Cellphones can cost a pretty penny — not just in plans, but in repairs and replacements. In fact, more than 5,000 cellphone screens get cracked per hour according to Omoton.
If you’re one of the many who have experienced the horror of watching your cellphone slip from your fingers, you’ll want to cover your bases in case it’s ever stolen or severely damaged again. (Although we certainly hope there isn’t a next time.)
But you don’t necessarily need to fork over for insurance with your phone carrier. Rather, did you know that some credit cards come with complimentary cellphone insurance? To qualify, you just need to charge your monthly cellphone bill to your credit card. Then, if you ever need to replace or repair your phone, cellphone protection can reimburse you for a great chunk of these costs, saving you potentially hundreds of dollars.
In this guide, we’ll discuss what exactly credit card cellphone protection covers and the five best credit cards on the market that come with this valuable insurance policy.
What is cellphone protection?
Most people aren’t aware that many credit cards come with a library of complimentary protections. For example, it’s pretty standard for many of the top travel cards to be equipped with travel insurance or rental car coverage. And most rewards credit cards come with extended warranty or purchase protection that can act as a safeguard for expensive items you buy with the card.
With credit card cellphone protection, rather than purchasing cellphone insurance through your cellular network or retailer, you can get it directly through your card and at no extra charge. (Assuming, of course, that you have a card that offers it.)
Coverage will depend on the card you carry, but most will offer anywhere from $600 to $1,000 per claim, and you’re usually capped at two claims annually. There’s also a deductible you’ll need to pay, usually around $25 to $100 — but that amount pales in comparison when you’re getting reimbursed for hundreds of dollars.
To be eligible, you must charge your monthly cellphone bill to the card that offers this benefit; otherwise, you won’t be eligible to file a claim. And like with any insurance policy, certain exclusions will apply.
What cellphone protection covers
Cellphone protection will provide reimbursement when your device is stolen or damaged, whether that’s a cracked screen, water damage, or other serious harm to the device.
Note that if you’re filing a claim due to theft, you will likely need to file a police claim in order to provide supporting documentation to the benefits manager.
What cellphone protection doesn’t cover
On the flip side, there are exclusions to be wary of. The biggest one? If you lose your phone entirely. Because there’s no paper trail (like a theft report to the police), most issuers will exclude loss as a permissible reason to file a cellphone protection claim.
Your specific cardholder benefits guide will provide more details, but here are some other general no-gos when it comes to credit card cellphone protection:
- Minor cosmetic damage, like scratches or scuffs
- Cellphones that are rented, borrowed, or received as part of a prepaid plan
- Electronic issues related to the software of the device
- Taxes and fees associated with the services provided
Because of these exclusions, some cardholders may opt to purchase a more protective plan that can cover things like loss or minor cosmetic damage. But for many people, complimentary cellphone protection can be adequate.
Finally, time is of the essence when it comes to cellphone protection. You’ll most likely need to file your claim in a given timeframe, usually within 90 days of damage, and even within 48 hours of filing a police claim if your phone is stolen.
Best credit cards for cellphone insurance
If you’re thinking about applying for a credit card with cellphone protection, consider one of these five options:
- Capital One Venture X Rewards Card – Best for frequent travelers
- Chase Freedom FlexSM – Best for earning cash back
- Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card – Best for entrepreneurs and small business owners
- Bilt Rewards Mastercard® – Best for those who pay rent
- The Platinum Card® from American Express – Best for luxury-seekers
What We Like:
10x miles on hotels and rental cars, and 5x on flights when booked via Capital One Travel, and 2x on all other purchases.
75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel
If you travel often, your cellphone is likely your best friend as you’re getting around a new city or navigating foreign languages. The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offers cellphone protection that covers damage and theft.
While the card comes with a steep $395 annual fee, it’s one of the best cards on the market for road warriors, as it offers unlimited access to 1,400+ airport lounges worldwide (including Capital One Lounges and their Partner Lounge Network), an annual $300 travel statement credit, a swath of travel insurance perks, and more.
