survey of more than 1,000 American adults found that 49% of respondents had never broken or lost their phone, and 28% had done so once.

If you are, like me, a person who is usually careful with your phone and covers it with a case, phone-protection plans such as AppleCare + ($ 149 for two years) and Samsung Care + ($ 216 for two years) is not. correct.

“These are, by definition, low probability events.” That’s why the money is being made by Apple and others, ”said Howard Kunreuther, co-director of the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Process Center at the University of Pennsylvania. “People focus on results, and they don’t think about probability.”

In the midst of problems, Proc. Phone retailers know the potential for phone damage – says Kunneuther – at least based on the phones they take to repair – but they don’t publish that data. We consumers are left to calculate the risk themselves. And we are bad at it.

When I went to research the subject, most of the so-called studies were published by companies with the intention of selling coverage. They often had misleading statistics or horrific omissions.

If you got a new phone over the holidays and are considering activating a coverage plan, I can see how that makes sense. The warranty included with the purchase only covers manufacturing defects, not accidents. And the repair price has gone up: to fix a cracked iPhone 6 screen price of $ 109 in 2015 – today, the equivalent of an iPhone 12 screen swap costs $ 279, and $ 199 on the Samsung Galaxy S21. Other iPhone fixes – broken camera, mic malfunction – can cost up to $ 449.

Apple quietly expanded coverage in the fall, making the AppleCare + program look like a deal. Customers can now claim two damages each year instead of two claims each year. Theft and loss plan (an additional $ 70 on top of the original AppleCare +) now charges $ 149, down from $ 269 for stolen or misplaced phones.

Apple expanded coverage to AppleCare + + programs this fall; IPhone 12 launch in Sydney in November.


Brendan Thorne / Bloomberg News

When you look at different numbers, it may seem that you save money by buying coverage. Only $ 29 to repair an iPhone or Galaxy screen! But don’t forget that premium factor.

There are too many numbers to think about, so let’s look at one-two cost scenarios. First of all, here may be the biggest concern for someone who has just bought a high-end iPhone:

Broken iphone 12 screen

• $ 279 – If you do not have coverage and break your iPhone screen.

• $ 178 – If you prepay for two years of AppleCare + and break your screen.

• $ 149 – If you bought the plan and didn’t break your screen.

• $ 0 – If you do not have a plan and you do not break your screen.

You may not be a victim of wear and tear but are worried about stolen or lost phones. Here’s how to shake with SamsungBelongs to


Samsung Galaxy S21 lost phone

• $ 799 – If you do not have coverage and lose your new Galaxy.

• $ 541 – If you pay for two years of Samsung Care + and lose your phone.

• $ 312 – If you pay for two years of Samsung Care + and do not lose the phone.

• $ 0 – If you do not have coverage and you do not lose your phone.

The most important consideration is probability. Are you ready to bet Apple that you will definitely break your screen? Or bet Samsung that your phone will definitely be wrong? Certainly, someone reading this may abandon the coverage plan and later regret it, but statistically that person is in the minority.

Also, your chances of damage are reduced if you slap on a high-quality case with a non-slick material and raised edges that will protect the display. You can also add a PopSocket or ring for a more secure grip.

Also, smartphone displays are becoming more durable. Apple says that the latest iPhone 12 devices have four times the display security. Meanwhile, Samsung claims that the S21’s Gorilla Glass Victus is the toughest glass on the Samsung smartphone.

Samsung claims that the Galaxy S21’s glass is the toughest of any of its smartphones; Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G Smartphone.


Seongjoon Cho / Bloomberg News

You may not even need to consider the coverage-plan condition. Some credit cards provide phone protection as an advantage. For example, Chase Freedom Flex includes theft or damage insurance for phones, as long as you pay your monthly card bill with your Chase card. The deductible is $ 50 and you can make two claims in a year.

Many home owner and rental insurance policies do not cover accidental damage, but they do include theft from home under personal property coverage. It covers smartphones, although deductibles are often high. My policy deduction is well over $ 1,000 at the cost of an iPhone 12. But if someone steals a backpack containing your phone, laptop and other valuables, you will be covered. Hippo, a homeowners-insurance startup, and Toggle, a rental-insurance farmers’ branch, lets customers choose their deductible when choosing a policy, as low as $ 500 at Hippo and $ 100 at Toggle.

When you should buy a plan

The economics may be different if you can’t wait for repairs – the same day as Apple and Samsung offer replacement phones, and some insurance plans via cellular carriers may offer the same day.

Otherwise, these extended coverage options are best for large-time clutches. If you break the phone at least once a year, make sure to sign up. The question is which scheme? You can purchase extended coverage from the manufacturer of your phone, your cell carrier or any third party.

Most require you to sign up within a certain period of time after purchase, 60 days for AppleCare + and one year for Samsung Care +. Samsung’s theft and loss coverage is only available at the time of purchase.

share your thoughts

Do you need a warranty for your technical purchase? why or why not? Join the conversation below.

Some companies like Progressive and SquareTrade allow you to register your phone, used or new at any time with a purchase receipt. And no, if you break your phone, sign up for the plan, your already existing crack is not covered. (This is insurance fraud.)

Progressive has a relatively inexpensive deduction for theft and loss: $ 75, with a two-year premium between $ 169 and $ 175, depending on your phone. But there’s a caveat: its coverage doesn’t kick in until 30 days after signing up.

SquareTrade has a flexible $ 9 monthly fee, with a $ 149 deductible for all damage claims, but no coverage for theft or damage. This can be a good temporary option for travelers.

Cell carriers charge the most. AT&TBelongs to

Phone insurance is $ 15 a month, more than any of the 10 plans than mine. However, it does offer impressive perks, including same-day equipment replacement or repair, up to three claims a year, $ 29 screen repair, theft and damage coverage, and unlimited space in AT & T’s photo storage app. Even if you never use those other perks, at least you know that you can actually use that photo storage.

No matter what you decide, my main advice is: get a case to protect your investment and even if your phone is marketed as “waterproof”, keep it away from saltwater.

(Dow Jones & Company, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, has a commercial agreement to supply news through Apple services.)

write to Nicole Nguyen at [email protected]

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