How to insure your device on AT&T

When you're buying a new AT&T phone in store or online, you're going to be asked whether you want to buy optional insurance. They're probably going to try to up sell you on the beefier Mobile Protection Plan, but do you really need it? Let's dive in!

What is phone insurance?

Phone insurance exists to provide you peace of mind when purchasing a brand new phone. Most major carriers offer some form of optional insurance that will protect you in the case that your phone is lost, stolen or damaged beyond repair — say in a freak snow blower accident.

With your phone insured, you'll rest soundly knowing that if anything were to happen to your phone, you can get a replacement for a fraction of the cost of a brand new phone. All you pay is the deductible, along with the monthly fee associated with the insurance plan.

What is covered on AT&T's Mobile Insurance plans?

AT&T provides customers with a pretty comprehensive insurance plan that covers loss, theft and accidental physical damage to your phone. There's also your AT&T wireless home phone, tablet or laptop if you opt for their Multiple Device Protection Plan as well. We'll get to that plan further down, but first, let's look at what's included in the basic AT&T Mobile Insurance coverage.

AT&T Mobile Insurance

For $7.99 a month, AT&T will insure your device against loss, theft, out-of-warranty malfunction, and/or accidental physical damage, which includes liquid damage. So if you've got a toddler who might be curious to know if your phone floats in the toilet, you're going to want that protection.

AT&T covers the wireless device itself, the battery, the standard battery charger and SIM card, as well as one of the following applicable accessories depending on the situation: carrying case, car charger adapter and a "standard wired earpiece", which we figure probably means the headphones that came with your phone.

AT&T offers next-day delivery for replacement claims processed before 6 p.m. EST to anywhere in the continental U.S. (sorry Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands). And you're covered for up to two claims per 12 month period, up to a total of $1500 per occurrence.

AT&T Mobile Protection Plan

For $10.99 a month, you can get all the coverage provided in the standard AT&T Mobile Insurance plan, as well as an extra layer of protection and features that aim to make life with your phone that much easier.

You're granted access to AT&T ProTech support via the AT&T Protect Plus app, which connects you with a technology expert who can walk you through set-up and troubleshooting issues and answer questions you have regarding your phone. They're even able to offer remote support, where with your permission the ProTech expert can remotely log into your device to diagnose and fix any problems for you. This service is available Monday to Friday (8 a.m. to 12 a.m. EST) and on weekends (10 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST), but if your phone goes bump in the night, the app gives you 24/7 access to a slew of online tutorials as well. The app also includes cloud backup for your photos, videos and contacts over the AT&T network or Wi-Fi, as well as a Find My Phone feature. Services you may already have, but redundancy isn't necessarily a bad thing.

AT&T Multiple Device Protection Plan

This is the full-on insurance plan that includes everything included in the AT&T Mobile Protection Plan and extends it to cover up to three eligible devices. That means you can get insurance for your phone as well as your tablet and/or laptop — whether or not they are associated with your AT&T account. You're able to submit up to six claims in a 12 month period for $29.99, plus the payment of the deductible associated with your device.

How much does it cost?

There are two costs associated with AT&T's device insurance plans: monthly fees, which we briefly mentioned above, and the deductible you are responsible for paying when you make a claim to repair/replace your device.

Monthly fees

  • AT&T Mobile Insurance: $7.99
  • AT&T Mobile Protection Plan: $10.99
  • AT&T Multiple Device Protection Plan: $29.99

Device deductibles

As of March 1, 2016, AT&T has changed the deductible pricing guide from a three-tier system to a five-tier system — technically a four-tier system, as there are no devices eligible for Tier A as of April 2016. What's more, AT&T offers declining deductibles. You'll save 25% on your claim deductible if you go claim-free for six to twelve months, and 50% if you go claim-free for over a full year.

  • Tier A (No eligible devices)

    • $25 — Standard deductible
    • $18 — After 6-12 months
    • $12 — After a full year
  • Tier B (Low-end/older phones e.g. LG G3 Vigor or Motorola flip phones)

    • $50 — Standard deductible
    • $37 — After 6-12 months
    • $25 — After a full year
  • Tier C (first wave of 4G devices e.g. Samsung Infuse 4G, Sony Xperia Ion)

    • $125 — Standard deductible
    • $93 — After 6-12 months
    • $62 — After a full year
  • Tier D (Flagship and newer phones e.g. Samsung Galaxy S7)

    • $199 — Standard deductible
    • $149 — After 6-12 months
    • $99 — After a full year
  • Tier E (currently only for laptop replacements)

    • $299 — Standard deductible
    • $249 — After 6-12 months
    • $199 — After a full year

Click here for a full list of eligible devices.

Should I get it?

Considering that even the Samsung Galaxy S3 is in the same tier as the recently released Samsung Galaxy S7, it really depends on the device you're planning to insure, as a $199 deductible on a brand new S7 is a great deal, but for the S3? You could just buy a brand new S3 on Amazon without paying AT&T monthly (or maybe it's time to upgrade, huh?).

If you've just got the one device you want to insure, go with the basic Mobile Insurance. Reading recent reviews for the ProTech Plus app in both the Google Play and iTunes stores, it's majorly buggy and probably not worth your time, money, or the headaches it will inevitably cause.

Plus, there are so many articles and other resources online (and on this site alone) to find free help for any device-specific questions you have, that chances are that app and all of it's features will end up acting as bloatware. Ain't nobody got time for that.

But if you're the type of person who's got a phone, tablet and laptop, and uses them all fairly regularly, having that added insurance on those expensive devices might be worth it. We also enjoy the fact that you don't need to have your tablet or laptop associated with your AT&T account to have them covered, which is real nice. But at $29.99 a month (or $360 a year), it might end up costing you more in the long run than just being responsible and taking good care of your devices.

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