phone insurance

Best Credit Cards with Cell Phone Insurance [2019]

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. 

One of the most useful benefits that we have seen credit cards incorporate over the past couple of years is cell phone insurance. What is interesting about this benefit is that it comes in a few different forms and you can find it on premium cards as well as cards with no annual fee.

Since this benefit comes in so many different varieties it is important to know exactly what to look for when trying to take advantage of this benefit.

In this article, I will talk about all of the different factors related to cell phone insurance and what you need to lookout for. And then I will highlight the best credit cards for cell phone protection that I would consider going for.


What is cell phone insurance?

Cell phone insurance is a built in credit card benefit that allows you to get reimbursed for repairs or replacement costs for your cell phone when it is damaged or not retrievable in some cases. 

There are several terms and conditions that attach to this benefit and I will talk about those below. 


Time limits

You will usually need to submit a claim within 2 to 3 months of the damage occurring, so act quickly. 


Claim limits

The cell phone protection that comes with credit cards will always have a claim limit. This means that for each accident you have with your phone, you can only get coverage up to a certain amount.

The common claim limit is $600 per claim. However, there are some cards that offer up to $800 per claim or even $1,000. 

If you have an expensive phone like the new iPhone Pro, for example, then you obviously will want to prioritize having a higher coverage limit for your claim, since it could end up saving you several hundred dollars.

If the value of your phone exceeds the claim limit, then you will just be responsible for paying the balance in some cases. So let’s say you have a $1,200 phone and coverage up to $800. You would be responsible for coming out of your pocket $400 if you needed a total replacement.

But if the repairs were less than $800 you would only have to pay the deductible. 


Annual coverage limit

The cell phone insurance benefits will also have an annual coverage limit.

Typically, the annual limit will be two times or three times your claim limit. In other words, you will be able to max out your claim limit up to two or three times per year, ranging from around $1,000-$1,800.

Or you will simply be limited to two or three claims per year. 

If you are very accident prone then you will likely want a card that has a higher annual coverage limit so that you could use it several times if needed.


Deductibles

Your cell phone protection that comes with your credit card will have a deductible, which is the amount you have to pay in order to submit a claim and get coverage. 

The amount of this deductible will range from something like $25-$100. 

The deductible is very important to consider for a few reasons.

Some cards with higher deductibles of $50 or $100 dollars will come with much higher claim limits. For example, the Chase Ink Business Preferred comes with a $100 deductible but an annual coverage limit up to $1,800 — one of the highest annual coverage limits.

Meanwhile, some other cards may have a lower deductible of $25 but limit you to only $1,200 dollars of annual coverage.

At the same time, you need to be mindful that some places could repair something like a cracked screen for under $100. So in some cases it could actually be cheaper to forgo your cell phone insurance and simply seek out a place in a local mall that could fix your phone for cheaper.


Terms and conditions

Each credit card cell phone insurance plan could have different terms and conditions but generally the benefit will protect you against damage, theft, or involuntary and accidental parting of your cell phone when you use your card to pay your phone bill.

There are a few big things to look out for when examining the terms and conditions.

Is cosmetic damage covered?

Cosmetic damage to a phone is something superficial that does not affect the phones ability to function. A perfect example of this is if you have scuffed up your phone or even if you have a slightly cracked screen but the phone is still completely usable.

Not all of the cell phone insurance plans will cover cosmetic damage. Instead, they will want to see your phone virtually unusable or simply not functioning. If cosmetic damage is not covered it is usually explicitly stated in the terms and conditions. 

Theft

I mentioned above that theft is generally covered. The key thing to keep in mind about that is that you would generally need to have some sort of evidence to support your story that your phone was stolen. Usually this would be something like a police report. 

Also, you will likely need to file that police report very soon after the incident. If you wait several days or a week until after the theft has occurred you may not get coverage.

And finally, there are some common exclusions for theft like when your phone is stolen from baggage not carried on your person. So be on the lookout for those.

