Smartphones are amazing, but they are susceptible to damage from even the slightest drop or bump. There’s also the risk of theft, given the remarkable sell-on value of many high-end phones. Phone insurance can give you peace of mind whether at home, work or even abroad.
We've picked out our recommended insurance providers right here, and below that you'll find our more detailed advice on the different types of phone insurance, and what to look for in a plan.
Insurance with network carrier
Many of the major network providers in the UK provide insurance services. Damage, loss and theft coverage may even be included in your contract, so it's worth checking with your carrier before you go to a separate insurance company:
- EE - From £4 per month for damage protection, or £8 per month for full protection
- O2 - From £3 per month, with protection against loss, theft and damage.
- Virgin - Free for existing customers (worth £7.99 per month). Includes worldwide coverage and protection against damage, loss, theft and more.
- Vodafone - From £6.50 to £8.50 for damage protection, worldwide; £9.50 to £13.50 for damage, loss and theft protection, worldwide.
Recommended phone insurance providers
Protect Your Bubble - Good for low excess costs on older phone models with £50 for damage or breakdown claims, and £75 for loss or theft. Policies start at £14.99 per month to insure up to three gadgets with worldwide coverage. Protect Your Bubble allows up to two theft or loss claims per year, per gadget.
You must have bought your phone within the last 6 months. Be prepared to pay significantly more than the starting prices for phones like the iPhone XS and new Samsung models, though. See our sister title Macworld for the best iPhone X insurance.
Gadget Cover - Good for shared phone insurance, because your policy is extended to cover damage while a member of your immediate family is using your device. Prices start from around £3.99 per month, with loss coverage an optional extra, with an excess of £50 for devices worth less than £500, £75 for those worth between £501 and £999 and anything over £1,000 has an excess of £100.
Endsleigh - Good for quick replacements. If your phone is lost, stolen, or unrepairable you should get a replacement within one working day.
Unlike most dedicated gadget insurers, Endsleigh factors in your age, occupation, and other details in calculating a rate, so prices vary - but loss is included by default, and devices can be just under 3 years old when you start the policy. They also have options for students.
Simplesurance - Good for long-term plans. Simplesurance does just as you'd expect from its name: it keeps things simple. Instead of a monthly fee, you'll pay a one-off fixed price to protect your phone over one year, two years or three years.
You can add theft protection, too. Prices are very reasonably, and get better if you choose a longer term.
Phone insurance buying guide
Different kinds of phone insurance
The first thing to decide when it comes to phone insurance is the level of protection you want. A few factors affect the price of insurance, starting with the assumed market value of the device you are insuring. Most insurance providers will have specific plans for particularly popular devices like iPhones and Samsung Galaxy phones.
A lot of policies cover damage like liquid damage and theft but be wary that most packages won't cover loss, and some of the cheapest packages (cheap being around £3 per month) will even leave out theft entirely and you’ll only be covered for accidental damage. So be sure to check the fine print because sometimes a cheap price means you won’t be covered for everything.
You can also consider add-ons to a basic phone insurance package like worldwide cover, or cover for the cost of unauthorised calls, texts, or downloads if someone else has your phone.
Nowadays with cool tech like Apple Pay and Android Pay, there’s also the risk that if stolen your phone could be used for contactless transaction, so look out for e-wallet cover - Gadget Cover is one of the few companies that includes this as standard.
Price and risk
Some phone insurance deals can look like a great deal when advertising a monthly direct debit price. Often, these single digit monthly plans have a larger excess cost if you make a claim.
An example is Protect Your Bubble, which offers an excess charge for a claim of damage or breakdown of £50 for many phones, increasing to £100 for the latest and greatest.
Other plans can have excess costs of more than £100. You have to consider the balance you want to strike between peace of mind and then the likelihood of making a claim; if you think you will then make sure you’re happy with the excess costs before you sign up.
Consider multi-device policies
If you’re looking to insure more than one device (say you want to cover all of your family’s phones) then quite a few providers sell multi-device packages. Protect Your Bubble again is a good option, offering household gadget insurance for 4-10 devices from £12.99 per month.
Gadget Cover also provides simple, flexible household insurance policies that are worth considering.
You might already have insurance
If you aren’t worried about theft or accidental damage (although most people should be!) don’t forget that the majority of smartphone manufacturers cover device defaults for 12 months. iPhones certainly are (when bought new) so double check.
It's also possible that your phone will be covered by your existing home insurance, or under an insurance policy that comes with your bank account, so make sure to double-check both of those before you commit to spending more money on a new policy.
Check the terms and conditions
While we think the providers and policies mentioned in this article are good choices for smartphone insurance, you should always check the terms and conditions and small print before taking out a policy – this is because it depends on your personal situation or preferences.
For example, your phone might only be covered from car theft if the car is locked and phone in the glove box.
Some insurers also don’t protect smartphones unless they are six months old or newer. All these little things could add up to an insurance headache, so make sure you check the fine print.