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 Chase Freedom Flex’s cell phone coverage, you need to have been paying your monthly bill payment with your Chase Freedom Flex.
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.
6 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, plus earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart; up to $12,000 in the first year)||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 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months, plus 10x points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S. (up to $25,000 in combined purchases during your first 6 months)||5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and eligible hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases||$695 (See rates and fees) (terms apply)|
|Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card||Earn 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 MQMs after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months||3X miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta and 1X miles for all other eligible purchases||$550 (See rates and fees) (terms apply)|
|IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card||Earn 150,000 points 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 (waived first year)|
|U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card||Long 0% APR period on purchases and balance transfers||$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 card members 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. You also get complimentary elite hotel statuses and airport lounge access with this card. Enrollment is required for select benefits.
In addition to these benefits and more, you also get cell phone protection. The Amex Platinum cellphone protection offers up to $800 per claim for eligible stolen or damaged cell phones. 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 cell phone bill in full with this card.
The Amex Platinum has a welcome offer of 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months. Cardmembers earn 5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and eligible hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card
The Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card covers your phone for up to $800 per claim on theft or certain damages. You can have up to a maximum of two claims per 12-month period, with each claim subject to a $50 deductible. You must pay your cell phone bill in full to be eligible for this benefit.
Apart from cell phone protection, the Delta Reserve Amex also includes many great travel-oriented benefits, such as Delta Sky Club and The Centurion Lounge access, first checked bag free, an annual companion certificate, and TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application credit. Select benefits require enrollment.
With this card, you also earn 3X miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta and 1X miles for all other eligible purchases, and potentially a welcome bonus of: Earn 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 MQMs after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
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 150,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three 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 20 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 Chase Freedom Flex. That because with this rewards card you earn 5% on rotating quarterly categories (on up to $1,500 spent) and travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, and 3% on restaurants (including takeout and delivery) and drugstores. Those bonus points can really add up if you use this card regularly.
Additionally, this card has a $0 annual fee, which makes this card a great choice for casual credit card users that 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.
Seriously Powerful Cashback Card
up to 5% cash back
- $200 sign-up bonus
- Up to 5% cash back on spending
- 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (up to $12k your first year)
- Lyft and DoorDash perks
- Has foreign transaction fee
- Earn $200 cash back after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months, plus earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart; up to $12,000 in the first year)
- 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
- Intro purchase 0% offer: 0% for 15 months then 14.99% to 23.74% (variable)