Is Free Cell Phone Replacement Possible Under Insurance Plans?

Makau asks:

Can carrier networks like Airtel, Vodafone and others offer a free phone replacement when my phone is lost or stolen? I have already lost an Apple iPhone 4S, a Samsung Galaxy S3 in two years. Now I want to know if I can get back these lost devices through my network operator at no additional cost?


Yes, it is possible to get mobile phones replaced for free. However, this is a broad topic. There are so many network carriers out there — Verizon, Rogers, AT&T — and so many mobile insurance plans that you have to research. For example, as mentioned in our Vodafone phone insurance guide, carrier networks like Vodafone offers mobile replacement only if you are willing to subscribe to their $11 monthly plan called Vodafone Cover Me.

Even carrier networks like AT&T offer phone replacement if you have insured it successfully.

Rogers offers a “Handset Protection Guarantee” program where you can exchange your damaged or defective phone (should not be more than 15 days old) with a new mobile for free. There is also anti-theft support that helps you protect your phone from all kinds of issues.

Verizon Wirelesss does not officially offer any insurance plans. There is, however, a Total Equipment Coverage costing $3 and $8 that offers replacement of your phone. It’s worth noting that Verizon offers the cheapest mobile insurance plans out there and it offers everything you possible want — even if your phone is lost, stolen or damaged, you can get it replaced.

It’s important to understand that insurance plans must be purchased prior to losing any handset. So, let’s say, if you have an Vodafone iPhone you have lost recently. You can’t visit the Vodafone store and claim for handset replacement. No carrier network will agree to replace your phone if you haven’t subscribed to their insurance plan. This is because the company has to pay from their own pockets.

Imagine if you buy a $99 iPhone under contract. In a week you lose this week and head over to Vodafone store. Then you will register for the insurance plan to get a new iPhone. Ultimately, you had to pay $11 to get a new phone back. This isn’t how Vodafone’s insurance policy works — in fact, none of the companies follow such simple rules.

Even if the phone is defective, of the battery stops working, technically none of the carrier networks will giveaway a brand new phone — smartphone or basic handset — without a second thought. So, if you think you can get back your lost iPhone 4S and Galaxy S3 without insurance then you are wrong. Vodafone charges you, sometimes as more as $225, for replacing a cell phone. Read more: Vodafone mobile replacement details.

Next time, however, when you buy a new phone you can always subscribe to an mobile insurance plan.

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