iPhone Peace of Mind Comes at a Price
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Odds are against smartphone owners that their $600 personal assistant will still be around and working soundly when a two-year contract expires. Insurance is one way to get peace of mind, but it may ultimately cost the same price as your under-contract phone.
How much? Let's take the iPhone 4S, as an example. Allowing for one fix (which requires a deductible) during two years, here is how much you'll pay, excluding the price of the phone:
$139.99 -- Ensquared, a Delray Beach, Fla. insurer, began offering mobile insurance in 2010 to give smartphone owners an alternative. It offers coverage for two years for $90 with a $50 deductible per incident (up to three claims allowed). This plan option is for damage protection only. Read the fine print on Ensquared's Web site.
$147 -- At GoCare.com, the three-year-old warranty company in Arizona offers one- and two-year plans for the iPhone, at $59 and $97 respectively. The warranty covers cracked screens, broken buttons, water damage and extends the hardware warranty. Each claim requires a $50 deductible. You can add coverage at any time or, if you haven't made a claim, cancel for a prorated refund of $7.99/month. Loss or theft is not covered. Read the fine print at gocare.com/iphone.
$148 -- At Apple
$149 -- SquareTrade is another alternative insurer, which is part of Sam's Club's mobile protection plan (Sam's Club is owned by Wal-Mart
$219.10 -- Another alternative insurer, Worth Avenue Group charges a one-time $89 a year for the iPhone 4S, and covers up to three years for a discounted $240.30, plus a $50 deductible. The contract covers the usual accidental damage, plus loss, theft, tornados and vandalism. But it doesn't cover data loss. Read the fine print at Worth Avenue's Web site.
$308.99 -- Ensquared also offers a plan that includes damage plus lost and stolen phones, but it will cost you. With a one-time fee of $129.99, the plan charges $179 per claim. It doesn't cover abuse or loss of data and you can make up to 3 claims. Read the fine print at Ensquared's Web Site.
$311.76 -- Assurant Solutions is a newcomer from the UK that made a splash last spring with its "Protect your bubble" insurance for gadgets, pets, travel and rental cars. Its iPhone plan, at $7.99 a month, covers damage, loss, theft and "mysterious disappearance." It charges a $120 deductible for each iPhones claim (less for other smartphones) and allows two claims within 12 months. And it throws in "credit monitoring services," if your phone is lost or stolen, and offers a 10 percent coverage discount for additional devices. Read the fine print at Assurant's "Protect your bubble" Web site.
$366.76 -- The original iPhone carrier, AT&T
$408 -- Verizon
Not available -- Sprint
Not offered -- T-Mobile, owned by Deutsche Telekom
Check yourself -- Asurion, which is the default insurer for the four major phone carriers, doesn't sell coverage directly to consumers. However, at its site gottahavemymobile.com, it tells you exactly how much you'll pay based on carrier and type of phone at six, 12 and 18 months.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.