11/01/10

Protecting your iPhone

If you’re among the millions that already invested in an iPhone, or if you’re thinking about it, you may have concerns about protecting your new investment. One of the most appealing features of the latest iPhone model, the dual front and back glass, has some owners particularly worried about its durability.

Repairing a damaged iPhone can be expensive – some retailers charge $149 or more to replace a cracked screen. In addition, replacing a lost or stolen iPhone means paying full retail price – up to $700 – again.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your iPhone, give yourself some peace of mind and remain connected to family and friends.

  • A good case or silicone protector can help protect the back and sides against scratches and provide some impact protection.
  • A screen protector is a transparent film that protects the screen from scratches and can also help remove glare.
  • Some products, such as the invisibleShield Full Body Easy Install from Zagg, combine body and screen protection.
  • There are a growing number of waterproof cases designed specifically for iPhones, such as the Magellan ToughCase. It allows your device to be submerged up to 1 meter for a maximum of 30 minutes.

But what happens if, despite your best efforts, your phone is damaged? Or, what can you do if it’s lost or stolen? Apple’s extended iPhone warranty program only covers manufacturer defects and faulty batteries.

Renters or homeowners insurance may cover the loss of a phone, but there is usually a high deductible, and the phone is typically covered only as part of a larger claim, such as a fire or burglary. Before considering this option, check with your insurance agent to see if your phone is covered under your policy and what restrictions may apply.

Some consumer groups recommend keeping your previous phone as an emergency backup, or finding a temporary replacement from an online auction site. Most items on these sites are not covered by a warranty or product quality certification.

Another option is to set aside $5 or $10 each month as an emergency fund to go toward replacement. However, with the high-cost of iPhones, and other smartphones for that matter, saving enough could take a long time.

A more expedient option would be to choose wireless phone insurance. An iPhone protection plan, such as MobileProtect from Asurion, offers comprehensive coverage for the iPhone, covering not only damage, but also loss and theft.

“Nearly 50 percent of claims we see are filed for lost and stolen phones,” said Cindy Christy, Asurion president. “MobileProtect, authorized by AT&T, is the first product to include loss and theft coverage, as well as protection in the event of damage, including water damage, and failure after the warranty expires. Plus, it provides the added convenience of next day replacement in most cases and a 12-month warranty.”

iPhone customers may enroll in MobileProtect anytime up to 30 days after activating their new device. Customers simply visit the App Store, download the Asurion MobileProtect App, click “get started” and follow the guided process. Rather than large up-front fees, MobileProtect customers will be charged $11.99 monthly to their credit card. There is a one-time deductible for each approved claim of $99, $149 or $199, depending on the iPhone model.

To file a claim, MobileProtect subscribers can visit www.MyMobileProtect.com, 24 hours a day, seven days a week to report a lost, stolen, damaged or faulty iPhone.