How to Get Free Cell Phone Insurance with Credit Cards [2019]

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The mighty smartphone. That beautiful soft white glow that is a cure-all for bored kids on the plane, can translate the indecipherable foreign road sign in front of us, and records our most intimate travel moments through the burgeoning art of the ‘selfie.’

It is also a fragile $600+ packet of electronics that will prove ‘toast theory’ correct by always landing screen down, doesn’t get on with us very well when we’ve been drinking, is a target for modern-day cutpurses and bandits, and, unlike our children, will not cry and yell when we leave it behind.

Thankfully, credit card companies appear to be catching on to the value we place on our phones, with several banks now offering free cell phone protection as a credit card benefit.

Free cell phone protection

Get Free Cell Phone Protection with Your Credit Card

From the major card providers, Chase, Wells Fargo, Barclaycard, U.S. Bank, and Navy Federal Credit Union now offer cell phone protection as a credit card benefit on select products. The coverage is dependent on the cell phone's monthly bill being paid with the applicable credit card, and in some cases will cover more than one phone.

  • Chase – The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, covers phones up to the value of $600, up to 3 claims per year, and pulls a $100 deductible per claim.
  • Wells Fargo – The Cellular Telephone Protection from Wells Fargo is a benefit of eligible Wells Fargo personal credit cards, including the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card, covering cardholders up to $600 per claim, up to 2 claims per 12 months, with a $25 deductible.
  • Barclaycard – The Uber Visa Card offers up to $600 per claim, up to 2 claims per 12 months, with a $25 deductible.
  • U.S. Bank – The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Credit Card offers up to $600 per claim with a $1,000 hard cap on claims in a 12 month period.
  • Navy Federal Credit Union – NFCU provides cell phone cover on all its Visa and MasterCard products. Visa receive up to $250 per claim, up to $5,000 max per 12 months, with a $50 deductible. MasterCards receive up to $600 per claim, capped at $1,000 per 12 months, also with a $50 deductible.

The terms differ for each provider which we detail below for Chase, Wells Fargo, and Barclaycard. Across the board, phones need to be purchased new and coverage typically starts after payment of an entire monthly bill. Coverage is suspended when you miss a payment using the card. For U.S. Bank and NFCU terms see the links below.

Chase Ink Preferred Cell Phone Protection

The Ink Preferred is our favorite small business credit card. The card has a signup bonus of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. It also earns 3x points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year.

The cell phone protection on the Ink Preferred will reimburse cardholders for ‘damage to, theft of, or involuntary and accidental parting’ to eligible cell phone’s that are recorded on your cell phone providers monthly billing statement, for the cycle prior to the incident taking place.

Claims are subject to:

  • A $100 deductible
  • Maximum 3 claims per 12 months
  • Limited to $600 per claim, $1,800 per 12 months

The insurance is a secondary policy, so cardholders will likely need to prove the phone is not covered under another policy (for example; cell phone insurance programs, home insurance, car insurance, etc.).

IMPORTANT: Remember this coverage is not limited to the cellular phone of the primary cardholder. Per the coverage “Eligible Cellular Wireless Telephones are the lines listed on Your most recent cellular provider’s monthly billing statement for the billing cycle prior to when the incident occurred.” Additionally, you can have purchased the phone with any credit card — just make sure you have the receipt in case you need to file a claim. Make sure all the phones are paid for and are on a single bill being paid for with your Ink Preferred, and you're covered.

What isn’t covered?

  • Accessories other than standard battery and/or standard antenna provided by the manufacturer.
  • Phones purchased for resale.
  • Phones that are lost or “mysteriously disappear.” “Mysterious disappearance” means the vanishing of an item in an unexplained manner where there is absence of evidence of a wrongful act by a person or persons.
  • Phones under the care and control of a common carrier (including, but not limited to, U.S. Postal Service, airplanes, or delivery service).
  • Phones stolen from baggage unless hand-carried and under Your personal supervision, or under the supervision of Your traveling companion who is previously known to You.
  • Phones which have been rented, leased, borrowed or received as part of a pre-paid wireless service plan or “pay as you go” type service plans.
  • Cosmetic damage to the phone or damage that does not impact the cellular wireless telephone’s capabilities and functionalities of the phone.
  • Damage or theft resulting from abuse, intentional acts, fraud, hostilities of any kind (including, but not limited to, war, invasion, rebellion, or insurrection), confiscation by the authorities, risks of contraband, illegal activities, normal wear and tear, flood, earthquake, radioactive contamination, or damage from inherent product defects.
  • Damage or theft resulting from misdelivery or voluntary parting with the phone.
  • Replacement cellular wireless telephone not purchased from a cellular service provider’s retail or Internet store, (for example Verizon Wireless, Sprint Wireless, etc.) or an authorized cellular phone retailer.
  • Taxes, delivery and transportation charges, and any fees associated with the cellular service provider.

Claims need to be made within 60 days of the incident and all paperwork filed within 90 days. You will need copies of your credit card statement showing the monthly bill payments for the phone, the monthly statement from your phone provider, the original receipt for the replacement phone, a police report if necessary, and a completed and signed claim form.

You can find the T&C’s detailed in the Ink Preferred Benefits Guide.

Wells Fargo Consumer Credit Card Cell Phone Protection

The cell phone protection offered by Wells Fargo is available across a number of personal credit cards and covers up to four cell phones as listed on your wireless cell phone bill against damage or theft, however, doesn’t cover phones that are lost. The policy doesn't cover business or debit cards.

What Card’s are included?

The following cards provide coverage. However, there may be other cards that provide this coverage not listed.