Accidental parting

The Chase Ink Business Preferred states, involuntary and accidental parting with property means “the unintended separation from an item of personal property in which the item’s location is known but recovery is impractical to complete.”

So for example if you unintentionally drop your phone in the ocean then you might have grounds for coverage since you know it’s in the ocean but draining the ocean and/or going on a scuba mission to recover your phone is pretty impractical.

However, if you just left your phone sitting out somewhere but can’t remember, your phone could be anywhere so you can’t argue that you know its location. 

So there is a big difference between losing your phone and accidental parting. Most cell phone insurance plans will not allow you to recover when you have simply lost your phone or as they call it, “mysteriously disappeared.”

Activating coverage

Typically to activate coverage you will need to use your credit card to pay your cell phone bill. You need to know some of the common exclusions like paying a bill for a prepaid cell phone. These should be listed in the terms and conditions for your specific credit card.

Phone limits

Some cell phone insurance plans may limit you to the number of phones that you can get the coverage for. Typically, the limit would before something like four or five phones and remember that some issuers have no limits on the insurance.


Bonus categories

Some cards will allow you to earn extra bonus points when paying your cell phone bill. So you not only get cellphone insurance, but you get additional value through the form of bonus categories. This is not very common and it is why I am big on cards like the Chase Ink Business Preferred

Now that you know about some of the key terms and features to look out for, below is a list of some of the best cards that offer cell phone protection. I’ve also included some information about their bonus categories and annual fees so that you can get a more complete picture of the credit cards.

It is worth pointing out that some great cards come with cell phone insurance so you don’t have to sacrifice quality bonus categories.


Chase Ink Business Preferred

Bonus categories 

The Chase Ink Business Preferred earns 3X per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on all of the following categories:

  • Travel, including airfare, hotels, rental cars, train tickets and taxis
  • Shipping purchases
  • Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
  • Internet, cable and phone services

One of the most valuable credit cards that you can get is the Chase Ink Business Preferred. That card comes with an amazing welcome bonus of 80,000 points after meeting the minimum spend requirement. Because this card is subject to the Chase 5/24 Rule, it is one of the best cards to pick up first.

Coverage details 

  • Claim limit: $600
  • Annual limit: $1,800
  • Deductible: $100
  • Cosmetic damage covered: No

The Chase Ink Business Preferred does have one of the highest deductibles of $100 but it also has one of the highest annual limits of $1,800. So if you are very accident prone then this card could be the best card for you to use. 

Also, something worth noting is that you can earn triple the points on your cell phone bill. And not just any points, you will be earning Chase Ultimate Rewards — arguably the most valuable rewards currency offered by any credit card.

So if you want to maintain coverage while also earning great rewards when paying your cell phone bill, this might be the best option.

Although I do have to mention that you can earn 5X with the Chase Ink Business Cash on your cell phone bills. However, you do not get cell phone insurance.

 You can read more about the Ink Business Preferred protection here.


IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Bonus categories 

  • Earn 10 points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG hotels
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants

Annual fee 

  • $89 annual fee

Coverage details 

  • Claim limit: $800
  • Annual limit: $1,000
  • Deductible: $50
  • Cosmetic damage covered: Yes

If you are looking for a quality hotel rewards card that offers cell phone insurance then look no further than the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. This card has one of the higher claim limits of $800 to go along with a very reasonable deductible of only $50. I really like that cosmetic damage is covered by this card as well. 

Issued by Chase, the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is a great bang for your buck card in terms of benefits received and decently low annual fee. Some of the benefits from holding this card are: fourth night free when using points, anniversary free night certificate, Platinum Elite status at IHG, and ability to save at Least 20% on Points Purchases.

It also earns a whopping 10 points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG hotels.


Uber Visa Card 

Bonus categories 

  • 4% back on restaurants, takeout and bars, including UberEATS
  • 3% back on airfare, hotels and vacation home rentals
  • 2% back on online purchases including Uber, online shopping, and video and music streaming services
  • 1% back on all other purchases

Annual fee 

  • No annual fee

Coverage details 

  • Claim limit: $600
  • Annual limit: $1,200
  • Deductible: $25
  • Cosmetic damage covered: No

The Uber Visa Cards sticks out because it offers no annual fee and has good coverage. The deductible is very low at $25 and the claim limit is $600 dollars which is on par with most cards. 

