When buying a smartphone or other mobile device in Switzerland, you will probably find yourself being offered mobile phone insurance. Telecoms companies like Salt, Sunrise and Swisscom, phone dealers like Mobilezone and electronics stores like Interdiscount, Fust and Digitec all distribute mobile phone insurance.
Mobile devices are becoming increasingly important. Smartphones are now an almost indispensable part of life for many Swiss residents. For many people, losing or damaging their phone can be a disaster of crisis proportions. Then there’s the fact that ever more expensive makes of these little technological marvels are finding their way into users’ pockets. So why wouldn’t you get your phone insured?
Sunrise: Smart Protect
When you sign up for a Sunrise mobile contract, you can add the “Smart Protect” phone insurance as an optional extra. You pay a monthly premium of CHF 13. This policy extends your phone’s warranty by 3 years. It provides up to CHF 1500 of coverage for repairs, or phone replacement in the case of a write-off. A deductible of 60 francs applies when you make a claim (100 francs for the second claim). The minimum insurance term is 3 months, after which you can terminate your policy on a month-by-month basis.
For an additional CHF 1 per month, you can add the “Call Protect” option, which also protects you from costs resulting from unauthorized usage (if your phone is stolen, for example).
Salt: Relax and Relax Plus
When you sign up for a Salt contract, you can choose between two mobile phone insurance policies from AIG: “Relax” for CHF 10 per month and “Relax Plus” for CHF 15 per month. The coverage you get is similar to that provided by Sunrise, but also includes a “fast repair” benefit and coverage for unauthorized phone usage. Relax Plus adds a 3-year warranty extension and theft insurance. Both policies have a CHF 50 deductible and allow for up to 2 claims per year.
Swisscom: Mobile phone and tablet insurance
Swisscom’s mobile phone insurance is underwritten by AXA Winterthur and covers phones and tablets. Breakage and screen damage are insured, as are the costs of unauthorized phone usage (up to a maximum of CHF 2000). Depending on the retail price of the device (without subscription discounts), premiums range between CHF 69 (retail price up to CHF 299.95) to CHF 159 (for a phone priced between CHF 900 and CHF 2000). The longest insurance term available is 24 months. A CHF 50 deductible applies to each claim.
Mobile zone: Protect Clever
The Mobilezone insurance issued by Helvetic Warranty costs CHF 90 for a 1-year policy. An CHF 85 per-claim deductible applies. The policy covers damages caused by water or humidity, as well as screen damage, breakage and damage caused by short-circuits. Only 1 claim per year is allowed.
Mobile phone insurance: read the fine print
As with most insurance, the fine print is the deciding factor. It’s important to note that Swiss mobile phone insurance does not protect you when you simply lose your device. More surprisingly, most insurance policies don’t even cover theft – with the exceptions of the “Relax Plus” policy from Salt.
Even when a policy includes theft coverage, you still need to take a closer look at what’s really covered. For example, Salt’s Relax Plus does not cover theft if you are not present when your phone is stolen.
You should also note that, if you have a household insurance policy with simple theft away from home coverage, then your phone is already insured against theft.
Typically, screen damage, breakage and water damages are also covered by a phone insurance policy. But here too, it pays to read the fine print. The mobile phone insurance from Swisscom, for example, does not cover damages resulting from cleaning or from regular wear and tear.
Insurance for unauthorized usage
The coverage for unauthorized use of your device by a third-party stands out because it does not insure your device itself. If someone were to steal your phone and use it to browse the internet or make long-distance phone calls, you will be reimbursed for the cost of these services, up to the sum insured. On Swiss insurance policies, the maximum coverage you can get ranges between CHF 1500 and CHF 3000.
Most mobile phone insurance policies include coverage for unauthorized use. But most require that you pay a deductible for unauthorized usage claims. Because deductibles are often as high as CHF 50 or CHF 60, this coverage is rarely helpful. What’s more important is that you have your SIM card frozen as soon as you realize that your device is missing.
Mobile phone insurance: it’s usually overpriced
To cut to the chase: mobile phone insurance usually is not worth it. Most policies for devices worth less than 1000 francs are somewhat overpriced.
Additionally, most policies have a deductible of at least CHF 50, and hazards like theft often aren’t covered.
Having your phone repaired – in the case of a cracked screen, for example – is often cheaper than paying an annual premium for mobile phone insurance.
Mobile phone insurance primarily benefits telecoms providers, phone retailers and insurance companies. In some cases, the phone salesperson receives a commission when they sell an insurance policy along with a mobile phone.
The one situation in which a mobile phone policy can actually pay off is when, for example, you go on a particularly adventurous vacation or temporarily engage in an activity that puts your phone at risk. In this case, getting a short-term policy on a monthly basis may be worth it. Just make sure to check ahead of time whether or not the possible risks are covered by the policy.
The moneyland.ch team, August 2016