Consumer experts are nearly unanimous in their disdain for cell phone insurance. Only about 20 percent of us claim that we have ever lost a phone, had one stolen, or damaged it. From Consumer Reports on down, experts say "save your money; don't buy it."
But in a WCCO TV report that aired Monday, I describe several types of people who may want to consider insurance, the klutz, the budget buster and the person living with small children and pets with a destructive streak.
But the point I want to make here which is mentioned briefly in the WCCO report is that the cheapest insurer for a cell phone probably isn't Asurion or Square Trade---it might be your homeowner's insurance company.
Some but not all insurance companies will let you schedule a cell phone as a personal article on your homeowner's policy, just as a person might schedule jewelry. But check with your agent first, because not all insurance companies allow it, said Eric Rongstad at RIG Metro in Golden Valley. State Auto and Auto Owners will schedule a cell phone for $20 to $35 per year for a $500 phone and zero deductible. That's a lot cheaper than most cell phone insurance which usually runs about $120 to $168 per year with a high deductible.
But many of insurance companies won't cover cell phones, including Allstate, Travelers and Western National. But ask your agent if he or she thinks it's a good idea to cover a cell phone on homeowner's insurance.
Why might it be a bad idea?
In Minnesota, the state commerce guidelines allow an insurance company to cancel a policy that has two non-weather related claims in three years. So if you're a bit accident-prone with your cell phone and you make two claims for reimbursement within two years, your insurance company can cancel your policy. If you make a claim due to wind or hail damage and another to replace a damaged cell phone, you're still in good with your insurance company as long as you have no more non-weather related claims for three years.
If you've insured a cell phone through homeowner's insurance, what's been your experience?