Almost everyone in Dubai owns a smartphone. And everyone who owns one, is worried about their prized device.

“What if my phone gets stolen?”

“What if my phone gets damaged?”

“What if I lost my phone?”

Questions like these are common and we all are bothered by it. Warranty doesn’t cover all these aspects. Apart from manufacturing defects or software related issues arising due to faulty manufacturing/installations, there’s no way you can get your phone back on track without having to churn some hard cash out of your pockets.

Image appears to be broken

Let’s take a look at the answers related to a very commonly asked question,

“Why should I get a phone insurance?”

Let’s talk about the reasons to get a phone insurance, why phone insurance is necessary and important and how it will benefit you when the need for it arises. But before we get to it, let’s start with the top 5 reasons why phones need insurance cover:

Image appears to be broken

  1. Phone got stolen
    Image appears to be brokenStrict laws against mobile phone thefts and subsequent misuse have been in effect since 2007; phones get stolen anyway, especially in crowded places such as malls, marketplaces, concerts, movie theaters. Most of us are so engrossed in our phones, that we don’t even look around. Most of the thefts occur when people are using their phone and thieves simply snatch the phone and run away.

    Warranty obviously doesn’t cover theft due to us letting our guards down.

  2. Lost and Never Found

    Image appears to be brokenWe are busy people and don’t want any disturbance when working. So we put our phones in the silent mode, and then forget about them. Sometimes, we forget our phones somewhere and then realise that it is nowhere around to be seen. Calling the phone to locate it by hearing the sound of ringing is now futile-the phone is on silent mode. That’s one way of losing it. You may keep the phone in your office and forget to take it home, and then find it missing when you rush back to take it, that’s another.
    Instances like this are no good to convince your warranter and they’ll simply brush it off by saying you were careless.

  3. Phone fell and shattered

    Image appears to be brokenThis is by far the most common way of finding yourself in a situation where you have your phone but can’t use it properly anymore. Mothers complain, that their baby threw it out of the balcony. Working people complain that they dropped it accidentally etc. Looking at the shattered screen breaks our heart, but the warranty wouldn’t do anything cover it. The pain is ours to bear.

  4. Broken Phones

    Image appears to be brokenAlthough this is one is pretty genuine, as a phone doesn’t ‘break’ when facing an impact, at the max its screen shatters. There is no real way why virtue of which a phone would break into pieces; they are built sturdy. But somehow, they end up facing major damage; e.g. camera cracks, or the back panel gets dented etc. Once again, the company wouldn’t trouble itself with warranty claims.

  5. Water Took its Life Away

    Image appears to be brokenThough rains are an uncommon phenomenon in our country, we can still find our phone drenched completely in water. How? You take a dive in the swimming pool, and the phone was still in the pocket of your boxers. The phone is now wet and refusing to start. The warranty is not going to work here either.

All these factors are a big reason why getting a phone insurance becomes necessary. We are all vulnerable to finding our phones in any of these conditions; the warranty that covers the phone from defects doesn’t cover any of these events. Let’s take now take a look at what mobile phone insurance is and how it works:

“A mobile phone insurance is a contract for a limited time with a company to provide a guaranteed compensation for loss or damage to the phone in return for payment of a specified premium.”

This simply means that insurance will help you compensate for a loss that a warranty otherwise wouldn’t even consider. The insurer, in most cases, takes your phone and gets it repaired at a minimal cost to the insurer (keep in mind, this is far less than what you might have to pay should the phone be uninsured) and returns the device with all the necessary repairs done. This typically takes 7-14 working days. There is a small price called ‘deductible’ amount, which is calculated at the end of repair/restore and helps you get your phone repaired for a very low cost.

What’s covered under an insurance?

Insurance covers the following events:

  • Theft of the phone:

    Image appears to be brokenUsually, a specific time period is allotted for the complaint to be raised with the police department and finding the culprit. It is highly advised that you keep the invoice, serial number of your phone and the insurance papers handy when such a situation arises.
    If the phone is found within the time frame, the phone is checked for damages and are repairs, phone is returned after deductibles and etc. are taken care of. If the phone is not found, then the company offers a replacement device or compensation money (rarely money). After the phone has been replaced, the insurance may or may not stand void (do confirm with the insurance company).

  • Lost and never found:

    Image appears to be brokenIn case of loss of phone, the company makes sure the phone is indeed lost and gets the phone blocked permanently from being used again. This is to ensure the phone doesn’t get misused should it fall in the wrong hands. The phone is replaced, and in rare cases where a replacement device cannot be given, the company pays the insured the amount due. After the phone has been replaced, the insurance may or may not stand void (do confirm with the insurance company).

  • Physical damage to the phone:

    Image appears to be brokenAll damage to the phone including damage to the screen, physical damage to battery, body, camera etc. is usually covered under the insurance. The company takes the phone and gets it repaired and depending upon the parts that need to be repaired/replaced, the deductibles are accounted and the phone is handed back to the owner, after all repairs. In case, the phone is damaged behind repairs, replacement option is always there.

  • Water Damage:

    Image appears to be brokenThis is considered a separate damage, as this may or may not affect all the parts of the device. Water can cause short circuits in some places and cause some circuitry to burn and only those parts will be replaced e.g. in case the motherboard has to be replaced, then only motherboard will be replaced, and amount after deductibles are counted is collected. Rest of the compensation process is similar.
    Waterproof phones offer some protection, but even they are not able to keep water out forever.

