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Buying insurance for your mobile phone

This advice applies to England

When you sign a mobile phone contract you will normally be offered the chance to buy an insurance policy from your provider. You don’t have to buy this insurance and you need to work out if it’s the best option for you.

This page tells you about the different types of insurance you can get for your mobile phone.

Top tips

Check the insurance policy small print

You need to find out:

  • how much the policy excess is – this means the amount you’ll have to pay before any claim you make is paid
  • what kind of exclusions the policy has - for example phones taken from schools or other public buildings are not covered by lots of policies.

Is it worth insuring your mobile phone?

Whether or not it’s worth insuring your mobile phone will depend on:

  • the kind of handset you use, and
  • if you have a monthly contract.

Most mobile phone insurance policies have an excess of at least £25. This means you have to pay the first £25 of any claim you make.

If you pay as you go

If you have a pay-as-you-go deal and a basic, inexpensive handset, losing your phone won’t cost you that much money and so it might not be worth paying monthly insurance premiums. However, if you have a very expensive smart phone and a monthly contract, the cost of losing your phone can be hundreds of pounds.

Remember that if you don't have mobile insurance, you'll have to pay for the cost of any unauthorised calls made in between your phone going missing and you reporting it as lost or stolen. Most mobile insurance policies will cover these unauthorised calls, although many may refuse to pay out if you left your phone unattended in a public place or failed to report a theft to your mobile company and the police within 24 hours. 

Some networks will cap your bill at £100 if your phone is lost or stolen, as long as you report it within 24 hours.

If you decide to insure your mobile

If you decide you do want to insure your mobile phone you need to check the small print of any policy. You need to find out:

  • how much the policy excess is – this means the amount you’ll have to pay before any claim you make is paid
  • what kind of exclusions the policy has - for example phones taken from schools or other public buildings are not covered by lots of policies.

Check whether you're already covered

Before you sign up to mobile phone insurance make sure your phone isn’t already covered by:

  • your home insurance
  • insurance you get through your bank account.

Make sure any insurance you buy for your phone comes from a legitimate company.

Insurance from your mobile company

The simplest and most convenient way to insure your phone is to buy your phone network’s own policy. You will normally be offered this kind of insurance when you sign your phone contract. However, these kind of policies can be very expensive and don’t normally offer the best value for money. Sales staff in mobile phone shops may try to persuade you to take out their own insurance but remember:

  • you don’t have to take out mobile phone insurance
  • don’t be rushed into making a decision you might be able to find a better deal if you do some research.

Home insurance

The cheapest option is usually to add your phone to your home insurance as a possessions outside the home extra. This will be a lot cheaper than other ways of insuring your phone and other possessions will also be covered. However it’s very important to check the excess on your home insurance policy as it could be £100 or more. You also need to remember that adding your phone to your home insurance policy could end up meaning higher premiums. You will usually get a discount on your home insurance if you don’t make any claims. This means if you make a claim for your phone the cost of your home insurance could go up.

Stand alone insurance

You can buy a special insurance policy to cover your phone this is often called gadget insurance and there are lots of policies on offer. This is often the cheapest way to insure your phone and you can check that the policy offers exactly what you want. Make sure you check the terms and conditions of the policy.

If you change your mind about insurance

If you buy mobile phone insurance and then decide you don't want it, you have a 14-day cooling-off period, starting from the day you bought it. This means you can cancel the policy within that time and get all your money refunded.

Next steps

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