Mobile Phone Insurance

Get iPhone & Samsung cover for less than £5/mth

mobile phone insurance

Break it, lose it, 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 phone insurance cover from £56/year (under £5/month), to protect your iPhone, Samsung or any of the other latest smartphones available.

Seven mobile phone insurance need-to-knows

  • When it comes to insurance policies, the level of cover depends on your policy. As a rule of thumb, a decent mobile phone insurance policy would usually protect you – as standard - in case of:

    • Theft (not to be confused with loss)
    • Accidental damage 
    • Liquid damage (you spill water on it)
    • Mechanical breakdown
    • Unauthorised calls (this is where a crook makes calls at your expense)
    • Accessories (if attached to the phone)

    But do expect to pay extra, or add on, cover for …

    • Loss

    All our top picks would cover you for loss and theft, as long as you weren't careless and made reasonable attempts to recover the mobile.

    Why? ... insurers have been known to refuse to pay out for theft in certain circumstances, eg, if a phone is taken out of someone's pocket while at a busy gig, saying this doesn't count as no force was used.

    Many gadget insurance policies also offer to include a mobile but we think standalone insurance focusing on handsets represents better, more comprehensive value.

    Quick question

    • Unfortunately, the mobile insurance market is becoming well-known for some providers erring on the side of NOT paying out, and thinking up increasingly slippery excuses why they don't owe you a new phone.

      Depending on the insurer, known exclusions can be a long list. But here are some of the biggies. You may not be covered:

      • In the first 14 or 21 days of the policy.
      • If you try to pimp up your phone, and it gets damaged in the process.
      • If you need to leave it in your car.
      • If your IMEI number, effectively your phone's serial number, has been tampered with.
      • If you do not supply, or have, the IMEI number. Some may want it displayed on the purchase invoice.
      • If you have a virus on your phone (see Antivirus For Mobiles for how to prevent this for nothing).
      • Data including contacts, downloads and photographs isn't usually covered, so back up regularly for free.
      • If you've lost your receipt.
      • If you weren't showing reasonable care, for example, it was left on a café table when it went missing.
  • 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.

    - Martin Lewis, MSE founder & chair

  • Many mobile phone policies usually have a condition that you can only start cover within six months of purchasing a new mobile phone. If you purchased your mobile over six months ago, getting cover can be difficult, though Gadget Cover* will accept mobiles up to 18 months after the purchase date.

    You'll be able to let an existing policy renew each year, but the age rule means you're probably stuck with that initial provider as your choice of mobile insurers reduces.

    With the major network providers, you get less time to decide whether to go with their policies, with them either wanting to know immediately or up to 28 days from the date of purchase of the mobile phone.

    An option if your mobile is over six months old and you cannot find a decent mobile phone insurance policy is to consider arranging cover via your home insurance policy and in particular the all risks or personal possessions section of the policy, which protects property outside your home. But do take into account a usually higher excess and the loss of any no-claims discount.

  • 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 usually pay about £25 to £50 a year on top of your annual premium for it.

    That is the good news. The bad news is there is usually a higher excess, which can range from £100 to as high as £500 per claim. This sometimes renders the cover worthless if you need to claim – as the excess is greater than the claim amount. Plus there's the fact that any claim usually leads to the insurer reducing any no-claims discount from your price at renewal. In effect, it could mean higher home insurance prices for up to five years following the claim – on top of the excess you had to pay.

    So, if the mobile is an expensive model, claiming on your home insurance policy may be worth it. If you go for this option, always check the following:

    Quick questions

  • While most top bank accounts are free, if you have a paid-for top packaged bank accounts 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 under £5/mth.

    If it's not worth it, ditch to a fee-free bank account, or compare top packaged 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.

    Most banks don't need you to register your phone to ensure it is insured though Barclays insist you tell it, by registering, to make sure cover kicks in.

  • 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

    • Modern smartphones, such as the iPhone, Samsung and Google Pixel, can cost many £100s to buy new when they're not subsidised by a contract.

      The latest range of iPhones would easily set you back £700+ for the iPhone 11 to over £1,100 for the 11 Pro Max. For owners of the iPhone XR, it has a starting price of £629.

      When it comes to the Samsung S10, the new price is £669 for the Samsung S10e (and almost £1,100 for the top of the range model.

