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Mobile Phone Insurance

Get smartphone cover from £5/mth

Lose it, break it, or have your mobile nicked and it can cause tears. Insurers play on this fear with hefty prices and unnecessary cover.

Yet you can get cheap mobile and smartphone insurance (including for the iPhone 6, 6 Plus and Samsung S6, S6 Edge and S5) from £5 per month.

The big checks: Do you need mobile phone insurance?

  • Are you a loser?

    No insult intended, but it's important to understand mobile phone insurance isn't compulsory. Deciding whether to get a policy comes down to the fact that you know yourself better than insurers will. In particular, think about this:

  • How likely are you to lose or damage your phone?

    If your mobile's been permanently clipped to your belt buckle for the last 10 years, the chances you'll lose or break it are slim. Alternatively, for social butterflies who don't know where they'll wake up, a broken or damaged phone (and a hangover) is par for the course.

    Unlike most insurance, mobile cover doesn't usually increase with a history of loss or damage. So those who rarely have issues are cross-subsidising losers. If you've painful memories of the handsets you've lost, insurance is worth considering. If not, think about self-insuring and/or covering your phones on your home insurance.

    Martin's a loser...

    I may be good at saving money, but I'm scatterbrained with keys and phones, too often leaving them as I rush from one place to the other. While I try my best, the truth is I've had more than 10 phones lost, broken or nicked in the last decade. As I know I'm a loser, I know insurance is a good bet for me, as it costs less than repeatedly paying for a new phone.

  • Can you self-insure?

    Self-insuring simply means rather than paying for insurance, you put money aside each month into a Top Savings Account. This way if you lose your phone, you've got cash to pay towards a replacement.

  • If not, the cash and the interest is yours rather than an insurer's. It's great for those who rarely lose or damage phones, though it isn't without its risks.

    To find out how much you should be saving, either ask your contract provider how much it would charge for a replacement handset or research the costs of buying a new handset - you should get a rough idea from a website such as eBay* (see eBay Buying Secrets).

    Quick questions

    What if I lose the phone before I've saved up enough?

    Will I have to pay for fraudulent calls?

    There's only a short time left on my contract, is it better to get a new mobile deal

    Should I get like for like?

    Can I flog broken phones to offset the cost?


  • Is it already covered by your home insurance?

    Most standard contents insurance only covers phones if they're lost in a home burglary or house fire. But some include accidental damage cover, which lets you claim for phones damaged at home.

    Also check for 'all risks' or 'personal possessions cover', which protects you against loss, theft or accidental damage when expensive items are taken outside the home. You'll pay around £25 to £35 a year on top of your annual premium for it. If you go for this option, always check the following:

    You'll need to pay an excess

    You may lose your no-claims discount

    It may take time to replace the phone

    Will it pay cash?

    Will unauthorised calls be covered?

    Will it replace lost music or games?

  • Is it already covered by your bank account?

    While most top bank accounts are free, if you have a paid-for premier current account it can be worth it IF you use the products bundled with it. The big three 'freebies' are breakdown cover, travel insurance and mobile phone insurance.

  • However, if the only real bonus of the account is mobile phone insurance, compare the cost to getting insurance by itself. Some people pay more than £15 a month to cover a mobile when they could get it for £5.

    If it's not worth it, ditch to a fee-free bank account, or compare premier bank accounts and cheap mobile insurance. However, it's worth noting...

    If you have a joint account, it's likely to cover both partners' phones for one fee, so you can get 2for1 cover.

    You might not be covered automatically, here we've listed which banks require you to register the phone before its insured.

    Do you need to tell your bank?
    Provider Need to register?
    Barclays Yes
    Bank of Scotland No
    Co-op (not available to new customers) No
    Halifax No
    Lloyds No
    NatWest/RBS No
  • Speedy replacement crucial? Use your network's cover

    All the mobile networks have their own insurance policies but it's usually not cheap so, in most cases it is best to avoid it. However, it's the quickest way to get a new phone with minimum hassle as they all send replacement handsets, rather than cash. So if you can't be without your phone it is worth considering.