What is not covered by insurance:

  • Manufacturing Defects:

    Image appears to be brokenManufacturing defects are a liability of the maker of the phone the insurance company doesn’t account itself for any manufacturing defects. In case of manufacturing defects, one should contact the warranty provider. Manufacturing defects can include a faulty camera system or a misplaced body part, that can be identified as a result of faulty assembly process. Any other problem such as a bad battery, or an unresponsive display etc. are covered under warranty, and must be presented to the warrantor of the device (usually the manufacturer).

  • Eventual/Expected Degradation:
    Image appears to be broken
    An eventually degraded phone.

    A phone’s performance degrades eventually. Some parts become unresponsive/slow or the battery life ends and the phone begins to show signs of age. All these are not covered under insurance. Insurance covers the damage done accidentally or by something that is not eventual or normal.

  • Willful Misuse:

    Image appears to be brokenA person deliberately damaging the phone with the intention of gaining insurance claims or to damaging a non-functional part to get it repaired for free is not covered. Companies always take some time to ensure that the damage to phone was indeed accidental and wasn’t intended to exploit the cover given by insurance. For example, A phone that was used for experimenting and was eventually damaged as a result of the experiment is not liable for any compensation.

  • Data/Software issues:

    Image appears to be brokenCorrupted data and/or a bad OS cannot be repaired by the insurance companies. That’s the job of the developers who worked with the manufacturers and designed the software of your phone. These repairs must be performed by them, and must be claimed by warranty. The insurance company will not be able to compensate any software related issues arising due viruses and OS bugs.

  • Tampering with the device:

    Image appears to be brokenBe software or hardware, if the phone has been tampered with, the insurance as well as the warranty will stand null and void. Tampering includes meddling with the phone’s operating system (rooting in case of Android phones & jail breaking in Apple) and/or making changes modifications to the circuitry. Any such change without the knowledge of the insurer renders the contract of insurance void.
    This includes unauthorised repairs by any third-party shops.

  • Recall by manufacturer:

    Image appears to be brokenIn case a device has been found to have a mass defect and is being recalled by the maker, as happened with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, the phone will no more stand entitled to insurance claims.

  • Accessories:

    Image appears to be brokenAccessories that come in the box, i.e. charger, charging/USB cable, earphones, VR sets etc.are not covered by the insurance.

For anything else not covered by insurance please read the insurance document carefully before signing it.

Is an insurance worth it? Will it benefit me?

Phone insurance is a good thing to have. Getting an insurance for the phone is similar to that getting a Takaful. You may not necessarily need it, but it will definitely prove helpful in case the need for it does. Here’s how an insurance will benefit you:

Image appears to be broken

  1. It will bring down the cost of repairs drastically

    While companies charge a hefty amount to replace a broken display panel, an insurance will do it virtually for free. Even after considering the premium plus deductible that you pay, the cost of part replacement far exceeds for a non-insured device compared to an insured one.

  2. Saves money in case of theft or loss

    Purchasing a phone worth 2500 AED, and then losing it is heartbreaking. With insurance, you’ll at least get a replacement device for a sum much smaller than that. Always better to have something instead of nothing.

  3. Saves the risk of incompetent repairs

    Giving your phone out to third party vendors, with no guarantee of proper repairs is as risky a business as it sounds. With an insurance company, you can always claim for a reconsideration of the work as the company is liable to get the work done properly and up to the standards expected by the customer.

Filing claims is easy

Most of the people in our country are not very keen on getting anything insured (they do, by the way) because most of the times, the process of filing claims is tedious and full of formalities that have to be completed. In case of phones, all you need is the broken phone, your copy of the contract, invoice and other papers. Simply take them with you to the nearest office of your insurer and fill up a form. It is that easy.

Image appears to be broken

For stolen and/or lost phones, an additional police complaint will be needed, but that’s pretty much all about it. Your request for filing the claim will start processing immediately and you’ll have your phone back in your hand with all the repairs done within a fortnight. If replacement is needed, that too will be done quickly and you wouldn’t have to wait.

Where to get an insurance for my phone?

Getting a phone insured in UAE is easy. There are many companies as well as banks which offer protection plans from theft and damage for your phones at nominal prices, both in and out of UAE so that you don’t have to worry about your phone’s safety. Common insurance and protection plan providers in UAE.

  • Etisalat communications offers smartphone protection plan to protect phones from theft and accidental damage anywhere in the world.
  • Axiom Damage Protection plan covers all involuntary risks associated with your phone that are not covered by warranty.
  • FGB offered a Gadget Protect plan for some time on similar grounds. Though it is temporarily closed, it may start again anytime soon.
  • SharafDG offers Product insurance & replacement plan, that covers many appliances too; you may get your smartphone insured with SharafDG under this scheme.

Summary

While an insurance may seem like a petty affair looking at it from the outside, it is an important action to be taken by phone owners, not compulsorily but voluntarily. It is important that we look at it in the same way we look at life insurance endowment plans or takaful. It is not necessary but still important to have yourself covered from any risks.

Sure, getting insurance will mean you pay a little more from your pocket, but when the need comes, you’ll end up saving a lot more. Who wants to keep using a brand new phone, not even a year old, with a cracked screen? And if it can be helped, why not help it?

Do your research, find out the best insurers in town, compare and get an insurance done for your phone.