How to Insure Your iPhone

iphone insurance
image credit Tyler Finck Open/Getty Images

Considering that smartphones are small, expensive, and likely to be dropped at least a few times in their lives, iPhone insurance is something that appeals to a lot of people. After all, if you spent $300-$400 (or more!) on a phone, spending a few dollars a month to ensure that it will keep working for the life of your contract may seem wise. If you're interested insuring your iPhone, familiarize yourself with the options below.

Not From Apple

It may surprise you, but the one place you're definitely not going to find iPhone insurance—at least not traditional insurance—is from Apple. They just don't sell it.

Instead, Apple offers an AppleCare extended warranty that covers support and some repairs for a flat fee (support calls above a certain limit, and some kinds of repairs, require extra payments). AppleCare only runs two years, so if you keep your phone longer than that you'll eventually be without coverage, but it's also a flat fee upfront, rather than a monthly payment.

For a lot of users, AppleCare will work just as well as insurance.

Phone Companies

While Apple may not offer iPhone insurance, all of the major phone companies in the U.S. do.

AT&T covers the iPhone with its standard phone insurance plans. Coverage runs from US$6.99/month to $29.99/month depending on how many devices you include and covers loss, damage, theft, and hardware failure, but limits you to two claims per 12-month period. In order to get this insurance, you need to enroll within 30 days of a phone activation.
Deductible: $50, $125, or $199 per approved claim, depending on device/repair
Learn about AT&T Device Protection

Sprint didn't always offer insurance for Apple's phone, but the carrier now offers iPhone coverage under its Total Equipment Protection service. That service costs $9-11/month for the standard package, or $13/month for the Plus service (which provides a greater level of tech support). Both tiers include coverage for theft, damage, malfunctions, and loss.
Deductible: $50, $100, $150 or $200 per approved claim, depending on device/repair
Learn about Sprint Total Equipment Protection

T-Mobile's Premium Handset Protection provides a fairly standard set of coverages for $8/month. It covers accidental damage, loss and theft, and malfunctions. Customers are limited to two claims per 12-month period.
Deductible: $20, $50, $100, $150 or $175 per approved claim, depending on device/repair 
Learn about Permium Handset Protection

Verizon doesn't make things easy: the company offers four options for device coverage. They are: $11/month Total Mobile Protection; $9/month Total Equipment Coverage; $7.15/month service from Ausrion (more on that company below); $3/month Verizon Extended Warranty. The plans offer various kinds of coverage for theft and loss, malfunction, and damage, and various conditions on claims.
Deductible: $49-$199 per approved claim, depending on device/repair
Learn about Verizon iPhone insurance

Third Parties

A number of companies have cropped that specialize in ensuring smartphones and other portable devices. When considering these companies, be sure to do your homework: check out how long they've been around; search the web for reviews of them, as well as complaints or problems; make sure they're going to be around when you need help.

Among the iPhone insurance companies offering policies are:

Asurion is one of the leading provides of insurance, particularly because it has deals with phone carriers and resellers that allow customers to sign up for its service as part of their monthly phone bills when they buy their phones. Asurion's current website is worryingly short on details about costs and deductibles for iPhone repairs, but in the past its service cost $10-$12/month, with $99-$199 deductibles.
Deductible: $99-199
Asurion website

GoCare offers iPhone insurance that covers water and traditional damage, data recovery, support for unlocked phones, and even offers to buy back your used device when you're ready to upgrade. While it does not cover theft, it will ensure jailbroken phones. The service runs $7.99/month or $69-$169 for one to three years of coverage, depending on your iPhone model and pre-payment.
Deductible: $50
GoCare website

ProtectYourBubble covers accidental damage and hardware malfunctions in its $5.99/month insurance. It also covers accessories that come with the phone, such as earbuds or charging cables (though replacing either of those would be less than the $50 deductible). Unlike some other insurers, it doesn't limit the number of claims customers can make.
Deductible: $50
ProtectYourBubble website

Safe ware's one-year policy covers theft or loss, damage, water, cracked screens, and more. Plans are determined by your device, demographics, and location. Expect to spend around $100-$175 per year.
Deductible: $50
Safeware website

SquareTrade offers policies running 2-3 years for $8/month or $99 and $129 upfront. Insurance covers standard iPhone mishaps such as drops, spills, and other malfunctions. While it doesn't cover loss and theft, it will reimburse for repairs done through Apple's Genius Bar or local resellers/repair shops.
Deductible: $75
SquareTrade website

Worth Ave. Group offers 1-3 years of coverage against damage, theft, and acts of God for prices running between $5.99/month and $243 upfront (prices depend on your model, length of coverage, and how you'll pay). It does not limit the number of claims customers can make.
Deductible: $50
Worth Ave. Group website

Traditional Insurance Companies

If you're in search of iPhone insurance, try the companies you already get insurance from. Many insurance companies that offer homeowner's, renter's, or other kinds of property/casualty policies can cover the iPhone under a "personal articles policy."