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Dropping your phone is never a pleasant experience, especially if you lack a case, screen protector and/or phone insurance.
Phones already cost so much — newer Apple, Samsung and Google models cost upwards of $1,000 — making repairs an expense you don't want to deal with. However, Americans spent $3.4 billion to replace more than 50 million cracked smartphone screens in 2018, according to a SquareTrade study.
The cost to replace a screen is steep, especially if you opted-out of insurance with your phone provider. For instance, it costs $329 to replace the screen on an iPhone 11 Pro Max that's out of warranty.
But there's a way you can avoid paying steep costs for damage to or theft of your phone — simply pay for your monthly cell phone bill with an eligible credit card that offers a cell phone protection plan. While this benefit has become increasingly popular among card issuers, it's still not common, making it something to look for when you choose your next card.
Here's what you need to know about credit card cell phone protection plans:
- How to get coverage: Pay for your monthly cell phone bill with an eligible card.
- Who's covered: Typically the primary cell phone line and any additional lines on the same plan.
- What's covered: Accidental damage that causes your phone to be less functional (such as dropping your phone) and theft.
- What's typically not covered: Lost phones, cosmetic damage (such as a scratch or damage that doesn't impact the phone's ability to operate), electronic issues (such as inability to charge), cell phone accessories, mechanical, software or battery failure and prepaid phones.
- Your out-of-pocket cost: Many plans require you to pay a fee (aka deductible) around $25 to $100 before your card's insurance takes effect. Your card's insurance is also secondary to any other cell phone insurance you already pay for.
Card issuers and card networks continue to join the trend of including cell phone protection with their credit cards, but it's still not widespread. Mastercard started offering coverage last year on World and World Elite cards (which are its mid- and top-tier cards with premium perks), but it's still up to the issuer to decide if the card provides it.
We've rounded up eight specific cards and the two types of Mastercards that offer cell phone protection and list the key terms below.
Information about the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card, Citi Prestige® Card, Wells Fargo Cash Back College℠ Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuers of the cards prior to publication.
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