    Bear in mind that some networks, such as EE, offer 'handset blind' pricing so the cost of insurance is the same whichever phone you have. If you use an older handset you're likely to be subsiding the cost of cover for other mobile users.

    Here's a summary of the cheapest policies from network providers which will cover you for losing an iPhone.

    The cheapest network policies
    Annual cost Excess New phone sent Unauthorised calls?
    EE* £120 £75 Within 24 hours No cover
    O2* £150 £60 (1) Next day No cover
    Vodafone* £155.88 £50 Next day £1,000
    (1) £120 for subsequent 'loss' claims.

    Always try haggling at renewal to see if you can get the insurance thrown in free. See the Mobile Haggling guide.

  • What does the policy protect you against?

    Some policies cover you if you lose the phone or it’s stolen but others only if it’s stolen, so check the policy carefully to ensure you get what you need.

    The regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, found in 2013 that many mobile phone insurance contracts have been mis-sold or complaints weren't dealt with in an acceptable manner. See the FCA crackdown news story.

    All our top picks below have confirmed their policies would cover you for loss and theft, as long as you weren’t careless and made reasonable attempts to recover the mobile.

Best buys: Mobile phone insurance

If you've read what's above and you're sure you need cover, there's some good news. Unlike most other insurance, mobile phone cover doesn't depend on your gender, job, what you earn or other standard 'risks'.

Most even ignore whether you've claimed before - a huge bonus for serial losers, though this isn't universal, so check before you leap in. Prices start from £57/year for a Samsung S6, S6 Edge (including the 128GB versions) or the S5 and £65/year for the iPhone range including the latest iPhone 6 and 6 Plus (including the 128GB model).

Find your cheapest policy

Pick your handset from the following options:

Cheapest with decent cover levels

Any iPhone (incl iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 5S, 5C) - £65/year

Our cheapest pick is from Insurance2Go*. It covers the complete iPhone range up to the maximum value. But it's not available if you want to pay for your insurance on a monthly basis.

MSE Blagged: Use the code MSEIPHONE to get £5 off the annual premium on the already-cheapest pick from Insurance2Go*. This brings the cost of the Lite policy to £60 a year, and Full to £65 a year. Here's what you get for each:

  • Lite: Covers accidents, liquid damage, theft and unauthorised calls (up to £1,000). No loss cover.

  • Full: All of the above plus loss of the phone.

For both, the excess - the amount you must pay of any claim - is £50 (£75 for loss). Feedback for Insurance2Go mobile insurance is available on our forum (please feedback if you have any experience with it).

Stats box
  • Excess: £50 damage, £75 theft/loss
  • Max value £900
  • Max phone age to insure: 6 months at time of policy purchase
  • Cover abroad: 90 days/year
  • Replacement phone speed: Likely to take a few days
  • What do you get if you lose? Refurbished or new phone
  • Unauthorised calls: £1,000

Cheapest with 'instant' phone replacement

Here you'll need to go with insurance from your network, as standalone policies all generally take longer to reunite you with a handset. For an iPhone, here are the basic details of cover from the biggies.

The cheapest network policies
Annual cost Excess New phone sent Unauthorised calls?
EE* £120 £75 Within 24 hours No cover
O2* £150 £60 (1) Next day No cover
Vodafone* £155.88 £50 Next day £1,000
(1) £120 for subsequent 'loss' claims.

How we pick 'em

We compared 40 policies to find a mix of low price and decent cover. There are horror stories in our forums about insurers rejecting claims, rendering policies useless, so we've excluded some cheap insurers with significant bad feedback. We can't vouch 100% for good service with anyone we include.

All our top picks below have confirmed their policies would cover you for loss and theft, as long as you weren’t careless and made reasonable attempts to recover the mobile.

Having said all that, each insurance claim is reviewed on its own merits so please share and tell us your experiences.

