This post brought to you by Sprint. All opinions are 100% mine.
While it is thrilling to whip out your new smartphone and gain access to a world of information, that exhilaration can be replaced with a terrible, sinking feeling when your phone is damaged or lost. Mobile service providers sell insurance plans to allow their customers to receive a new phone in the event of loss, damage, or theft.
Sprint now offers the Sprint Total Equipment Protection App to Sprint and Nextel customers. The plan goes beyond a simple replacement policy, by developing a useful application that can assist you if something happens to your phone. The coverage is optional and can be canceled at any time.
How It Works
Sprint’s protection plan offers a traditional insurance plan, and a nifty application that you can download. With this app, if you misplace your phone, you can activate the app’s tracking feature and pinpoint the phone’s exact location to facilitate recovery.
In addition, you can go online and trigger an alarm on your phone, even if you had the phone set to vibrate or silent; this can come in handy when your phone is in between a sofa cushion or hiding in a jacket pocket. If you cannot locate your phone, Sprint can synchronize your contacts, remotely disable the phone, and erase address book contacts from the phone.
The basic insurance policies apply as well. If you damage your phone, Sprint will repair or replace the phone. There is a deductible of $50 or $100, depending on the cost of the phone covered. The Sprint Total Equipment Protection Plan can help people who have a knack for damaging or misplacing phones.
For those interested in trying the service, the app and the plan costs $8 a month. Customers can also purchase the Equipment Replacement Plan and the Equipment Service and Repair Plan separately. Occasionally, Sprint offers customers an open enrollment plan (until 8/30/11), where customers who previously opted out of the insurance can still purchase the plan. Typically, Sprint customers must activate the plan within 30 days of purchasing a new plan or activating a phone.
- Phone Recovery Tools. While many people can find their phone simply by calling it, that trick doesn’t work when the phone is set to vibrate or when the ringer is turned off. Customers can track their phones across town or on the other side of the country with the Sprint Total Equipment Protection Plan.
- Security Features. You can remotely erase your personal information if your device is lost or stolen.
- Data Synchronization. If you cannot recover your phone, your data will be reset to a new phone.
- Service and Repair. The Sprint Total Equipment Protection Plan provides customers with coverage for issues related to normal wear and tear, routine maintenance, and mechanical or electrical failure not covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Customers can bring phones in for repair to one of Sprint’s 1,300 service and repair locations.
- Replacement Policy. If you accidentally lose or destroy your phone, your phone will be replaced. Customers can file claims online and the replacement phone typically arrives within one business day. Customers can submit up to three claims for replacement phones in a 12-month period.
- Cost. The two-year cost for this service, $192, might equal the discounted price of a new phone, or mitigate the cost of a new phone when your contract comes up for renewal.
- Used Phones May Be a Better Replacement Option. New phones quickly begin to depreciate. If you lose or destroy your cell phone, you may purchase a used phone for less than the combined price of the plan’s premiums and deductibles. Before buying this policy, consider that alternative.
- Deductible. With a $100 non-refundable deductible applied to some claims, you still have a lot to lose if your phone is lost, stolen, or damaged. The $100 deductible applies to most of the smartphones provided by Sprint.
- No Upgrades. If you file a claim for a replacement phone, you receive the same type of phone, even if newer models are available. The replacement phone may be new or refurbished. The plan also does not guarantee the color, features, or accessory compatibility of the replacement phone. The maximum replacement value for any replacement phone claim is $1,000.
- Security Can Be Defeated. Criminals can bypass safety and security measures by removing the battery, and selling the device overseas, outside of Sprint’s reception area.
Insurance policies are not designed to save customers money; they are designed to provide customers with peace of mind. If you depend on your smart phone, and can’t function without it or the data contained on it, this plan is a bargain. If you travel, and have an increased risk of misplacing, damaging, or losing your phone, this might be the right plan for you.
However, if you can regularly back up your data, take care of your phone, and plan to upgrade your existing phone in the future, you may want to consider just saving the $8 monthly premium to pay for a new phone.
Do you use the Sprint Total Equipment Protection Plan? If so, have you ever filed a claim?