Claims are subject to:

  • A $25 deductible
  • Maximum 2 claims per 12 months
  • Limited to $600 per claim, $1,200 per 12 months

The insurance is a secondary policy, so cardholders will likely need to prove the phone is not covered under another policy (for example; cell phone insurance programs, home insurance, car insurance, etc.).

What isn’t covered?

  • Accessories other than standard battery and/or standard antenna provided by the manufacturer.
  • Phones purchased for resale, professional, or commercial use.
  • Phones that are lost or “mysteriously disappear.” “Mysterious disappearance” means the vanishing of an item in an unexplained manner where there is absence of evidence of a wrongful act by a person or persons.
  • Phones under the care and control of a common carrier (including, but not limited to, U.S. Postal Service, airplanes, or delivery service).
  • Phones stolen from baggage unless hand-carried and under Your personal supervision, or under the supervision of Your traveling companion who is previously known to You.
  • Phones stolen from a construction site.
  • Phones which has been rented, leased or borrowed or Cellular Wireless Telephones that are received as part of a pre-paid plan.
  • Cosmetic damage to the Cellular Wireless Telephone or damage that does not impact the Cellular Wireless Telephone’s ability to make or receive phone calls.
  • Damage or theft resulting from abuse, intentional acts, fraud, hostilities of any kind (including, but not limited to, war, invasion, rebellion, or insurrection), confiscation by the authorities, risks of contraband, illegal activities, normal wear and tear, flood, earthquake, radioactive contamination, or damage from inherent product defects or vermin.
  • Damage or theft resulting from misdelivery or voluntary parting with the Phone.
  • Replacement phones not purchased from a cellular service provider’s retail or Internet store.
  • Taxes, delivery and transportation charges and any fees associated with the service provider.

Claims need to be made within 60 days of the incident and all paperwork filed within 90 days. You will need copies of your credit card statement showing the monthly bill payments for the phone, the monthly statement from your phone provider, the original receipt for the replacement phone, a police report if necessary, and a completed and signed claim form.

You can find the T&C’s detailed in the Wells Fargo Cellular Telephone Protection Guide to Benefits (Cellular Telephone Protection homepage).

Barclaycard Credit Card Cell Phone Protection

The cell phone protection offered on the Uber Visa Card is a new benefit from Barclaycard which we haven’t seen from the provider before and covers theft of, damage to or involuntary and accidental parting of your cell phone. Whether this will be rolled out to other cards like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® (See Terms) is anyone's guess, but we hope to see this feature on any new or revamped Barclaycard products.

What Card’s are included?

At this stage, Barclaycard only lists one card that carries cell phone coverage as a benefit.

Claims are subject to:

  • A $25 deductible
  • Maximum 2 claims per 12 months
  • Limited to $600 per claim, $1,200 per 12 months

The insurance is a secondary policy, so cardholders will likely need to prove the phone is not covered under another policy (for example; cell phone insurance programs, home insurance, car insurance, etc.).

What isn’t covered?

  • Cellular wireless telephone accessories other than standard battery and/or standard antenna provided by the manufacturer.
  • Cellular wireless telephone purchased for resale, professional or commercial use
  • Cellular wireless telephones that are lost or “mysteriously disappear.” “Mysterious disappearance” means the vanishing of an item in an unexplained manner where there is absence of evidence of a wrongful act by a person or persons.
  • Cellular wireless telephone under the care and control of a common carrier (including, but not limited to, U.S. Postal Service, airplanes, or delivery service).
  • Cellular wireless telephone stolen from baggage unless hand-carried and under Your personal supervision, or under the supervision of Your traveling companion who is previously known to You.
  • Cellular wireless telephone which has been rented, leased, borrowed or cellular wireless telephones that are received as part of a pre-paid wireless service plan or “pay as you go” type service plans.
  • Cosmetic damage to the cellular wireless telephone or damage that does not impact the cellular wireless telephone’s capabilities and functionalities of the phone.
  • Damage or theft resulting from abuse, intentional acts, fraud, hostilities of any kind (including, but not limited to, war, invasion, rebellion, or insurrection), confiscation by the authorities, risks of contraband, illegal activities, normal wear and tear, flood, earthquake, radioactive contamination, or damage from inherent product defects.
    • Damage or theft resulting from misdelivery or voluntary parting with the cellular wireless telephone. Replacement cellular wireless telephone not purchased from a cellular service provider’s retail or Internet store, (for example: Verizon Wireless, Sprint Wireless, etc.) or from an authorized cellular phone retailer.
    • Taxes, delivery and transportation charges, and any fees associated with the cellular service provider.

Claims need to be made within 90 days of the incident. Notify the Benefit Administrator on 1-866-894-8569, or outside the U.S. call collect on 1- 303-967-1096. You have 120 days from the incident to return all the required paperwork.

Final Thoughts

The Wells Fargo and Barclaycard policies have the lower deductible at $25, but the Wells Fargo policy doesn’t cover accidental loss of the phone, which makes up a relatively large portion of phones you’re likely to make a claim on.

The coverage on the Ink Preferred has a higher deductible at $100, will cover you when you leave your phone behind, and you can claim up to 3 times per year which includes a lot of lost phones. Another big plus for the Ink Preferred is you will earn 3X Ultimate Rewards points on telephone spend, which equates to a roughly 6% return, as opposed to a maximum 1.5% on the Wells Fargo cards and 1% on the Uber Visa Card.

It’s awesome to see credit card companies taking note of changes in consumer behavior, and adjusting credit card benefits to suit. If you’ve had any experience making a claim for a phone with any of the providers above we’d love to hear from you in the comments.

For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® (See Terms)

How to Get Free Cell Phone Insurance with Credit Cards [2019]
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