Saturday, February 23, 2013

Consider an insurance cover for your smartphone

By SAM WAMBUGU

We no longer use our mobile phones just to make calls – we now use our smartphones for email, social networking, maps and games, or even as diaries.

Phones have become basic human needs.

A World Bank report published in The Economist noted that people will skip a meal or choose to walk instead of paying for a bus fare so that they can keep their phone in credit.

But as the cost of these devices has increased dramatically, losing or damaging your phone can be an expensive problem and could take time to replace.

Phones are fragile creatures, highly susceptible to breakage; hence the need to insure them.

Besides, we are always carrying the phones everywhere we go, therefore increasing their chances of damage or loss.

Cellphone insurance coverage is an excellent option particularly for those who purchase expensive phones or those who have had problem in the past with damaged, lost or stolen cellphones.

While most cellphones come with a manufacturer’s warranty, these warranties typically only cover defects in the phone that is caused by the actual phone and only last for a few months, mostly six.

If your phone has outlived its manufacturer’s warranty, cellphone insurance can help to ensure that you are completely covered should something happen to your phone after this warranty has run out and usually this is at a small fee compared to the price of the phone.

This insurance is designed to offer protection for your phone against such things as damage, loss or theft.

Your cellphone insurance policy will outline just what is covered in that particular policy.

Generally, damage to your cell phone by dropping, hitting or other means is covered as is having your phone lost or stolen.

Be certain that you know exactly what is covered in your phone policy before you sign the dotted line.

Many individuals have purchased cellphone insurance only to learn that certain things are not covered.

This can lead to you being forced to purchase a new cellphone out of pocket.

When you have cellphone insurance, you should receive a replacement phone or even a cash payment that you can use to purchase a new phone, depending on your insurance company and your individual policy.

Generally speaking, these warranties protect you against defective hardware – your phone dies unexpectedly, for instance theft, breakage, fire, and other mishaps are rarely covered under a warranty, if ever.

It is important to understand that there is a major difference between cellphone insurance and a manufacturer’s warranty that typically comes with the purchase of a new cellphone.

Although many warranties cover the phone for up to a year, these warranties are often very limited in just what they will cover.

If you have to send your phone in for a manufacturer’s defect, you will need the original box and all the paperwork that you received when you first purchased the phone.

Sometimes your home insurance policy could cover your electronics including phones from a break-in at home but it probably doesn’t stretch to covering you if your electronic is stolen while you are using it away from the house.

However, on some insurance policies you can add this sort of insurance protection as an option for an additional fee.

It is well worth considering, as the extra fee is likely to be a lot less than the cost of buying a new phone should yours be stolen.

Buying an insurance cover for phones, laptops, tablets and other portable electronics is a wise idea especially given the many reported cases of loss of those devices.

Sam Wambugu is a monitoring and evaluation specialist. Email: samwambugu@gmail.com

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