AppleCare vs Samsung Premium vs SquareTrade vs carrier prices, or is phone insurance worth it

AppleCare vs Samsung Premium vs SquareTrade vs carrier prices, or is phone insurance worth it
image: iPhone XS Max vs Note 9 Katana scratch test

TL;DR

  • Accidental damage: for first incidents, phone insurance is worth it only for the most expensive repairs, i.e. iPhone XS/Max with AppleCare;
  • Theft or loss: phone insurance is worth it.

If you break the screen of the new iPhone XS Max or Galaxy Note 9, it will cost you the whopping $329 and $239 without insurance, respectively. Crack their backs, and the bill you are confronted with on the XS Max jumps to $599 and goes down to $99 for the Note's back panel. 

That's on top of about a week of turnaround time to get those replaced if you don't go to an Apple Store, and the only display provider is Samsung. If that is not a rallying cry to summon your inner grace each time you handle this phone or keep it in bubble wrap, we don't know what would be.



Granted, you can always put an armored case around these glass puppies, plus a layer of screen protection, but, let's face it, it won't look as good. What if you are a phone nudist, and don't place any protection so as not to cover the shiny surface, until just that one night out on the town comes, or a natural born klutz, and constantly drop your handsets? Well, then what's left for you is to either pony up a Benjamin (or six), if you shatter your high-end phone or to try and insure the gear from the get-go, so the sting on your finances is not as piercing. Which insurance to pick, though, and is it worth it at all? 

Well, we've compared a few popular options below to help you choose if you decide to go the insurance route with deductibles for expensive phones like the XS Max or the Note 9; at the prices to replace the edge display, or the iPhone's glass housing without insurance, they are the ones most likely to benefit. There are carrier (mostly handled by dedicated companies like Assurant or Asurion), manufacturer and third-party options, so take a peak, and tell us your verdict on whether this kind of protection is worth the investment for you.



The Nutshell - is phone insurance worth it?


Looking at the table above, it's easy to deduce that phone insurance doesn't come cheap, but if you are paying in monthly fees of five or ten bucks, it is bearable. Is it worth it, though? As with most comparisons, there is no straight answer that would be valid for all situations, so let's look at a few examples with the most typical accidental damages - a broken screen or a cracked back.

The best pro-insurance case is if you, say, have Apple's most expensive handsets. If you own, say, an iPhone XS Max, whose OLED screen costs $329 to replace outright, AppleCare will net you $230 for the same with the deductible. At first blush, this doesn't seem like a great bargain, but if you manage to inflict, say, another display crack for the coverage period, or a shattered back that would otherwise cost $599 to swap, or get your phone snatched, the calculation turns in favor of AppleCare. Moreover, it offers a very quick repair or replacement service in any Apple shop, as long as you make an appointment online beforehand, so you won't have to stay parted from your iPhone for too long.

If we take the case of the Note 9, a shattered screen is $239, but a cracked back just $99, as much as Samsung's Premier Care deductible, to which you also have to add the number of months you've paid $12/month for the insurance. Ditto for the other insurance options.


If you lose those phones, or they get stolen, however, you are out of luck with no-loss plans like Premier Care or SquareTrade. To cover those eventualities for Android handsets, you might want to dole out for a carrier insurance plan. It costs about as much as the other options, but you pay in small monthly installments, and the worst-case contingency covered in those plans is that your top-shelf phone gets lost or stolen. Given that those puppies cost north of $900 now, it's still worth it when you draw the line.


Of course, these pro-insurance examples are somewhat extreme, as the screen replacement for most phones is not as expensive, or you might be of the prudent type who's never got their phone lost or snatched. In that case, you could soldier on without insurance. The more you drop, lose, or are in any other way careless with your handset, however, the more any type of insurance will pay off over the span of the typical protection plan. 

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20 Comments

1. Peaceboy

Posts: 640; Member since: Oct 11, 2018

Just do take care of your beloved phones.

2. sissy246

Posts: 7035; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

That is so true I see a lot of people treating their phones like they are toys. The main one being young kids play with them.

3. Valdomero

Posts: 660; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

Unless these insurances are obligatory, I won't purchase any of these, just be extra careful and slap a case and screen protector.

6. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

What happens when you break it. Because it's not a matter of how or why, its when. When it happens tou wanna be prepared. All the precautions in the world. doesn't stop accidents. Even if I don't break my phone in a year, its money well spent for a peace of mind. Iys just looe car insurance. I haven't had an accident in decades. Still paying for insurance and I don't fo with the cheapest option either. If something is wrong or goes wrong, I want to be protedted. To do otherwise is foolish. But hey, it's your money. But now that means you need to baby your phone. Babying and being careful are not the same.

16. luis.aag90

Posts: 272; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

I have never paid insurance for the last 8 years I've owned smartphones, nor did I have ever shattered a screen or back case. It's not the same analogy with car insurance; the last one covers liability for any damage you could cause to a 3rd party as well as medical care. I have always paid for car insurance because every time you drive you are a potential liability for anyone on the road, but a phone definitely isn't.

19. godotnyc

Posts: 2; Member since: Mar 27, 2019

That's silly. I've been a mobile phone owner for nearly 20 years and I've yet to break a screen or anything else.

4. Cyberchum

Posts: 1024; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

Case with adequate lip+tempered glass+good care. Ain't nothing else necessary.

7. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

I've had the touch glass crack, even with a 9H hard screen protector on them. But hey, suit yourself.

5. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Xfinity Mobile offers a very good replacement plan. Its $12 a month and on the Note 8 I had, it was $99 to replace for a crack screen or back glass or other damage, and $199 for him list or stolen. That fact Apple charges $599 to replace the iPhonez which is more than it cost them to make is pure BS. They aren't doing anything no one else is doing. They are not repairing, they are replacing with a refurb. So why does the refurb cost more then the item cost them to have manufacturered? NO ONE ELSE DOES THIS. But hmthr stupid fans pay it, and the fact Apple charges more for AppleCare over what any of the carriers charge. Verizon I believe only allows 2 replacements on the same number in a yeat. Insurance is worth it, when you consider what the out of pocket costs are. Just because I can pay full price, doesn't mean I want too or should have too. You can surely see Apple greed and the fact they don't give a crap about their own customers. They nickel and dime then in every possible way.

8. vbwullf

Posts: 2; Member since: Dec 11, 2018

@ Daniel Petrov I dont know about the coverage for the other three carriers, but from working at Sprint I can tell you, your prices are wrong. The insurance premium is $13, $15 and $18; $18 covers the most expensive of devices The Iphone X, Xs, Xs Max and Note 9 as these prices are north of $900. The deductible for any device in the $15 and $18 categories are $29 for the first 2 repairs in a year. The back of an Iphone anything with a glass back is $99 (also for the first 2 in a year), and its a device replacement, not repair. The coverage comes with apple care for the first two years so you can take your device to a Sprint store or to Apple to have the device worked on. For Notes its the same as above, just all the work is completed in store in about 1.5 hrs, unless its something that cant be repaired in store. A cracked display and back will cost you $145. Check your local store for a coverage pamphlet.

11. seantn4

Posts: 46; Member since: Dec 11, 2018

The top tier is $19 not $18. Other than that thanks for explaining. I was about to correct them on Sprint's pricing.

9. vbwullf

Posts: 2; Member since: Dec 11, 2018

Also I dont know about your location but the Apple stores near where I work is a 3 wk wait most times

17. luis.aag90

Posts: 272; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

That's totally flawed. It actually defeats the whole purpose of paying insurance

10. Vogue1985

Posts: 415; Member since: Jan 24, 2017

The phone can be replaced however your data aka pictures, video, memories, contact are worth more. Your best insurance is data back up a cloud and aftermarket insurance to cover the better than carrier insurance with their hidden fees and conditions

12. PostmanLV

Posts: 44; Member since: Sep 11, 2012

Funny this article would come up, yesterday I fell with my phone on my hand, used it to break my fall and wouldn't you know it, cracked it. I've been meaning to cancel the insurance for a few months but forgot to, question for you guys would you pay assurant for a refurbished phone for 175 or go to UBreakIFix for 229 plus tax?

18. luis.aag90

Posts: 272; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

You already paid for insurance, so you better pay the deductible to get a refurb

13. DigitalHavok2020

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 11, 2018

Hmmm these prices are not correct for some insurances

20. godotnyc

Posts: 2; Member since: Mar 27, 2019

SquareTrade is very, very wrong. $149 deductible.

15. JCASS889

Posts: 478; Member since: May 18, 2018

insurance is stupid for a phone, just take care of your phone.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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