Did you purchase cell phone insurance and are a little confused about the process for placing a claim? Were you told it’s only $5/month and it covers ‘everything’? 🙂 Well it is a little bit more to it than that. What they never mention is that:
1. ‘Everything’ is relative to the cell phone company’s brochure terms.
2. In addition to the monthly fee, there is a deductible and the more expensive and popular your phone, the more that it might be in demand (just like a red car), the more the deductible is.
3. You have to place a claim and it takes on average a week to get your replacement phone.
4. The replacement phone will be refurbished.
5. It’s going to be truly a nightmare to file the claim with the cell phone insurance company.
Is Your Phone Lost or Has It Been Stolen?
Call customer care and report the phone lost or stolen as soon as you recognize it even if you plan to buy another phone right away (because you can be credited for those calls made on that day, provided you call in). Otherwise, even if you didn’t make the calls, it will difficult to argue the point later.
If you won’t be able to immediately replace the phone, request a temporary restriction on the phone so that no calls can be made or received. Dependent on the cell phone company, they may be able to leave the voice mail number live, so that you can call and retrive your messages or change your greeting to notify callers that you are without your cell phone temporarily and you can provide an alternative number.
How Cell Phone Insurance Works
* Your Cell Phone Insurance is billed at a flat rate per month $3.95, $4.95 or $5.95 per phone and covers phones that are lost, stolen or damaged….BEYOND REPAIR aka cannot be fixed. If it can be fixed, you gotta pay to have it fixed.
* Insurance has to be requested for each cell phone on an account, so either you can request to activate insurance on the the entire account or just select phones.
* In addition to the monthly fee, if the phone is lost, stolen or damaged beyond repair, i.e. ran over by a car, got wet, (be advised as a few insurance companies won’t cover water damage) you will need to pay a deductible on the claim. The minimum deductible can range from $35 up to nearly $100.
How to place a cell phone insurance claim
1. Call customer care and tell them the problem with your phone. They will verify that the problem you have is covered by insurance and they will verify if you have insurance.
2. If you have insurance you will be transferred to an outside insurance company who processes the claims for the cell phone company (most times the wait is super duper long). NOTE: If your phone was lost or stolen you have to call your local non emergency police and place a report.
4. When placing an insurance claim, tell them THE TRUTH otherwise they have the right to DENY your claim regardless of whether you pay the monthly fee or not (read the fine print on your service contract) Also note that that some cell phone insurance company do not cover water damage.
5. Once the claim has been processed you can expect your replacement phone in the mail in about 5 business days. Customer care can’t provide you a loaner and customer care can’t replace the phone. A few of the smaller regional U.S. cell phone companies will let you pick up your refurbished phone in a local retail store.
6. You will be billed the cost of the deductible which could range from $35-150 dependent on the type of cell phone or PDA you have.
7. If the phone was lost or stolen and returned you need to call customer care and ask them for the best course of action. If you try to re activate the old (lost/stolen) phone with a new number on your account, customer care has the right to note your claim as fraudulent and bill your account the retail value of your replacement phone that was received by the insurance company. They can verify this information through your cell phone electronic serial number.
Keep in mind that you will never be able to receive an insurance replacement phone within 24 hours before you choose to pay for insurance. If you cannot be without your phone for a week, then skip the insurance because you will not end up using and the money is better spent towards buying a new phone.
There is usually only a certain number of times (usually 2) that you can place a claim in a year.
If you do not have cell phone insurance, you have a few options:
1. Buy a phone directly through the carrier. Be advised your contract will start over.
2. Buy a phone at your own risk through a 3rd party such as ebay, craiglist or through a private buyer.
3. Cancel your service, pay the early termination fee if applicable and don’t replace the phone.
You can do as you wish. You are not obligated to buy a replacement if you do not want to. However, if you do choose to cancel your contract you must pay both the early termination fee and for usage up until the date the phone was lost or stolen.