How can I get insurance for my Apple iPhone?
As you likely already know, and as has become the case with higher priced "smartphones" through many providers, traditional mobile phone insurance is not available for the iPhone. That doesn't mean you want to leave your $500 or $600 iPhone unprotected, does it? "What?" you say, "I paid $199 for my iPhone". That may be true, but it is important to know that those prices are subsidized by your mobile carrier (i.e. AT&T) and are one-time purchase prices only. If you damage or lose your iPhone, you'll need to replace that phone at full price ($499 or $599).
Of course not. Luckily, there are still several options out there that will help cover you should something happen to your iPhone.
AppleCare is Apple's extended warranty and support program which covers products outside their limited manufacturer's warranty. In the case of the iPhone, AppleCare will provide an additional year of coverage for defects and repair, including the battery.
AppleCare does not provide coverage for accidental damage, which means that drops, spills, splashes, and anything and everything else that Apple can attribute to your misuse rather than a product failure will not be covered by AppleCare.
Third Party Mobile Phone Insurance
Squaretrade, who has been in business since 1999, is offering coverage equivalent to the AppleCare program, called the CarePlan, for as much as $30 less per year less (depending on what model and size of iPhone you need coverage for). Should your iPhone need attention, Squaretrade promises to fix it or pay you the full purchase price of the iPhone, all within five days. SquareTrade's insurance plans have received near perfect consumer ratings on NexTag and Epinions, and has received an A+ rating from the BBB (Better Business Bureau). As a result, SquareTrade has sold over 1,000,000 warranties to date.
Despite the rave reviews and the lower price, the key factor that sets the SquareTrade warranties apart from AppleCare and other competitors is the coverage for accidental damage. SquareTrade is the only licensed insurance provider that covers accidental damage. According to SquareTrade, "drops, spills, water damage, battery failures or any other failures from normal use or accidental damage" are all covered under their plans.
For more information on SquareTrade, head directly to their page for SquareTrade iPhone warranties.
Credit Card Purchase Protection
Many different credit card providers offer purchase protection programs which cover credit card purchase against malfunction and accidental damage. Visa has "purchase security", American Express has the "purchase protection plan", while other card providers term their coverage something else. These coverages are usually restricted to Gold and Platinum credit cards, but can sometimes be found on standard cards as well. Unfortunately, most of these plans only cover purchases for 90 days, which often coincides with the existing manufacturer warranty.
The good news is, many of these programs automatically extend the manufacturers warranty for up to one year. The bad news is that these warranties also won't cover accidental damages from spills, drops, etc. Contact your card provider for details about how your purchases are covered.
If you already have homeowner's or renter's insurance, you may be able to cover your iPhone through an extension to your existing policy. For example, State Farm will reportedly cover your iPhone for an additional $32.50 per year.
If you're considering covering your iPhone this way, be careful to check with your insurance company on how your deductible plays into claims made to cover the iPhone. If your deductible is $500, chances are you're not getting a very good deal. Make sure to lower your deductible (which would bring on additional costs) or get documentation from your insurance company which states that your extended coverage is not subject to your standard deductible. Though some users have reported getting decent rates for their iPhone coverage through their homeowners, this route can often be time consuming and complex, as it doesn't really fall within the typical insurance agent's area of expertise, to say the least.