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Get Cell Phone Insurance Without Paying a Premium (or a Large Deductible)

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency...

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Reviewed byJoel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Mar 30, 2020

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As we wrote about in a previous post, it’s difficult to get affordable insurance coverage for your expensive iPhone (or any smartphone) because the deductible is often too high to justify filing a claim.

After all, why pay $500 in deductibles to replace a $600 phone? Why not just get a new one?

Additionally, the insurance claim will show up on your CLUE report, which can increase your homeowner’s insurance rate for years to come. So effectively, you’ll pay even more than the cost of the phone.

In other words, it most cases your best move is to bite the bullet and pay for a new phone, or sign up for some sort of smartphone insurance plan that is expensive and not ideal.

Wells Fargo Offers Free Cell Phone Protection

Instead of that, why not simply pay your monthly cell phone bill with a Wells Fargo credit card and get automatic cellular telephone protection for free?

A little known perk tied to Wells Fargo credit cards is this complimentary coverage. And Wells Fargo actually has some decent credit cards nowadays now that they’ve been expanding their offerings.

For most people with an existing Wells Fargo bank account, you likely have a Wells Fargo credit card attached (that they basically forced you to open at the outset) that you never use.

Here’s a reason to finally use it!

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How the Coverage Works

As long as you pay your monthly smartphone bill with an eligible Wells Fargo consumer credit card, you’ll get up to $600 in cell phone protection, subject to a very reasonable $25 deductible.

Wells Fargo recommends that you set up automatic recurring payments via your WF credit card, but it’s not a requirement to gain the coverage.

Just make sure you’re paying the bill with a Wells credit card because you’ll need to provide that if and when you file a claim.

For the record, this coverage is only good for damage and theft to the phone – coverage does not apply if the phone is lost or “mysteriously disappears.” So no funny business folks.

To file a claim, you need to give notice within sixty days of damage or theft by calling the benefit administrator at 866-804-4770.

Within 90 days, you must complete and return a signed claim form with all requested documentation.

They say under normal circumstances you’ll get reimbursement (in the form of a new cell phone or repair of your existing one) within 10 business days.

Like other insurance policies, there are a number of exclusions you should know about, which you can read about here. For example, phones stolen from construction sites aren’t covered, nor are phones stolen from checked baggage if traveling.

Additionally, you can only file a maximum of two claims per 12-month period, which seems like plenty if you ask me. That’s up to $600 x2, or up to $1,200 per year.

The good news is that this coverage can extend to four phones, including the primary and up to three additional lines.

This coverage becomes effective beginning on the first day of the calendar month following the
payment of your cell phone bill using an eligible Wells Fargo credit card.

This Coverage Is Secondary!

Just note that Wells Fargo’s Cellular Telephone Protection is “supplemental to and excess of valid and collectible insurance or indemnity,” meaning your homeowner’s, renter’s, auto, or employer’s insurance policies must be exhausted first.

So basically this coverage is good for a renter who doesn’t have a renters insurance policy, which is probably a ton of young adults with expensive smartphones who never bothered even considering renters insurance.

One final thing I should note is that coverage doesn’t apply if the phone is rented, leased or borrowed or part of a pre-paid plan. I don’t know what Wells Fargo means by pre-paid plan because many, many phones are subsidized upon purchase, though some are actually paid monthly on an ongoing basis.

Perhaps the latter category is excluded, and not the former.

Of course, you should probably run your scenario by Wells Fargo first to see if you’re covered before paying your smartphone bill with a Wells Fargo credit card (or opening a new card). But hey, the coverage is free, and with a mere $25 deductible, you don’t have much to lose.

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