      Plus 24 or 36-month deals mean you could be locked into expensive contracts for a long time without a phone.

      If you lose the phone early on it can be costly and the more expensive it is to replace, the less self-insuring is worth it – or at least couple it with a budget insurance policy.

    • Most manufacturers usually include a year's guarantee if the goods are faulty, but it will not cover you against theft, loss or accidental damage, which is where an insurance policy comes into play.

    • While insurance protects you against phone thieves running up big bills, without it you'll have to shoulder the cost of calls made, and downloads of music, games etc, before it's barred by your operator.

      So if you're self-insuring, report the loss or theft of a phone ASAP – err on the side of caution (see how to protect yourself against fraud).

    • It can be cheaper to get a new deal (see Cheapest Mobiles) than pay up for a replacement phone. Top-end handsets can be £100s cheaper if bought as part of a new customer deal rather than as a replacement.

      Speak to your current phone provider. It may also let you downgrade to its cheapest tariff to see out the remainder of the contract, minimising wasted spend.

    • It may be a wrench, but if you haven't scraped together enough money, it's time to consider temporarily downgrading.

      If you don't have your Sim card, ask your provider to replace it (it's often free or has a small charge) rather than the phone. Then pick up a pay-as-you-go or Sim-free phone – paying less than £10 for a basic handset is no longer uncommon.

      However, make sure it's on the same network as your Sim card, or get your phone unlocked (see the Mobile Unlocking guide for full details).

    • If your phone is broken and costs too much to fix, you may be able to recoup some money by selling it to a mobile recycling company. Most are happy to take broken handsets, though obviously they'll pay less than for fully functional ones.

      For more help and information, see our Sell Old Mobiles guide.

  • All the mobile networks have their own insurance policies but it's usually not cheap so, in most cases, it's best to avoid it. However, it's usually 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 a policy from your network provider (see our summary of cost from network providers).

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.

How we pick 'em

While we don't generally factor in payout record or customer service, there are horror stories in our forums about insurers rejecting claims, so we've excluded some cheap insurers with significantly bad feedback (tell us your experiences). However, 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.

Important: With all insurers, check the policy cover carefully. See our FAQs below for more on what to look out for.

Find your cheapest policy

Pick your handset from the following options:

Cheapest with decent cover levels

Our cheapest pick with decent cover levels is from Insurance2Go*. It will cover the latest iPhone 11, 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max, up to the maximum value, though you must have bought the phone in the last six months.

MSE Blagged: Newbies using code MSEIPHONE10 get £10 off the annual premium from Insurance2Go* (won't apply if you choose to pay monthly). This means for the full cover policy you'll pay from:

-    £80/yr for the iPhone 11
-    £120/yr for the iPhone 11 Pro or iPhone Pro Max

Your insurance covers accidents, liquid damage, theft and unauthorised calls (up to £1,000) plus loss of the phone. You also get overseas cover.

The excess – the amount you must pay of any claim – is from £75 to £150 (depending on model and memory size). Feedback for Insurance2Go mobile insurance is available on our forum (please feed back if you have any experience with it).

  • Excess: Varies (£75-£150)
  • Max value: £1,499
  • Max phone age to insure: Six months at time of policy purchase
  • Cover abroad: 90 days/yr
  • Replacement phone speed: Likely to take a few days
  • What do you get if you lose yours? Refurbished or new phone
  • Unauthorised calls: £1,000

Cheapest with decent cover levels

Insurance2Go* is our cheapest pick with decent cover levels. It will cover the latest iPhone XS or XS Max, up to the maximum value, though you must have bought the phone in the last six months.

MSE Blagged: Newbies using code MSEIPHONE10 get £10 off the annual premium from Insurance2Go* (won't apply if you choose to pay monthly). This means for full cover you'll pay from £100/yr for the XS, and from £120/yr for the XS Max.

Your insurance covers accidents, liquid damage, theft and unauthorised calls (up to £1,000) plus loss of the phone. You also get overseas cover.

The excess – the amount you must pay of any claim – is from £100 to £150 (depending on model and memory size). Feedback for Insurance2Go mobile insurance is available on our forum (please feed back if you have any experience with it).

