Credit Cards Are Adding Cell Phone Coverage But Benefits Aren’t All The Same

It used to be that just one or two of my credit cards offered any type of coverage for cell phones. When phones were less expensive and U.S. mobile providers were subsidizing the full cost, having insurance on your phone wasn’t viewed as being important. Now that more popular phones cost around or over the $1,000 range, and repair prices vary from $100 for a cracked screen to several hundred dollars for more severe damage, having a policy where you only need to pay a $50 deductible is an appealing option.

Customers were paying for their own coverage but the banks saw an opportunity to differentiate their product by offering Cell Phone Protection as a perk of their cards. Offering this benefit requires paying your cell phone bill with that card, so for the bank this is an excellent way for them to get you to put your recurring cell phone bill onto their card for month after month.

All of the policies offered by banks for cell phone protection share the same terminology. Here’s a refresher of some of the terms you’ll see:

  • Secondary Coverage – You’ll need to exhaust all other coverages you have before you can put in a claim to your credit card. If your homeowners’ policy has coverage, you’ll need to use that first.
  • Limit per loss – The max amount the coverage will pay.
  • Max Coverage limit – The total amount the coverage will pay over a year, taking into account all losses.
  • Deductible – The amount you are responsible for before the coverage will pay anything.
  • Exclusions – Something the policy does not cover

Here’s a quick look at some of the cards that now offer cell phone coverage. Beware that while all cards only provide secondary coverage and have many of the same exclusions, the benefits provided by each card are different.

IHG Rewards Select / IHG Rewards Premier

Starting on November 17, 2019, these cards will start to provide secondary coverage for cell phones.

  • $600 limit per loss for Mastercard World – $800 limit on World Elite
  • $1000 yearly limit
  • $50 deductible per loss
  • Maximum of 2 claims per year
  • Excluded: Cosmetic damage that does not impact the phone’s ability to make or receive phone calls (including minor screen cracks and fractures less than 2 inches in length that do not prevent the ability to make or receive phone calls or to use other features related to making or receiving phone calls);
  • Excluded: Phones that are lost or Mysteriously Disappear

Note the last one. If your phone is stolen, like actually stolen. Not being able to find it or leaving it behind excluded under the “Mysterious Disappearance” clause.

JetBlue Plus / Arrival+

Coverage for these cards started on November 1, 2019.

  • $800 limit per loss
  • $1000 yearly limit
  • $50 deductible per loss
  • Maximum of 2 claims per year
  • Excluded:
    • Phones that are lost or Mysteriously Disappear
    • Phones under the care and control of a common carrier, including, but not limited to, the U.S. Postal Service, airplanes or delivery service
    • Phones Stolen from baggage unless hand-carried and under the Eligible Person’s supervision or under the supervision of the Eligible Person’s traveling companion who is previously known to the Eligible Person
    • Cosmetic damage that does not impact the phone’s ability to make or receive phone calls (including minor screen cracks and fractures less than 2 inches in length that do not prevent the ability to make or receive phone calls or to use other features related to making or receiving phone calls)

Citi Prestige

Cell phone coverage was one of the things added to the Citi Prestige. Unfortunately, the new coverages don’t make up for all of the coverages they removed from the card regarding travel protections.

  • $1000 limit per claim
  • $1500 yearly limit
  • $50 Deductible
    • Excluded:
      • Phones that are lost or Mysteriously Disappear
      • Phones under the care and control of a common carrier, including, but not limited to, the U.S. Postal Service, airplanes or delivery service
      • Phones Stolen from baggage unless hand-carried and under the Eligible Person’s supervision or under the supervision of the Eligible Person’s traveling companion who is previously known to the Eligible Person
      • Cosmetic damage that does not impact the phone’s ability to make or receive phone calls (including minor screen cracks and fractures less than 2 inches in length that do not prevent the ability to make or receive phone calls or to use other features related to making or receiving phone calls)

Chase Ink Business Preferred

The Ink Business Preferred stands alone in the group as the only card where Cell Phone payments are a bonus category. You’ll earn 3x Ultimate Rewards when you pay your bill with this card.

  • $600 limit per claim
  • No Yearly limit
  • $100 deductible
  • Maximum of 3 claims per year
  • Coverage extends to all employees who are listed on the account being paid by the Ink Preferred card
  • Excluded:
    • Phones that are lost or Mysteriously Disappear
    • Phones under the care and control of a common carrier, including, but not limited to, the U.S. Postal Service, airplanes or delivery service
    • Phones Stolen from baggage unless hand-carried and under the Eligible Person’s supervision or under the supervision of the Eligible Person’s traveling companion who is previously known to the Eligible Person
    • Cosmetic damage that does not impact the phone’s ability to make or receive phone calls (including minor screen cracks and fractures less than 2 inches in length that do not prevent the ability to make or receive phone calls or to use other features related to making or receiving phone calls)

Final Thoughts

While the types of damages covered by credit card cell phone protection plans are pretty much the same, the limits and deductibles vary depending on the card. The Ink Preferred offers bonus points and will cover up to three claims in a year but has a higher deductible per claim.

Note that none of the claims will pay if you lose your phone. Oh, and don’t go and just think that you’ll say it was stolen. All of the insurance companies will ask for a police report if you claim your phone was stolen. They also exclude just surface cracks less than 2 inches as long as they don’t prohibit you from using the phone (as a phone). They don’t care about you not being able to swipe while playing Candy Crush.

Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love if you decided to hang around and clicked the button on the top (if you’re on your computer) or the bottom (if you’re on your phone/tablet) of this page to follow our blog and get emailed notifications of when we post (it’s usually about 3 or 4 times a day). Or maybe you’d like to join our Facebook group, where we talk and ask questions about travel (including Disney parks), creative ways to earn frequent flyer miles and hotel points, how to save money on or for your trips, get access to travel articles you may not see otherwise, etc. Whether you’ve read our posts before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!

This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

Leave a Reply