Important note

With all insurers, check the policy cover carefully. You may feel you're getting full 'loss' or 'theft' cover, but restrictions do apply. See our What to check section.

Broken iPhone? Take it to the Apple store

Also check... If you're insuring more than one phone or you're looking for cover for the whole family, the Nationwide FlexPlus account is worth considering. It costs £10 a month (£120 a year) and covers phones worth up to £1,000 each.

See Bank Accounts With Mobile Cover for more.

Cheapest with decent cover levels

Samsung phone (including S6, S6 Edge and S5) - £60/year

MSE Blagged: Use the code MSE5 to get £5 off the annual premium on the already-cheapest pick from Insurance2Go*. The offer is not available for pay monthly policies.

The code can also be used for the latest Samsung Galaxy S6 (32GB, 64GB and 128GB version) and S6 Edge (64GB and 128GB model), which first launched in April 2015. Using the code brings the cost of the Lite policy to £55 a year, and Full to £60 a year. Here's what you get:

  • Lite: Covers accidents, liquid damage, theft & unauthorised calls (up to £1,000). But not loss.
  • Full: All the above, plus loss.

On both levels, you get up to £875 to replace the phone itself plus accessories. Feedback for Insurance2Go mobile insurance is available on our forum (please tell us if you have any experience with it).

Stats box
  • Excess: £25 damage/theft, £50 loss
  • Max value £875
  • Max phone age to insure: 6 months at time of policy purchase
  • Cover abroad: 90 days/year
  • Replacement phone speed: A few days, at least
  • What do you get if you lose? Refurbished or new phone
  • Unauthorised calls: £1,000

Also check... If you're insuring more than one phone or you're looking for cover for the entire family, the Nationwide FlexPlus account is worth considering. It costs £10 a month (£120 a year), and covers phones worth up to £1,000 each.

See Bank Accounts With Mobile Cover for more.

Other smartphones

Covers other types of smartphones - £60/year

MSE Blagged: Use the code MSE5 to get £5 off the annual premium on the already-cheapest pick from Insurance2Go*. This offer doesn't apply to iPhones.

This brings the cost of the Lite policy to £55 a year, and Full to £60 a year. Here's what you get for each:

  • Lite: Covers accidents, liquid damage, theft & unauthorised calls (up to £1,000). But not loss.
  • Full: All the above, plus loss.

On both levels you get up to £875 to replace phone itself plus accessories. Feedback for Insurance2Go mobile insurance is available on our forum (please tell us if you have any experience with it).

Stats box
  • Excess: £25 theft/damage, £50 loss
  • Max value £875
  • Max phone age to insure: 6 months at time of policy purchase
  • Cover abroad: 90 days/year
  • Replacement phone speed: A few days, at least
  • What do you get if you lose? Refurbished or new phone
  • Unauthorised calls: £1,000

Cheapest with 'instant' phone replacement

Here you'll need to go with insurance from your network, as standalone policies all generally take longer to reunite you with a handset. Here are the basic details of cover from the biggies...

The cheapest network policies
Annual cost Excess New phone sent Unauthorised calls?
EE* £120 £75 Within 24 hours No cover
O2* £150 £60 (1) Next day No cover
Vodafone* £155.88 £50 Next day £1,000
(1) £120 for subsequent 'loss' claims.

How we pick 'em

We compared 40 policies to find a mix of low price and decent cover. There are horror stories in our forums about insurers rejecting claims, rendering policies useless, so we've excluded some cheap insurers with significant bad feedback. We can't vouch 100% for good service with anyone we include.

All our top picks below have confirmed their policies would cover you for loss and theft, as long as you weren’t careless and made reasonable attempts to recover the mobile.

Having said all that, each insurance claim is reviewed on its own merits so please share and tell us your experiences.

Important note

With all insurers, check the policy cover carefully. You may feel you're getting full 'loss' or 'theft' cover, but restrictions do apply. See our What to check section.

