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Best credit cards for cellphone insurance

Paying your bill with the right card can unlock rewards and protection from theft

Summary

A handful of credit cards offer cellphone protection covering loss or damage. Policy details and exclusions vary, but, in general, you must use a credit card that includes the coverage to pay your cellphone service provider’s bill.

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When your cellphone is lost, stolen or just stops connecting to the world, you’ll probably feel a little down on your luck.

Fortunately, a handful of credit cards offer built-in cellphone insurance, giving you a valuable financial lifeline when that all-important handheld device needs to be replaced. This credit card benefit – one that many cardholders aren’t even aware of – can be valuable if your cellphone is stolen, damaged or needs replacement.

In 2013, the average price of a smartphone in North America was $531, which increased to $567 in 2017 according to Statista. Recent smartphone models, including the iPhone X (which was priced around $1,000 at launch) and the new iPhone 12 (which starts at around $800) have pulled up the entire average for that product category. Considering this cost increase, insurance can be a pretty worthwhile safety net for most Americans.

Here we cover some rewards credit cards that offer cellphone insurance and other perks just for paying your cellphone bill.

See related: Best credit cards for paying monthly bills

What is cellphone insurance?

Dakota McKinnon, a public relations professional in Las Vegas, has two Wells Fargo consumer credit cards – the Wells Fargo Propel from American Express and the Wells Fargo Rewards card. Both come with cellphone insurance – but McKinnon simply wasn’t aware of this fact.

Had he known of the perk, Dakota says he would have already leveraged its benefits – multiple times, too.

“Do you know how many damaged iPhones I could have had replaced through the incentive? Roughly five,” McKinnon says. “I have been using iPhones since 2009 when the iPhone 3G was released. If I would have known about this incentive back in my college days, I probably would have been more inclined to use my credit card more advantageously.”

What’s covered by cellphone insurance?

Most cellphone insurance offerings cover phones that are either stolen or damaged (and unusable as a result). Some exceptions to these rules might include:

  • Phones that are stolen from checked luggage during travel
  • Phones that disappear without reason
  • Damage caused by normal wear and tear, flooding or natural disaster
  • Damage caused by “war, invasion, rebellion or insurrection”
  • Cosmetic damage that doesn’t impact the phone’s usability

The majority of policies do not cover lost phones.

What cards offer cellphone insurance?

Not all credit cards offer cellphone insurance, but more are adding similar benefits. American Express rolled out cellphone insurance benefits on many of its cards in April 2021. Cards vary in how much they’ll cover per claim. Check out the top credit cards currently offering some form of cellphone insurance:

CardCoverage / claim limitsDeductibleRewards rate
Wells Fargo Propel American Express card
  • $600 per claim
  • $1,200 per 12-month period
  • 2 claims per 12-month period
$25
  • 3 points per dollar on dining, travel and transit, gas station purchases and select streaming services
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
  • $600 per claim
  • $1,800 per year
  • 3 claims per 12-month period
$100
  • 3 points per dollar on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone services and advertising purchases (on up to $150,000 combined purchases yearly)
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
Citi Prestige Card
  • $1,000 per claim
  • $1,500 per 12-month period
  • 2 claims per 12-month period
$50
  • 5 points per dollar on air travel and restaurants
  • 3 points per dollar on hotels and cruise lines
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
Chase Freedom Flex
  • $800 per claim
  • $1,000 per 12-month period
  • 2 claims per 12-month period
$50
  • 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories that you must activate each quarter (on up to $1,500 per quarter)
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases
  • 1% cash back on other purchases
U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card
  • $600 per claim
  • $1,200 per 12-month period
  • 2 claims per 12-month period
$25None
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa
  • $600 per claim
  • $1,200 per 12-month period
  • 2 claims per 12-month period
$251.5% cash rewards on purchases
Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students
  • $600 per claim
  • $1,000 per 12-month period
  • 2 claims per 12-month period
$501% cash back on all purchases
The Platinum Card from American Express
  • $800 per claim
  • 2 claims per 12-month period
$50
  • 5 points per dollar for eligible flights (on up to $500,000 purchases per calendar year)
  • 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases

Tips on how to maximize your cellphone protection benefits

In order to reap all the rewards you can from these valuable cards, here are some ways to guarantee you are maximizing your benefits:

Verify your rewards credit card is your form of payment

Make sure you are paying your cellphone bill with the rewards card that yields the benefits. This can be done either by linking your card through an autopay program or paying it online every month. Autopay is often more convenient because this guarantees you won’t miss a due date. This arrangement will ensure you will qualify for protections and that you will earn rewards.

Keep documentation organized

Keeping proof of purchase of cellphones, copies of monthly cellphone carrier statements and other types of receipts and documentation handy can streamline the process of filing an insurance claim.

File a police report for a paper trail

If your cellphone is lost or stolen, it’s prudent to file a police report. This report can be submitted to the insurance administrator to assist in filing your claim.

Pay attention to insurance information updates

It’s not uncommon for insurance carriers or card issuers to mail updates or changes to your policies. When you receive an email or letter, take the time to read the information so you are up to date with the benefits of your card and its coverage.

File your claim quickly

Most insurance policies require filing the claim within 60 days of the incident. Here are the steps to file:

  • Log in to your account and follow the prompts to your card benefit services account. You will find fields to enter claim information.
  • Upload all necessary documentation, including receipts and a monthly cellphone bill.
  • If the online process sounds daunting, cardholders can call the phone number on the back of their credit card to be directed to a claim administrator.

Bottom line

With the almost effortless action of paying your cellphone bill with one of these credit cards, you can enjoy valuable cellphone insurance coverage, as well as cash back rewards or a lower APR.

But is free cellphone insurance enough of a draw to steer you toward one credit card over another? Probably not. Getting cellphone insurance for free is a nice benefit, but the yearly value you gain from the perk might not be worth it if you’re paying a high annual fee or carrying a balance and paying sky-high interest charges.

Rather than letting cellphone protection perks guide your card choices, evaluate a card’s rewards, its fee structure, the APR and its full range of benefits. Cellphone insurance is certainly nice to have if you need it, but make sure the costs of the card don’t outweigh its value in the long term.

*All information about the Wells Fargo Propel American Express card, U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card and the Citi Prestige Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and not been reviewed by the issuer. These cards are no longer available through CreditCards.com.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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