Credit cards are known to come with a large variety of perks and benefits that can be of great value for consumers in many different situations. This may include trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance, purchase protection, fraud protection, roadside assistance, and much more. One benefit you may not see as often, though, is cards that offer cell phone protection.
Whether we like it, our cell phones, smartphones, and mobile devices have become an integral part of our lives. In fact, according to a recent Deloitte survey, smartphones are the preferred device for checking bank balances, playing games, taking photos, reading the news, and watching short videos.
And in a day and age in which popular smartphone brands such as Apple and Samsung are listing their newest offerings for about $1,000 (iPhone 12 Pro and Galaxy S20 5G), it’s more important than ever to make sure an asset as valuable as your cell phone is protected.
To learn more about the basics of cell phone protection, why it’s essential you have it, and which cards come with it for free, continue reading below.
How cell phone protection works
Cell phone protection is one of the benefits you might find offered by some credit card issuers. Cell phone coverage can sometimes be confused with other similar benefits, such as Chase purchase protection, which is commonly found on many Chase credit cards. Purchase protection gives you the benefit of having any new purchases covered for a certain amount of days—normally against damage or theft and up to a specified amount per claim and account. Cell phone protection or insurance, on the other hand, is focused on protecting just your cell phone.
With cell phone protection, there is no time frame restriction like with purchase protection. Instead, a common requirement to qualify for a claim is that you have to be paying your monthly cell phone service bill with the credit card that provides the coverage. So, if you want to take advantage of the Wells Fargo Propel’s cell phone coverage, you need to have been paying your monthly bill payment with your Wells Fargo Propel.
If you meet that requirement, then your phone, as well as any other phones listed on your cell phone bill, would be eligible for the claims process on any covered theft or damage. Quite often, you’ll find that credit cards with this benefit have a limit on how many claims you can make in a 12-month period or a limit on how much money you can be reimbursed for in that same amount of time. There is also usually a deductible that may range from $25 to more than $100. That’s the amount you pay before the cell phone insurance kicks in.
Keep in mind that credit cards with cell phone protection will normally consider their coverage as supplemental or secondary. That means if you already have primary phone coverage through a service such as AppleCare+, Asurion, or SquareTrade, then that coverage would go into effect before your credit card coverage. Knowing this, you might be able to save some money on phone insurance by skipping the primary coverage completely and relying just on your credit card cell phone insurance.
In addition, insurance policies vary by credit card company and even from card to card within any given company. So it's always a smart practice to read the terms and conditions of your card's coverage so you know if you need to file a police report and what sort of damage is covered. For example, some protection plans will cover cosmetic damage while others will not.
7 best credit cards with cell phone protection
Although there are no longer many credit cards available with the benefit of cell phone protection, you can still find a select few. Even better, these are rewards credit cards that will pay you in cashback rewards or points and miles on your purchases. Plus, these all come with a lot of other cool features and card benefits that could be valuable for you as well.
|Card name||Welcome bonus||Earnings rate||Annual fee|
|Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card||Earn 100,000 points after spending $15,000 in the first 3 months||5X points on Lyft rides; 3X points on the first $150,000 spent each year on travel, shipping, internet, cable, or phone services, and advertising purchases with social media and search engines; and 1X points per $1 on everything else||$95|
|Chase Freedom Flex||Earn $200 cash back after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months||5% on rotating quarterly categories (on up to $1,500 spent) and travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal; 3% at restaurants (including takeout and delivery) and drugstores; and 1% on all other purchases||$0|
|The Platinum Card from American Express||Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first 6 months, plus 10X points on purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets for first 6 months (on up to $15,000 combined)||5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare and hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases||$550|
|Citi Prestige||Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within 3 months of account opening||5X points on airline purchases and at restaurants; 3X points on hotels and cruise lines; and 1X points on all other purchases||$495|
|IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card||Earn 125,000 points plus a Reward Night after spending $3,000 in the first three months||25X points per $1 spent on stays at IHG hotels and resorts; 2X points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; and 1X points on other purchases||$89|
|Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card||Earn 20,000 points when you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months||3X points on eligible dining, transportation, travel, and streaming service purchases; and 1X points on other purchases||$0|
|U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card||0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 20 months||N/A||$0|
Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
With the Chase Ink Business Preferred, the cell phone protection benefit covers up to $600 per claim on any covered theft or damage. This coverage applies to you and any employees listed on a cell phone bill that is paid for by this card. You can file a maximum of three claims in a 12-month period and you must pay a $100 deductible per claim.
As one of the best business credit cards out there, the Chase Ink Business Preferred has many other built-in benefits, such as auto rental collision damage waiver, extended warranty protection, no foreign transaction fees, and employee cards at no additional cost.
In addition to the potential welcome bonus of 100,000 points, you can also earn 5X points on Lyft rides; 3X points on the first $150,000 spent each year on travel, shipping, internet, cable, or phone services, and advertising purchases with social media and search engines; and 1X points per $1 on everything else.
Chase Freedom Flex
The Chase Freedom Flex offers many benefits found on multiple Chase credit cards, including purchase protection, extended warranty protection, auto rental collision damage waiver, and trip cancellation/interruption insurance.
But most Chase cards, and credit cards in general, don’t also include cellphone protection. As a World Elite Mastercard, the Freedom Flex provides protection against theft or damage for phones attached to a monthly cellphone bill you pay in full with this card. You get up to $800 per claim and up to $1,000 total per year. Each claim is subject to a $50 deductible and you’re limited to two claims per 12-month period.