What We Like:
Awesome $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Earn 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards® and on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter, plus earn 1% on all other purchases.
0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 19.24% – 27.99%.
- Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
- 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
- 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
- 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 19.24% - 27.99%.
- No annual fee - You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom FlexSM card
- Keep tabs on your credit health - Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more.
With the Chase Freedom Flex℠’s cellphone coverage plan, you’ll get up to $800 per claim (or up to $1,000 per year) if your phone is stolen or damaged. There’s a maximum of two claims per 12-month period, and you’re responsible to pay a $50 deductible per claim.
This popular cash back card comes with no annual fee but can be just as rewarding as some of the top rewards cards on the market, with 5% back in rotating bonus categories each quarter and travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
Read more: Chase Freedom Flex℠ review
What We Like:
100,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 in the first three months (Worth $1,250 in travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®)
3 points earned per $1 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
No foreign transaction fees
- Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
- With Fraud Protection your card transactions will be monitored for possible signs of fraudulent activity using real-time fraud monitoring
- With Zero Liability you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information
- Redeem points for cash back, gift cards, travel and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
- Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Purchase Protection covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.
Small business owners, self-employed individuals, or freelancers should take a serious look at Chase’s Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. It offers comprehensive travel and purchase coverage, as well as cellphone protection with a high coverage amount.
Cardholders can receive up to $1,000 per claim against theft or damage for you and your employees listed on your monthly cellphone bill. Moreover, you can file up to three claims in a 12-month period, but note that there’s a higher $100 deductible per claim.
At just $95 per year, this credit card will help you maximize your business expenses and save up points toward future travel, cash back, and a whole other array of redemption options through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal.
Read more: Chase Ink Business Preferred® Card review
Bilt Rewards Mastercard®
The new Bilt Rewards Mastercard® issued by Wells Fargo is a no-annual-fee card that comes with cellphone protection. We particularly like this card as there’s a low $25 deductible, and you can get up to $800 of coverage against damage or theft. The maximum number of claims you can file is pretty standard, with up to two per 12-month period.
Beyond cellphone protection, another unique offering of the Bilt Rewards Mastercard® is that you can earn points on rent for no additional fees, on top of other bonus categories including dining and travel. It’s virtually a no-brainer if you’re among the 50+ million renters in the U.S.
Read more: Bilt Rewards Mastercard® review
The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express is an iconic card that symbolizes luxury for many. It comes with a lengthy list of benefits that can make the $695 annual fee worth it, depending on the type of lifestyle you lead.
Cellphone protection is one of those sweet perks, and the card covers stolen or damaged devices. The maximum liability is $800 per claim, with a maximum of two claims per 12-month period, and a standard $50 deductible applies.
It’s worth noting that this coverage is offered exclusively on some of American Express’s top credit cards, so there may be other cards from Amex that you want to consider as well.
Read more: Are Amex cards worth it?
How to file a cellphone protection claim
If you’re ready to file a claim, the first thing you should do is reference your benefits guide. You can typically find this information online in your account if you don’t have a physical copy with you.
This benefits guide is important to reference as it offers a list of the necessary documentation you’ll need to gather, such as proof that you paid your monthly bill with that card, repair estimates, and more. It’ll also tell you, in detail, what your cellphone protection covers — or doesn’t cover.
Then, you’ll need to reach out to the claims manager via phone or email. They’ll ask you a series of questions or require you to fill out a form to make sure you qualify. The process may take several weeks (or longer), but it’s absolutely worth it when hundreds of dollars are on the line.
In this digital age, it’s beneficial to carry a credit card that offers cellphone protection. Even if it’s an underutilized perk, it is arguably one of the most valuable ones available to cardholders.
Just be sure to charge your cellphone bill to the right card, and you’ll be automatically covered by the plan.
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