Budgeting Your Electronic Gadgets Billings: Part III
Do You Really Need Cell Phone Insurance
When I wrote “Budgeting Your Electronic Billings: Part II“, I advised at the end of that article to buy insurance for your phone. Shortly afterwards, my bill with Verizon jumped $12.00 a month. This raised my monthly expense from $96. To $108. My goal was to keep the cost below $100.
After wrestling with a $178. expense for 2 years paying off 2- iPhone 6 Plus models, saving $82 a month was a big deal for me. I was able to finish the purchase plan around the middle of last year. To get the bill down to $96, I had to engage a promotion with a Verizon that ended in April 2019. They had no more promotions to hand out.
I had to take a hard look at my insurance plan to get the cost down again. Verizon uses the Assurion insurance company to add protection for their customers who are willing to pay the extra premium for that coverage. In the case of covering mine and my wife’s iPhone, they were charging me $26. A month. That is $312 a year. What do I get for that?
Looking At What I Get For The Insurance Premium
I have 2 options.
- If I want my phone repaired, it will still cost me $45.00 on top of my monthly stipend.
- If I want a new phone, it will cost me $145 extra which includes replacement for theft
Apple does not make iPhone 6 models any more, so unless the insurer has access to a finite supply of 6 phones in storage somewhere, I will have to settle for a re-manufactured model. The reviews I have researched online complain about dented, scratched, or poorly working replacements from their insurers. Getting the insurers to address those complaints properly is difficult, to say the least.
My son Eric runs a computer repair shop in upstate New York. He told me that Apple is going to discontinue updates for the #6 model in the near future. He advised that I would have to upgrade to the 7 model. That is the same model, going forward, that has no plugin for the headset. It is also almost impossible to repair outside of their expensive authorized dealer network. A new one will cost me $749 for the 64 gigabyte model. That is have the storage capacity I have now. He doesn’t carry insurance for his phones and never has.
Most of the claims made are for replacement of the glass face on the front of the phone. I (as does my wife) have a Otter Box Defender case to protect the phone from breakage. I have dropped mine a few times with no damage. It also protects against liquids intrusion, scratches, dents, and debris infiltration. I have had no issues with my current phone for 3 years now. Other than having to periodic resets, the same goes for my wife’s phone.
What Are The Typical Repair Costs?
Replacing the glass front is the most expensive expense and averages $145. I can buy a replacement myself and do my own repair on my 6 model. If I were to get a 7 model, I probably would not have that option.
The average battery repair shop cost is $45. If you know how to open your cell phone and do your own swap, the cost is only the amount charged you for your particular phone’s replacement. That’s obvious, but the screws holding the phone together can be infinitesimally small and extremely tricky to deal with. I found a replacement battery including tools with 5 star rating (Daxtromyn) on Amazon for $22.99. I found a cracked glass repair kit for by Goldwangwang for $25.99. Both kits have a free shipping option.
Your possible repair items to deal with are as follows:
- Cracked Screen Glass
- Damage Caused by Liquid Infiltration
- Battery Replacement
- Charging Port Malfunction
- Internal Repairs
What Did I Decide To Do
I decided, after consultation with our tech expert son, Eric, to cancel our insurance.
I have decided to set aside the $26 a month in a slush fund savings account to cover future repair or replacement costs.
Since we both have heavy-duty protective cases, glass breakage or case damage is not a concern. The cases have a big clip to fasten to a belt or waste-band on your person that severely deters theft like purse snatching. The phones are easy to grip with the case and you avoid slippage through your fingers.
I am still on the fence to avoid insurance, but I want a reasonable cost and am researching reviews on different carriers to determine service reliability, deductibles, and satisfactory replacement policies.
As for avoiding theft, I either keep the phone clipped to my belt, watch it carefully at a restaurant, or take it with me when leaving my vehicle. If I can’t, I hide it in the center console out of view of prying eyes. A lot of your cautions obviously depend on where you live or the establishments you visit.
I don’t have all the answers. Nobody does even if they pretend to. All I can do here is tell you what I do. It’s up to you to treat your phone like an expensive ring or watch and protect it accordingly. It’s your contact with the outside world and when it’s gone or broken, you’re simply cutoff. What more can I say?