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One of the newest trends we have seen over the past couple of years is credit cards offering cell phone protection or cell phone “insurance.”
This benefit can help you feel better about repairing or replacing a cell phone since the vast majority of your expenses can be covered after you pay a small deductible.
But how exactly does this perk work and what type of coverage can you get with American Express? In this article, I will break it all down for you.
What is Amex Cell Phone Protection?
Amex cell phone protection will cover you if your cell phone is stolen or damaged, subject to certain limitations and restrictions. It is definitely one of the stronger cell phone protections when compared to other credit cards.
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Amex cards with cell phone protection
The major drawback to this benefit is that it only applies to select premium American Express cards.
This means that in order to take advantage of this protection you are going to have to cough up a pretty high annual fee ($250+).
Popular American Express cards that come with cell phone protection include:
- Platinum Card from American Express
- Delta Reserve Credit Card
- Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card
- Business Platinum Card
- Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card
- Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card
Notably missing is the Amex Gold Card.
Other Amex cards with coverage include the following:
- Centurion Card from American Express
- Business Centurion Card from American Express
- The American Express Platinum Card for Schwab
- The Platinum Card from American Express for Goldman Sachs
- The Platinum Card from American Express for Morgan Stanley
- The Platinum Card from American Express for Ameriprise Financial
All of the cards above come with so many benefits that it is often easy to justify their higher annual fee. Still, it is worth noting that there are some non-Amex cards with no annual fee that still provide cell phone protection.
Coverage for this benefit is not automatically activated.
Coverage is only activated when your cell phone is listed on a wireless bill and the prior month’s wireless bill was paid entirely by an eligible card.
Notice that it states that the bill must be paid entirely by an American Express card. If you are splitting up your bill this means that you could invalidate your coverage.
You are eligible for coverage the first day of the calendar month following the payment of your Eligible Cellular Wireless Telephone bill using your card.
Cell phone coverage limits
You can be reimbursed for the cost to repair or replace your stolen or damaged cell phone up to a maximum of $800 per claim. A common limit for your claim amount is $600 so this is better than your average claim amount.
You are also limited to two claims per 12 month period.
That means that you are effectively limited to $1,600 in coverage per year. That is a pretty competitive annual limit on coverage but some cards may offer a slightly higher annual coverage limit at around $1,800.
There is a $50 deductible that will apply to each approved claim.
That compares pretty favorably to the Chase Ink Business Preferred which has a deductible of $100.
Some cards have a deductible as low as $25 such as those offered by Wells Fargo so it is possible to get a better deductible. Just note that some of those Wells Fargo cards may have lower claim limits such as $600 per claim.
One weakness to the cell phone protection is that it is not attached to any cards that earn extra points on cell phone bills.
Compare that to a card like the Chase Ink Business Preferred which earns 3X on phone bills.
But this isn’t a huge loss and I’ll show you why.
Let’s say your cell phone bill was $300 per month. That comes out to $3,600 per year. By earning 3X on your bill you would be earning 7,200 more points every year than a card that earns just 1X.
At a valuation of 1.73 cents per point, 7,200 points comes out to about $125 in value.
The coverage limit for the Platinum Card is $200 higher than the Chase Ink Business Preferred.
So it would be a matter of getting $600 in coverage plus $125 in rewards versus getting $800 in coverage plus ~$40 in rewards. If you actually have to use the benefit the latter scenario is obviously the better one.
Of course, if you don’t use the benefit then you would be losing out on all of those extra points.
The other reason why it is not a major deal is that American Express often comes out with Amex Offers that provide you with a discount on your phone bill. So in some cases the value you lose in earning extra points can be outweighed by the Amex Offer savings.
Just like other cell phone protection benefits, you will find a lot of items excluded from coverage.
Accessories other than the standard battery and standard antenna are not included.
Resale or for professional commercial use
If you purchased the cell phone for resale or for professional or commercial use then you may not get coverage but this only applies to consumer card accounts.
Lost or mysterious disappearances
This is one of the most important terms to be aware of.
Basically, if your cell phone is not stolen but goes missing, chances are you will not get coverage because it will be deemed lost.
This is why it helps to file a report if your phone is ever stolen because you will have documented evidence of the event that cannot be attributed to a “mysterious disappearance.”
If your phone was under the care of a common carrier such as the United States Postal Service or an airplane you may not get coverage.
If your phone has been rented, least, or borrowed or received as part of a prepaid plan you will not qualify for coverage.
Cosmetic damage is superficial abrasions or scuffs to the phone that do not impact its ability to make or receive phone calls. These are not covered but note that cracked screens are covered.
In some cases, it might be a little bit of a gray area when trying to decide if you are dealing with cosmetic damage or something that truly interferes with the ability to use the phone.
In these instances, you might have to plead your case.
Damage resulting from certain acts such as abuse, intentional acts, fraud, etc. will exclude coverage.
Is it worth it?
The cell phone protection provided by American Express is extremely competitive compared to other products.
First, the $50 deductible is on the lower side as some other leading credit cards would require a $100 deductible.
The maximum claim of $800 is not the highest that you can find but it is higher than the common $600 limit found on many other cards.
Getting limited to two claims per 12 month period is pretty standard and hopefully you will not have to go beyond that each year. So overall I would have to say that the cell phone protection is very strong with American Express.
How to file a claim
To begin the process of filing a claim, call 1-833-784-1467.
You should know that you must file your claim within 90 days of the loss or as soon as reasonably possible. If you wait too long to file your claim it is possible that the claim may not be honored.
After you have filed your claim, you will be provided with the necessary instructions for filing your proof of loss.
This proof of loss must be submitted to a benefit administrator within 120 days of the loss.
Required documentation may include but is not limited to the following:
- Your account statement reflecting the monthly phone payments for the month preceding the date the phone was stolen or suffered damage;
- A copy of your current phone service provider’s billing statement;
- Copy of the original phone purchase receipt
- Copy of the insurance claim to the Eligible Person’s homeowner’s, renter’s or personal automobile insurance or
- Any applicable cellular telephone insurance, or in the event that the claim amount is less than the Eligible Person’s deductible, a copy of the policy’s declarations page;
- If a claim is due to damage, a copy of the repair estimate and photos of the damage;
- If the claim is due to theft, a copy of the police report filed within 48 hours of the theft; and
- Any other documentation or information reasonably requested by us to support the claim.
Amex Cell Phone Protection FAQ
No, you do not have to enroll. However, you need to pay your cell phone bill with an eligible American Express card in order to trigger the coverage.
Yes, you can get coverage for damage to your cell phone which includes a cracked screen.
The deductible is $50 and is required for each approved claim.
The claim limit is $600 and you are limited to two claims per 12 months.
No, unfortunately the Gold Card does not have cell phone protection.
Cell phone protection offered by American Express is very competitive. It has a pretty low deductible and high limits making it an attractive way to protect your cell phone. The only major drawback is that you can only get this coverage on premium American Express credit cards.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.