Also check... If you're insuring more than one phone, or you're looking for cover for the entire family, the Nationwide FlexPlus account is worth considering. It costs £10 a month, (£120 a year) and covers phones worth up to £1,000 each.

See Bank Accounts With Mobile Cover for more.

Cheap policy, low limits. A good add-on to self-insuring

Gadget Cover

You can get a dirt-cheap policy from Gadget Cover*, with a maximum £150 cover level, more suited to less snazzy, more functional non-smartphone handsets. This is a decent option if you're self-insuring and want a little boost on top.

However, if you lose it, you need to pay £25 excess towards a claim, so you need to factor that in. Here's what you get:

  • Theft, accidents and repairs: £16 a year
  • All of the above, AND loss: £27 a year

You need to name the phone you have and its value, and it tells you the price, which increases for pricier handsets. Don't think about skimping and using this to cover a more expensive gadget, as the likelihood is it just won't pay out.

Beware - poor feedback

Be warned that not all budget providers receive good feedback - let us know your experiences in the forum discussion. As always, check if you are covered on your home insurance as you may already be protected.

Stats box
  • Excess: £25
  • Max value £150
  • Age of phone: Up to 18 months
  • Cover abroad: 90 days/year
  • Speed: Likely to take a few days at least
  • What do you get if you lose? Refurbished (not new)
  • Unauthorised calls: £2,500

Cheapest with 'instant' phone replacement

Here you'll need to go with insurance from your network, as standalone policies all generally take longer to reunite you with a handset. For an iPhone, here are the basic details of cover from the biggies...

The cheapest network policies
Annual cost Excess New phone sent Unauthorised calls?
EE* £120 £75 Within 24 hours No cover
O2* £150 £60 (1) Next day No cover
Vodafone* £155.88 £50 Next day £1,000
(1) £120 for subsequent 'loss' claims.

How we pick 'em

We compared 40 policies to find a mix of low price and decent cover. There are horror stories in our forums about insurers rejecting claims, rendering policies useless, so we've excluded some cheap insurers with significant bad feedback. We can't vouch 100% for good service with anyone we include.

All our top picks below have confirmed their policies would cover you for loss and theft, as long as you weren’t careless and made reasonable attempts to recover the mobile.

Having said all that, each insurance claim is reviewed on its own merits so please share and tell us your experiences.

Important note

With all insurers, check the policy cover carefully. You may feel you're getting full 'loss' or 'theft' cover, but restrictions do apply. See our What to check section.

Best buys: Bank accounts with mobile cover

While most top bank accounts you get free, some premier current accounts can be worth it IF you use the products bundled with them. The big three 'freebies' are breakdown cover, travel insurance and mobile phone insurance.

The real boon here is if you hold a joint account with a partner, then both of your phones are protected without you having to pay twice. Here are the big banks' cheapest accounts that include mobile insurance.

Our top pick

Nationwide

Best bank account for multiple phones

Nationwide FlexPlus £120/year

If you want to cover all the family's phones, the Nationwide* FlexPlus account costs £10 a month and has top customer service. It also pays 3% AER interest on balances up to £2,500, beating other top savings accounts, and has a 0% arranged £100 overdraft. It's available online, in branch, or by phone/post.

Need to knows
  • Mobile phone insurance covers repair or replacement after theft, loss, damage or breakdown, for all handsets up to £1,000 per phone.

  • Phones belonging to family members living at home are included. (Children must be under 19, or 22 in full-time education, and can't be married or in a civil partnership. If they're at uni, the cover only applies at home out of term time.)

  • A worldwide family travel insurance policy for the year, including winter sports cover, travel disruption and golf cover. The cheapest you could get this for elsewhere is £60, but for a top value policy you could pay more than £150 per year (see the Travel Insurance guide).

  • UK & European breakdown cover, extended warranty and identity theft with card assistance are also thrown in.

To see how this compares, read the full Top Premier Current Accounts guide.

Nationwide's packaged accounts with benefits have been our top picks for a few years so please share your experiences.