The Freedom Flex offers a sign-up bonus of $200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months after account opening. You can also earn 5% on rotating quarterly categories (on up to $1,500 spent) and travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal; 3% at restaurants (including takeout and delivery) and drugstores; and 1% on all other purchases.
The Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card from American Express is a luxury travel card that rewards cardmembers with some of the best travel perks and benefits available. You get up to $200 in Uber Cash each year for use with Uber Eats orders or Uber rides, as well as up to $100 in Saks Fifth Avenue credits each year, and up to $100 in fee credits for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry applications.
Apart from a slew of other benefits, like automatic elite hotel statuses and complimentary airport lounge access, you also get cellphone protection. The Amex Platinum cellphone protection offers up to $800 per claim for eligible stolen or damaged cellphones. You can have up to two claims per 12-month period and each claim is subject to a $50 deductible. To be eligible for this benefit, you must pay your cellphone bill in full with this card.
The Amex Platinum has a welcome offer of 75,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 6 months. Its earning rates include 5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare and hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
Citi Prestige Card
The Citi Prestige covers your phone for up to a maximum of $1,000 per claim on theft or certain damages. Instead of a certain amount of claims you’re allowed to file per year, there is a cap of $1,500 allowed in reimbursement per 12-month period. So, although you may receive the full $1,000 on your first claim of the year to repair or replace your phone, any subsequent claim will then only have an available reimbursement of up to $500 until the year is up.
This benefit is available for up to five phones on your cell phone bill, as long as you are paying that bill with this card. There is a $50 deductible you must pay on each approved claim.
Apart from cell phone protection, the Citi Prestige also includes many great travel-oriented benefits such as $250 travel credit each calendar year, the ability to transfer your points to airlines and hotels that are Citi transfer partners, and a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application credit.
With this card, you also earn 5X points on airline purchases and at restaurants; 3X points on hotels and cruise lines; and 1X points on all other purchases, and potentially a welcome bonus of Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within 3 months of account opening.
IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card will cover up to $800 per claim against covered theft or damages for any phones listed on your cell phone bill as long as that bill is paid for with this card. You can have a maximum of two claims in a 12-month period and a maximum of $1,000 total in reimbursement during that time. Each insurance claim has a $50 deductible.
As one of the best travel credit cards available, this card comes with benefits that specifically have the avid traveler in mind. There’s a comprehensive set of travel benefits that includes travel accident insurance, travel and emergency assistance services, lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, and much more.
With this card, you earn 25X points per $1 spent on stays at IHG hotels and resorts; 2X points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; and 1X points on other purchases. You can also earn Earn 125,000 points plus a Reward Night after spending $3,000 in the first three months.
Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card has cell phone protection that will reimburse the cardholder for up to $600 per claim for cell phones listed on wireless phone bills that are paid for with this card. There is a maximum of $1,200 in reimbursement per 12-month period and a $25 deductible per claim.
This card also comes with other useful benefits like a $0 annual fee, purchase protection, extended warranty, and roadside assistance, among others.
With this card, you earn 3X points on eligible dining, transportation, travel, and streaming service purchases; and 1X points on other purchases, and you can earn Earn 20,000 points when you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months.
U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card
The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card isn’t a rewards credit card, but it still has some helpful benefits. This includes 0% APR options if you have big purchases coming up or you need to do a balance transfer. The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum has a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months and a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 20 billing cycles.
And as an added benefit, you also have the option for cellphone protection if you need it. If you pay your monthly cellphone bill with this card, your attached cellphones are automatically provided this coverage. The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum cellphone protection includes up to $600 per claim against theft and damages, with a maximum limit of two claims (or a total of $1,200) per 12-month period. Each claim is subject to a $25 deductible.
Is cell phone protection worth it?
Specifically signing up for a business or consumer credit card because it has cell phone protection may not make sense for everyone. As an added benefit, though, it’s never going to be a bad thing to have. Here are a couple scenarios when getting credit card cell phone protection could make sense for you.
You’re a small business owner or side hustler
For example, you may be a small business owner looking to apply for a business credit card or perhaps you run a side hustle and could use a business card to simplify your bookkeeping. The Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card might be a good choice for you regardless of its cell phone coverage.
That’s because you’ll start off by earning 100,000 points after spending $15,000 in first 3 months, and you’ll continue to earn valuable Ultimate Rewards points on many of your business-related purchases. In addition, you’ll also have purchase protection and extended warranty protection.
With all these benefits, the cell phone insurance may not be the main reason you’d apply for this particular card, but having your phone covered could still be useful in the event of a mishap.
You’re a frequent traveler trying to save money
For frequent travelers, it can be beneficial to have a card like the Wells Fargo Propel. That because with this rewards card you earn 3X on eligible dining, transportation, travel, and streaming services, and 1X on other purchases. Those bonus points can really add up if you use this card regularly.
Additionally, this card has a $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, which makes this card a great choice for casual users that travel often and also want cell phone protection.
Having a credit card that offers cell phone protection can be extremely helpful for when the unexpected occurs, whether you’re at home or traveling abroad. Considering how essential our phones are in this modern world, it’s hard to imagine being without one. And none of us want to suddenly spend a big amount of money to get one replaced. For this reason, it may make sense for you to choose from the credit cards that offer cell phone insurance.
Each one of the credit card offers we’ve mentioned has its own unique rewards bonus categories and benefits structures. Some may require different credit scores of new applicants, as well. So picking the right card will be different for everybody. If the benefits of a certain rewards card align well with your own situation, then it very well may be the best choice for you.