This card is also one of the best cards to use for dining. Getting 4% back on restaurants including Uber Eats is a pretty big deal and can add up pretty fast. For someone not interested in paying an annual fee, this is a fantastic way to get cell phone insurance.

Uber Visa Card Terms and conditions. 


Citi Prestige Card

Bonus categories 

  • 5X on airfare 
  • 5X on dining
  • 3X on hotels an cruises

Annual fee 

  • $495

Coverage details 

  • Claim limit: $1,000
  • Annual limit: $1,500
  • Deductible: $50
  • Cosmetic damage covered: No

The Prestige card is one of the few premium cards that currently offers cell phone insurance. It stands out with its high claim limit of $1,000 and the high annual limit of $1,500.

The deductible is still very reasonable at only $50 so I think that this is one of the best deals you can get in terms of overall coverage limits. It is worth noting that cosmetic damage is not covered with this insurance, though.

You will notice that this card has a high annual fee of about $500 but it also comes with a lot of premium benefits.

One of the best benefits of this card is the fourth night free. It’s not as valuable as it used to be, but you can get your fourth night free when making a hotel booking two times per year. If you know how to use that perk, that could easily set you up for hundreds of dollars worth of savings that could offset the annual fee.

The Prestige card also offers 5X on dining which is industry-leading. If you do a lot of dining out that 5X could be extremely valuable and quickly.


The Wells Fargo Propel American Express

Bonus categories 

  • 3X Dining
  • 3X Gas, rideshares, and transit
  • 3X Flights, hotels, homestays, and car rentals
  • 3X Popular streaming services

Annual fee 

  • $0

Coverage details 

  • Claim limit: $600
  • Annual limit: $1,200
  • Deductible: $25
  • Cosmetic damage covered: Yes

The Propel has pretty solid coverage. You have a low deductible with a decent claim limit and annual limit. And it also offers coverage for cosmetic damage. It is worth noting that you can get cell phone insurance with just about any personal Wells Fargo card.

I like the Propel card because it has good bonus categories and no annual fee. Getting 3X on dining and so many travel categories along with streaming is very nice, considering there is no annual fee.

Additional Wells Fargo cars that offer cell phone protection: 

  • Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card
  • Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card
  • Wells Fargo Platinum Card
  • Wells Fargo Rewards Card
  • Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card
  • Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card

Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card

Bonus categories 

  • 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter
    • 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings
    • 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs

Annual fee 

  • $0

Coverage details 

  • Claim limit: $600
  • Annual limit: $1,000
  • Deductible: $50
  • Cosmetic damage covered: Yes

The Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card Offers pretty standard coverage for a MasterCard. You will get a claim limit of up to $600 and an annual limit of $1000. There is a $50 deductible and cosmetic damage will not be covered. 

This is a pretty good card for someone who likes cash back and wants to be able to customize their card a little bit, while paying no annual fee.


MasterCards

MasterCards added new benefits recently and one of those was cell phone protection. The claim limits will vary depending on the type of MasterCard that you have. For example, the claim limits for a MasterCard World is $600 while a MasterCard World Elite Card can get up to $800 dollars in coverage. The annual limit will be $1,200 and the deductible should be $50. 

Below are some examples of the MasterCards that you can find that will have this benefit:

  • Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select
  • Citi Executive AAdvantage 
  • Barclaycard Arrival Plus 
  • JetBlue Plus 
  • Hawaiian Airlines 
  • IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
  • Virgin Atlantic

Keep in mind that some issuers can modify these benefits for their particular cards.


Final word

With so many different cards now offering cell phone insurance, I think that everybody should try to get this benefit. The key is to consider some of the major features like the deductible, claim limit, and any exceptions like if cosmetic damage is covered. And of course, you need to remember to use your card to pay your phone bill in order to activate the coverage.

UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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