Broken Smartphones Cost Aussies $755M - Should You Insure?

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Research from Finder has found Australians have spent $755M on replacing busted smartphones. And we're breaking them at a rate of 1370 each day - that's almost one every minute. So, given the odds of an Aussie smashing a smartphone seem pretty high, should you think about insuring your smartphone?

Finder's survey of 2005 people found 10% had broken at least one phone, beyond repair over the last five years and 6% had lost a phone. Finder came to their $755M number by extrapolating that data to the broader population and used an average cost of $300 to represent the replacement cost of a lost or damaged phone.

Given the cost of replacements or repairs, is it worth insuring your phone?

There are a few options to consider.

  1. Self insurance is the technical way of saying you'll cover it yourself if a device is lost, stolen or damaged. If you're an IT manager with a fleet of devices, you'll likely set aside a portion of your budget for replacements and repairs, rather than paying for an insurance policy.
  2. Your home insurance may provide coverage for losses or damages depending on the specifics of your policy. You'll need to sift through the details of your policy to see whether phones, tablets and other tech are included or whether you need to add them as a specific item with a separate or extra premium. And don't forget to check what the excess is on claims. A $300 excess on a $500 phone might not be worth it, given your policy will likely see a price hike if you make a claim.
  3. Company insurance policies may include coverage from tech items such as smartphones. For corporates, the question becomes one of deciding whether paying premiums is a better option than self-insuring. One factor that may help with deciding is your device policy. You could put the onus on users to look after devices. If they don't follow certain rules (using a protective case for example) then you could push the cost of repair or replacement on to them.
  4. Carriers offer insurance policies. For between $12-$15 each month, you're protected against drops, theft and loss. Optus and Vodafone offer insurance products. But it seems Telstra has discontinued its insurance products.
  5. Smartphone insurance companies have also popped up. For example, Phone Insure has policies that cost less than the carrier options and have some positive feedback on Whirlpool.
  6. AppleCare also offers some protection against accidental damage for iPhone owners. For $189, you get two years of coverage but repairs aren't free. For example, a screen repair will still cost $145. From what I've seen and been told, if you bring a broken iPhone in for repair it's likely you'll be handed a replacement unit rather than having your specific phone fixed.

Or, you could be careful and keep your smartphone in a protective case.

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