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3 On Your Side: Smartphone Insurance

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jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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By: Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – How closely do you watch over your cell phone?

According to the Federal Trade Commission, almost one out of every three robberies nationwide these days now involves the theft of a mobile phone. Consumers can buy insurance for their smart phones, but 3 On Your Side’s Jim Donovan takes a look to see if it’s really worth it.

Surveillance video captures a their snatching a cell phone right out of an unsuspecting woman’s hand, while she’s in the middle of a conversation.

Police are warning smart phone users to be on guard.

“Think if you took 300 dollars out of the ATM machine, you would not walk down the block for several blocks counting the 20’s,” said San Francisco Police Chief, Greg Suhr.

Experts say with as many as 80 million phones lost, stolen or damaged each year, more and more people are opting to pay for insurance.

When Margaret Laster lost her cell phone after leaving it in a taxi cab it should have cost her $600 for a new one. But with her insurance she only had to shell out about $200.

“Much cheaper than buying a new phone,” said Laster.

Jessica Patel with Bankrate.com com says the insurance makes most sense for people who are prone to losing or breaking their phones or worried about theft.

“The cost usually varies between eight to twelve dollars a month plus a deductible and the deductible could be anywhere from $199 to $50 depending on your provider,” said Patel.

Each wireless provider offers their own insurance plan but all pretty much work the same way. You file a claim, pay the deductible and a phone of equal or greater value will be sent to you.

“They’re going to ask you how it happened was it lost or was it stolen? If it was stolen you’ll need to provide a police report to verify that it was stolen,” said Patel.

So how do you determine whether insuring your smart phone is a smart move?

“You really need to look at the cost of your phone, how much it would be to replace it, how long is your contract for and how far into your contract you are,” said Patel.

As with any insurance policy, be sure to read the fine print before signing up. Often exclusions and limitations apply.

For more information, simply click on the following link:

www.bankrate.com

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