  • Excess: £50 (£100 for iPhones) | Max value: £1,000 per phone | Age of phone: Unlimited | Cover abroad: Yes | Speed: A few days | New or replacement? Either | Unauthorised calls: Up to £2,000 | Document: Summary of cover

The best from the rest of the banks

If you're not going for our top pick from Nationwide above, here you'll find a selection of the best policies around from the rest of the banks.

How policies from the banks compare
Bank Annual cost How many phones? Standard excess Max claim per phone
Barclays
Tech Pack
£90 One (or two with joint acc) £100 iPhones (1)
£50 others (1)
£1,000
Halifax*
Ultimate Reward
£180 One (or two with joint acc) £100 iPhones
£30 others
£2,000
Lloyds
Silver
£119 One (or two with joint acc) £100 iPhones
£50 others
£2,000
NatWest
Select Silver
£120 One (or two with joint acc) £75 iPhones
£75 others
No limit
(1) For theft or loss claims.

There are two big things to be aware of when getting mobile insurance through your bank:

  • It's NOT as quick as mobile network cover.

    The big phone networks specialise in getting a phone out to you ASAP, but here it's likely to take a few days at least. Though, unlike the standalone insurers, they at least have high street branches you can complain to if they really drag their feet.

  • You may need to activate the insurance.

    Scandalously, opening the account and paying your fee sometimes isn't enough to make sure you're covered. With certain banks, you need to give extra info to activate it. See the bank-by-bank list.

What to check before getting a policy

Do you get a new phone, or will it be repaired instead?

The excess: How much, and when?

Warning! You may have to pay the premium in full to claim

Who'll pay for the calls/apps/downloads made while it was nicked?

Is your mobile too old?

Will anything else stop you claiming? (For example, was it robbery or theft?)

Complain if your claim's unfairly rejected

How to protect your data

Losing your mobile phone can be a nightmare of lost data, photos and contacts. Yet there are a number of easy ways to protect your data for free.

Regardless of how expensive your phone is, the data stored on it can be mega-valuable, and it's near impossible to retrieve contacts, photos, apps, games, messages and more after losing a handset.

To beat this, use one of the following free services:

Back up to the web

Back up to your computer

Via your network provider

What if my insurer goes bust?

Insurers regulated in the UK are covered by the same Government-backed Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) as banks, meaning if they go into default, you're protected. There are two main ways in which it protects you.

  1. If you need to claim from a bust insurer

    The FSCS's main objective is to 'maintain continuity'. This means if your insurer goes bust, it will try to find another provider to take over your policy, or issue a substitute policy. However, if you have any ongoing claims, or need to make a claim before a new insurer is found, the FSCS should ensure these are covered.

  2. If it goes bust and you paid upfront

    If you've paid for cover for a year, but the company goes bust after a month or two, then you would lose out.

    To protect against that, if the FSCS can't transfer your policy to another provider, you'll be given a period of time to take out alternative insurance, and 90% of any money you've already paid will be refunded as compensation via the FSCS. To help explain, here's a quick example...

    You paid for a year-long policy in January and the insurer went bust in September. If the FSCS can't get the policy transferred elsewhere, then you will receive four months' worth of the original cost in compensation.

How to complain about your insurance provider

The insurance industry doesn't have the best customer service reputation and while a provider may be good for some, it can be hell for others. Common problems include claims either not being paid out on time or at all, unfair charges, or exclusions being hidden in the small print. It’s always worth trying to call your provider first, but if not then…

Free tool if you’re having a problem

This tool helps you draft your complaint and manage it too. It’s totally free, and offered by a firm called Resolver which we like so much we work with it to help people get complaints justice.

If the complaint isn't resolved, Resolver will automatically escalate it to the free Financial Ombudsman Service.

Important: if your issue is about a voucher or incentive that was part of an MSE Blagged deal, then instead just let us know by emailing voucherhelp@moneysavingexpert.com as that’s usually quicker.