  • Excess: Varies (£100-£150)
  • Max value: £1,449
  • Max phone age to insure: Six months at time of policy purchase
  • Cover abroad: 90 days/yr
  • Replacement phone speed: Likely to take a few days
  • What do you get if you lose yours? 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 whole family, the Nationwide FlexPlus account is worth considering. It costs £13/mth (£156/yr) and covers phones worth up to £1,000 each.

See Bank Accounts With Mobile Cover for more.

Insurance2Go* – our cheapest pick – will only insure mobiles purchased in the last six months and covers many of the iPhone range up to a maximum value of £1,000.

MSE Blagged: Newbies using code MSEIPHONE10 get £10 off the annual premium on the already cheapest pick from Insurance2Go* (won't apply if you choose to pay monthly).

Your insurance covers accidents, liquid damage, theft and unauthorised calls (up to £1,000) plus loss of the phone. You also get overseas cover.

The excess – the amount you must pay of any claim – is from £50 to £100 (depending on model and memory size). Feedback for Insurance2Go mobile insurance is available on our forum (please feed back if you have any experience with it).

  • Excess: Varies (£50-£100)
  • Max value: £1,000
  • Max phone age to insure: Six months at time of policy purchase
  • Cover abroad: 90 days/yr
  • Replacement phone speed: Likely to take a few days
  • What do you get if you lose yours? 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 8, here are the basic details of cover from the biggies.

THE CHEAPEST NETWORK POLICIES
TABLE_CELL_STYLE ANNUAL COST EXCESS REPLACEMENT PHONE SENT (1) UNAUTHORISED CALLS? WHEN MUST COVER BE ARRANGED
Three £114 (2) £100 Next day No cover Point of phone purchase
EE* £121 £100 Next day No cover No time restriction
O2* £150 £40 (3) 3-5 days No cover Within 28 days of phone purchase
Vodafone* £162 £79 Next day No cover Within 18 months of phone purchase

(1) From date claim approved. (2) Excludes loss or theft. (3) Increases to £70 for next day delivery.

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.

  • While your first instinct may be to sob uncontrollably, many MoneySavers report success from visiting Apple stores. You may need to book an appointment, and it's not a dead cert that you'll walk away problem-free, but for the cost of some shoe leather, it's worth a try.

    We haven't heard of successes from users of other pricey smartphones in other manufacturers' stores yet – please tell us if you've any experience of this.

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 £13 a month (£156 a year) and covers phones worth up to £1,000 each.

See Bank Accounts With Mobile Cover for more.

Our cheapest pick with decent cover levels is from Insurance2Go*. It will cover the entire Samsung Galaxy range, including, deep breath, the latest Samsung Galaxy Fold, S10, S10+, and the S9 and S9+ (not forgetting the S8, S8+, S7 and S7 Edge and the S6). But you'll need to have bought your phone in the last six months.

You can also get it if you own a Huawei, HTC or other smartphone.

MSE Blagged: Newbies using code MSE10 get £10 off the annual premium, though it won't work if you choose to pay monthly.

Your insurance covers accidents, liquid damage, theft and unauthorised calls (up to £1,000) plus loss of the phone. You also get overseas cover.

The excess – the amount you must pay of any claim – varies from £25 to £150 depending on model and memory size. Feedback for Insurance2Go mobile insurance is available on our forum (please feed back if you have any experience with it).

  • Excess: Varies (£25-£150)
  • Max value: £2,000
  • Max phone age to insure: Six months at time of policy purchase
  • Cover abroad: 90 days/yr
  • Replacement phone speed: A few days at least
  • What do you get if you lose yours? 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 8, here are the basic details of cover from the biggies.

THE CHEAPEST NETWORK POLICIES
TABLE_CELL_STYLE ANNUAL COST EXCESS
REPLACEMENT PHONE SENT (1)
UNAUTHORISED CALLS?
WHEN MUST COVER BE ARRANGED
Three £102 (2) £80 Next day No cover Point of phone purchase
EE* £148 £100 Next day No cover No time restriction
O2* £150 £70 3-5 days No cover Within 28 days of phone purchase
Vodafone* £162 £79 Next day No cover Within 18 months of phone purchase
(1) From date claim approved. (2) Excludes loss or theft.

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 whole family, the Nationwide FlexPlus account is worth considering. It costs £13 a month (£156 a year) and covers phones worth up to £1,000 each.

