You can protect your new phone against drops, loss, or theft, but is it worth the cost?

When you purchase a new phone in person or online, you'll likely be asked whether or not you want to add optional insurance. T-Mobile offers a comprehensive protection plan called Premium Handset Protection, but is it worth the extra charge on your monthly bill?

What is phone insurance?

Most carriers offer some form of insurance when you purchase a new phone or tablet. This will generally cover you for the unexpected things that happen during the normal use of your phone (lost in an Uber, falls in a toilet, fried processor, etc). You pay a little extra on each monthly phone bill to cover the cost of insurance and then pay a deductible if you have to get a replacement phone.

Insurance is usually offered to you when you're buying a device and some carriers will even let you add it on after a certain length of time after buying a new device (for example, T-Mobile let's you add it on for up to 14 days after you buy your phone).

What is covered on T-Mobile's insurance plan?

T-Mobile's Premium Handset Protection covers you for loss, theft, and accidental damage as well as mechanical or electrical breakdowns (even after the manufacturer's warranty expires).

You are not covered if your device is ruined because you didn't follow manufacturer's maintenance recommendations, if you deliberately ruin your phone, or if you lose your job and can't afford to pay for your phone anymore. You are also not covered for manufacturer's design defects (iPhone 6 bendgate for example).

How much does it cost?

There are two costs associated with your T-Mobile phone insurance: monthly charges to pay for the insurance and device deductible if you're getting a new phone. T-Mobile categorizes phones and tablets in different tiers where Tier 1 devices (basic flip phones) have cheaper fees than Tier 5 devices (latest iPhone).

Monthly Fee

  • Tier 1: $9 (eg. Motorola Flip phone)
  • Tier 2: $9 (eg. Microsoft Lumia 640)
  • Tier 3: $9 (eg. Blackberry Curve)
  • Tier 4: $12 (eg. iPhone SE)
  • Tier 5: $12 (eg. Galaxy S7 Edge)

Device Deductible

  • Tier 1: $20
  • Tier 2: $50
  • Tier 3: $100
  • Tier 4: $150
  • Tier 5: $175

T-Mobile's insurance provider has a comprehensive list so you can check which tier your phone fits in.

Your insurance also covers you for basic accessories that came with your device (charger) as well as your battery and SIM card. You are limited to making two claims a year, but hopefully you're not losing or destroying your phone that often.

Note: T-Mobile doesn't necessarily have to replace your device with a new one. As part of the insurance agreement you may be supplied with a reconditioned phone that will come with a six month warranty.

Device Deductible

You can also enroll in T-Mobile's Jump service which gives you early device upgrade options and rolls in Premium Handset Protection, plus additional features like phone locating services, security software, and backup features.

Should you get it?

There are few events that can trigger the level of anguish, despair, anger, and regret quite like cracking the screen on your phone. If this is an issue for you, T-Mobile's Premium Handset Protection is very good. The monthly cost and device deductible are quite low when compared to the replacement value of a new smartphone or tablet.

$10 a month is a low price for piece of mind if you don't want to worry about the consequences of damaging your brand new phone, so if you've got a little extra cash each month, buying the T-Mobile Premium Handset Protection could be a worthwhile investment.