A new competitor to AppleCare offers cheaper insurance for smartphones

Given the steep costs, it’s easy to see why some customers forgo AppleCare+, Preferred Care or similar protection plans. Dropping your phone down a stairwell or spilling liquid on it is no longer the end of the world – the newest devices are more resilient. But accidents still happen, and an out-of-warranty fix can set you back several hundred dollars. As an alternative, Zagg, a smartphone case company, unveiled a plan this week that covers repairs on most mobile devices for $99 a year.

Zagg Protect includes a $49 deductible, which you will need to pay any time you take it in for repairs. It covers both accidents and internal failures, including cracked screens, liquid damage, battery failure, power failures and more. 

But the third-party plan is still much cheaper than other such device protection plans, such as AppleCare+ and Samsung Care Plus. Samsung offers one year of Samsung Care Plus for free after you purchase your device; after that the cost ranges anywhere from $4 to $13 per month. Even with that plan, a cracked screen for any Samsung mobile phone will set you back $249. The free year of AppleCare that comes with any new iPhone is extremely limited and essentially only covers malfunctions that are the manufacturer’s fault. Two years of AppleCare+, which offers screen repairs on most iPhones for $29 and other accidents for $99, can still set you back anywhere between $149 to $199 for the latest models.

While Zagg’s plan is significantly more extensive than most, it’s not unlimited. The coverage only covers two repairs per 12-month period. You can also only use the plan at a list of authorized repair providers. Finally, the plan only covers repairs up to $500 and requires that you use a phone case.

Is a protection plan for phone repairs worth it? Thanks to the right to repair movement, consumers can opt for cheaper options like third-party repair shops and self-repair kits. While it’s harder nowadays to completely obliterate your phone (see this video of a still-functioning iPhone X found in the bottom of a river), any eventual mishap can pose a serious annoyance to your daily life. 

That $1,000+ device that most of us carry on our person at all times became our credit card, transportation access and vaccine passport, not to mention our sole means of contacting other humans. All told, whether or not you cough up the extra bucks for AppleCare+ or another protection plan like Zagg largely depends on your lifestyle, as well as how often you plan to upgrade.

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