See Bank Accounts With Mobile Cover for more.

Cheap policy, though a low £250 limit on the value of your phone

If you've an older phone, you can get a cheap policy from Gadget Cover*. It's more suited to less snazzy smartphones (or non-smartphones) purchased over six months (but less than 18 months) ago. This is a decent option if you're self-insuring and want a little boost on top.

However, if you lose your phone, you need to pay a £50 excess towards a claim, so factor that in. Here's what you get:

  • Theft, accidents and repairs: from £39/yr
  • All the above AND loss: from £50/yr

You need to name the phone you have and its value, and Gadget Cover 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 won't pay out.

Beware – little 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.

  • Excess: £50
  • Max value: £250
  • Max phone age to insure: Up to 18 months
  • Cover abroad: 180 days/yr
  • Replacement phone speed: Likely to take a few days
  • What do you get if you lose yours? 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 8, here are the basic details of cover from the biggies.

THE CHEAPEST NETWORK POLICIES
TABLE_CELL_STYLE ANNUAL COST EXCESS
REPLACEMENT PHONE SENT (1)
UNAUTHORISED CALLS?
WHEN MUST COVER BE ARRANGED
Three £102 (2) £80 Next day No cover Point of phone purchase
EE* £148 £100 Next day No cover No time restriction
O2* £150 £70 3-5 days No cover Within 28 days of phone purchase
Vodafone* £162 £79 Next day No cover Within 18 months of phone purchase
(1) From date claim approved. (2) Excludes Loss or Theft.

How we pick 'em

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 whole family, the Nationwide FlexPlus account is worth considering. It costs £13 a month (£156 a year) and covers phones worth up to £1,000 each.

See Bank Accounts With Mobile Cover for more.

Bank accounts with mobile cover

While most top bank accounts are free, some top packaged bank accounts – which you pay for – 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, 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

Best bank account for multiple phones

If you want to cover all the family's phones, the Nationwide FlexPlus* account costs £13/mth and has top customer service.

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 under 22 if 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.)

  • You also get worldwide family travel insurance 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/yr (see our Travel Insurance guide).

  • UK and European breakdown cover is also thrown in.

To see how this compares, read our full Top Packaged Bank 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
  • Replacement phone 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
£174 Two (or four with joint acc) £75 £1,500
Halifax 
Ultimate Reward
£180 One (or two with joint acc) £100 £2,000
Lloyds 
Silver
£143 One (or two with joint acc) £100 £2,000
NatWest 
Reward Silver
£120 One (or two with joint acc) £100 No limit

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

    Be aware: opening the account and paying your fee sometimes isn't enough to make sure you're covered. Certain banks, Barclays for one, require you to give extra info to activate the cover.

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 8, here are the basic details of cover from the biggies.

THE CHEAPEST NETWORK POLICIES
TABLE_CELL_STYLE ANNUAL COST EXCESS
REPLACEMENT PHONE SENT (1)
UNAUTHORISED CALLS?
Three £114 (2) £100 Next day No cover
EE* £121 £100 Next day No cover
O2* £150 £70 3-5 days No cover
Vodafone* £168 £79 Next day No cover
(1) From date claim approved. (2) Excludes loss or theft.

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

  • While your first instinct may be to sob uncontrollably, many MoneySavers report success from visiting Apple stores. You may need to book an appointment, and it's not a dead cert that you'll walk away problem-free, but for the cost of some shoe leather, it's worth a try.

    We haven't heard of successes from users of other pricey smartphones in other manufacturers' stores yet – please tell us if you've any experience of this.

Cashback sites may pay you for signing up

As an extra boon, members of specialist cashback websites can be paid when they sign up to some financial products. Do check that it's exactly the same deal though, as terms can be different. And remember the cashback is never 100% guaranteed until it's in your account.

Full help to take advantage of this and pros & cons are in our Top Cashback Sites guide.

FAQs

  • You might think this would be simple, but how your phone gets replaced can vary depending on the company.

    Most will deliver a replacement phone to you. But you're NOT guaranteed a new phone or even the same model – it depends what's in stock. If the insurer has your type of phone, you'll most probably receive a reconditioned/refurbished phone or an alternative 'equivalent' model (taking into account its age and condition).

