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. That plan worked well for me when I had my first iPhone through Sprint because the phone had issues all the time. When I traded it in for an iPhone 6, I had no problems at all and wondered if I should take another hard look at that protective option.
What influenced my decision to reconsider was a billing scenario that confronted me shortly after I wrote that article. What happened was that my next bill from 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 monthly expense for 2 years paying off 2 iPhone 6 Plus models, saving the extra cost on each billing cycle 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 Verizon that ended in April 2019. That was my best option because they had no more promotions to hand out past that point.
So, to keep my cost in line with my objectives, I did some research on insurance coverages to see if I really would benefit from a claim if something went wrong with my phone. In so doing, I found that Verizon uses the Assurion insurance provider to add protection for their customers who are willing to pay the extra premium for that coverage. In the case of covering mine, as well as my wife’s iPhone, they were charging me $26 a month which calculates to $312 a year. So, I wondered what I actually got for that expense.
Looking At What I Get For The Insurance Premium That I Pay
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 new 6 phone models 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 has been a difficult process, to say the least.
My son Eric ran a computer repair shop in upstate New York. He told me that Apple is going to discontinue providing updates for the #6 model in the near future. He advised that I would have to upgrade to the 7 model if I wanted to stay current. That is the first model, going forward, that has no plugin for the headset. It is also virtually impossible to repair outside of their expensive authorized dealer network. A new one will cost me $749 for the 64 gigabyte model. That is half the storage capacity I have now. As for carrying insurance on his phones, he said the cost is not worth what you get in return, so he doesn’t carry a protection contract for his phones and never has.
I have found that most of the claims made are for replacement of the glass face on the front of the phone. I (as does my wife) have an 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 do periodic resets, the same goes for my wife’s phone as well.
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 my phone provided 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
However, if you don’t have technical skills and an infinite degree of patience, don’t try fixing these units yourself. Defer that option to an authorized repair facility. I wound up sending both my wife’s and my own phone to Eric’s shop in New York to have him replace the faulty batteries in both units with higher capacity new ones.
What I Decided To Do
I decided, after consultation with said tech expert son, Eric, to cancel our insurance. Since we both have heavy-duty protective cases, glass breakage or case damage is not a concern. As I stated earlier, the cases have a big clip to fasten to a belt or waste-band on your person that severely deters theft like purse snatching possibilities. The phones are easy to grip with the case installed and you avoid having them slip through your fingers while walking about when you are shopping and such.
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 without recourse. I guess we all have become too dependent on the devices and sort of feel lost without them. What more can I say?
I am requesting that my readers click on the links provided and download a sample read of each book and give a review on Amazon. You will have free access to the first four chapters of each book. My hope is that you will like the story lines enough to obtain either an eBook version or a paperback copy that you can put on your bookshelf as a masterpiece when you are done. FATE STALKS A HERO I: RESURGENCE, FATE STALKS A HERO II:THE FIJI FULCRUM, and THE SAGA OF HERACLES PENOIT. I will be giving excerpts on these works in upcoming blogs to familiarize you the reader with exciting details about the contents of each one. Thank you!