When you buy a phone in Switzerland, you may well be offered phone insurance – often along with a sales pitch which can make insuring your phone seem like a sensible decision. These insurance products are offered by telecom service providers like Salt, Sunrise and Swisscom, by phone dealers like Mobilezone and by electronics retailers like Digitec and Interdiscount.
Smartphones have become an integral part of life for many Swiss consumers. For many phone users, losing or damaging their phones is anything but negligible. Add to that the fact that some of these little technical marvels now come with extremely high price tags, and getting insurance can seem like a good idea.
moneyland.ch conducted an in-depth analysis and comparison of Swiss mobile phone insurance policies. The analysis accounted for mobile phone insurance policies which are marketed by Digitec, Galaxus, Mobilezone, Salt, Sunrise and Swisscom. These retailers and service providers sell insurance products from third-party insurance companies. The insurance companies which underwrite the policies are AIG Europe Limited, Allianz Global Assistance, AXA, Baloise, Chubb, i-surance and Zurich.
Read the fine print
As with all insurance products, reading the fine print is key. Phone insurance policies have minimum terms of 3 months, 12 months, or no minimum terms at all. Notice periods also vary. Some policies expire after a maximum of 2 years.
There may also be limits on how many claims you may file (a maximum of 2 claims every 2 years, for example). Many policies limit coverage for repairs – to 1500 Swiss francs or 2000 francs, for example.
Deductibles are particularly important. Almost all Swiss mobile phone insurance policies have deductibles. Typically, phone owners must cover anywhere from 30 francs to 120 francs of costs out of their own pocket when they file a claim.
Differences in coverage
Many (but not all) policies cover screen damages and damage resulting from falls, fire, water and humidity. But it is worth taking a closer look at the exact terms and conditions attached to the coverages. For example, the mobile phone insurance offered by Swisscom does not cover damages caused by weather or by wear and tear.
Important: Most Swiss mobile phone insurance policies do not cover the accidental loss of your device. Many also do not cover theft.
Even policies which do include theft insurance have specific terms and conditions attached. For example, some phone insurance policies do not cover theft which occurs when you are not present.
It is also worth noting that if you have household insurance which includes coverage for simple theft away from home, then your phone is already covered against theft.
Insurance against fraudulent use of your phone
This somewhat exotic insurance does not cover your phone itself. Instead, it covers the costs of phone bills resulting from the fraudulent use of your phone by a third party. If your phone is stolen and used to make phone calls or to access the Internet, the insurance will reimburse the resulting costs up to a certain limit. Swiss insurance policies which include this benefit typically have coverage limits of between 2000 francs and 3000 francs.
Many phone insurance policies include coverage for fraudulent phone usage. A deductible generally applies to claims, and you must pay this portion of costs yourself. The deductible is typically between 30 and 120 francs, so this coverage is only useful if a fraudster is able to rack up a significant phone bill before you have your SIM card frozen.
Note: This coverage is included in some household insurance policies.
Phone insurance from Sunrise
Sunrise offers its mobile plan customers optional Smart Protect insurance when they subscribe to mobile plans. Premiums are charged monthly. The insurance covers damages up to 1800 francs, with deductibles for the first claim ranging from 30 to 100 francs. A higher deductible applies to each additional claim.
The minimum insurance term is 3 months, after which the policy can be terminated on a monthly basis. The policy can be extended up to 3 years. Premiums range between 6 and 16 francs per month, depending on the device in question. Coverage for fraudulent phone calls is available via the Call Protect policy which has a premium of 1 franc per month.
Phone insurance from Salt
When you subscribe to a Salt mobile plan, you can choose between two different optional mobile phone insurance policies from i-surance – Salt Care (1 device) and Salt Care Duo (2 devices). This insurance covers up to 2 claims per year, with deductibles ranging between 60 and 120 francs per claim. Fraudulent phone use is covered up to 3000 francs. Screen damages are not insured.
Phone insurance from Swisscom
Swisscom offers insurance for phones and tablets in collaboration with AXA. Screen damages and damage caused by falls are insured, as is fraudulent phone use (up to 2000 francs).
The cost of this insurance varies depending on your device’s catalog price, with premiums ranging between 10 and 15 francs per month. Deductibles range between 70 and 100 francs per claim. Repairs are covered up to a limit of 2000 francs. The minimum insurance term is 1 year.
Phone insurance from Mobilezone
Mobilezone’s mobile phone insurance is underwritten by Zurich Insurance Group. The policy costs 90 francs per year. An 85-franc deductible applies when you make a claim. The policy covers damage caused by water, humidity, falls and short circuits, as well as screen damages. However, coverage is limited to 1 claim per year. The minimum insurance term is 1 year.
Mobilezone offers a different policy underwritten by AIG Europe for iPhones. Monthly premiums vary depending on insurance models.
Most phone insurance policies are overpriced
To cut to the chase, taking out mobile phone insurance does not pay off in many cases. Many policies are overpriced in relation to the prices of phones – most of which have catalog prices of less than 1000 francs.
The fact that most policies have deductibles of between 50 and 120 francs which you must pay out of your own pocket detracts from the overall benefit of insuring your phone, as does the fact that many policies do not cover theft.
Getting your phone repaired – in the case of a damaged screen, for example – may be cheaper than paying one annual phone insurance premium.
Phone insurance is primarily lucrative for mobile phone retailers, salespeople and insurance companies. Some providers pay commissions to phone salespeople when they sell phone insurance policies along with phones or mobile plans.
There are situations in which getting phone insurance with a one-month term can make financial sense – such as when you travel or engage in an activity with a high level of risk of phone damage. In any case, you should carefully review the terms and conditions to make sure that the relevant risks are covered by an insurance before you buy it.
Last updated: October 2018