    Alternatively, insurers may choose to give you a cash equivalent. As a rule, if it can't get you the same phone as your original, it should call you to discuss how you'd prefer to settle the claim.

    If your phone is damaged and not lost or stolen, then if you're covered insurers will try to repair it rather than simply give you a replacement, so get set to be mobile-less for some time.

  • The 'excess' is the amount you'll have to pay towards the cost of a new phone or repairs before the insurer pays the rest. If the cost of repair or replacement is £100, and you have a £25 excess, the insurer will only pay £75.

    Unlike home or car insurance – where you normally receive the amount of the claim, less the excess – mobile insurance claims are dealt with differently. You'll usually need to send the excess payment to the insurer before the claim will be settled.

    Excesses vary depending on the phone, the type of claim and if you've made a previous claim with that provider. So don't presume the same excess always applies. It may increase for subsequent claims, or if you need to claim while abroad.

  • If you usually pay by instalments, some standalone insurers will ask for the remainder of the premium to be paid in full before they will settle a claim.

    This differs massively from other insurance policies, but it doesn't affect your ability to claim on the policy for the rest of the year. If you lost your phone again, you could still claim (though some limit you to two claims per year). It's important to check how your policy works, as if this is hard for you to budget for, self-insuring may be better.

  • It isn't just your handset you need to think about if it's lost or stolen. Don't forget the cost of rogue calls and downloads can run into hundreds of pounds before you notice your handset has gone missing. Plus being without a phone can delay you from contacting your network provider to slap a bar on all outbound calls.

    From that point, you'll usually be covered for the cost of unauthorised calls, but you'll usually need to have reported it missing within at least 24 hours. That's cut to 12 hours with some providers, such as Cheaper Gadget Insurance and BeMobile.

    You'll also need to tell the police if the phone is stolen or lost. Again, do this ASAP and ideally within 24 hours to avoid any difficulties when claiming.

  • While it's rude to ask how old a lady is – and sensitive men too! – your phone's age matters. Some insurers will only accept mobiles under six months old, but others insure handsets which are three years old, so check yours is eligible before you buy.

    Where the age of the hand holding the phone does matter is if it's a child. Generally, they won't be covered until they are at least 16, and maybe older. So again, don't buy cover if you won't be protected, and try self-insuring instead.

  • In 2013, the Financial Conduct Authority discovered many mobile phone insurance contracts were either mis-sold or complaints weren't dealt with in an acceptable manner.

    If you think you've been sold an unsuitable product, had a claim unfairly turned down or you just feel your complaint wasn't taken seriously, take action and go to the Financial Ombudsman. See our Your Financial Rights complaints guide.

    Give us your feedback if you've complained to the Ombudsman about your mobile phone insurance policy and let us know if it was resolved.

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:

  • This type of back-up is becoming increasingly common, popularised by Apple's iCloud  system. You plug in and your data is synched with a server, effectively saving it to be retrieved at the push of a button. Always check you know exactly which info is being stored, and if anything important is missed, then use a different route to save that.

    These are the top methods we found:

    • iCloud

      Apple iPhone customers can use iCloud free – you simply select the option to set this up via iTunes (see how to turn it on). It stores contacts, settings, apps and more for you to retrieve when needed.

    • Android back-ups

      These are a bit more complex, and it's not our specialist area. Take a look at this step-by-step guide on giant tech website Lifehacker for how to go about doing this.

  • Most modern phones will be supplied with a cable and some software to connect them to your computer. This software is usually designed to sync calendars and address books, but you can use just it to store numbers.

    All smartphones, such as the Apple iPhone, Samsung, etc, now have a dedicated back-up service, but these usually store stuff on the PC, not online, which could be a worry if your system crashes.

    Samsung phones use Kies (or Smart Switch for the latest Samsung S10, S9, S8 and Edge range) and Blackberry uses its own Blackberry Desktop Software.

What if my insurer goes bust?

  • The Financial Services Compensation Scheme's (FSCS) 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.

  • 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.

     

What to do if something goes wrong

First, you need to complain to your insurance company directly. If it doesn’t respond, or if you don’t like what it says, then you don’t need to just take it.

You can escalate your complaint to the free Financial Ombudsman. The ombudsman is an independent adjudicator which will make the final decision on a claim if you are locked in a dispute with your insurer. For more on how to make a complaint, read our Financial Rights guide.

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