If you are planning on purchasing the new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus when they are available later this month, it would probably be wise to consider the various insurance options available to protect your expensive purchase. In this column, join us as we do a side-by-side comparison of AppleCare with other warranty plans available.
Let’s be clear about something that a lot of people might not realize off the top: when you purchase an iPhone 6 or any Apple device, it is automatically covered under a one-year limited warranty for no additional cost. It doesn’t matter if you purchased the device directly from Apple, or through Amazon, Best Buy or any Apple authorized reseller.
As this warranty plan is cost free, you can probably imagine that it is fairly limited in scope. Essentially, the only two things that are covered are the iPhone 6’s hardware and any consumable parts — in other words, the battery — if they are damaged or dysfunctional due to a manufacturing defect. Plus, 90 days of complimentary phone support.
Fortunately, a few years ago, AppleCare+ was introduced. This warranty plan, which has supplemented the standard AppleCare in most countries, expands your coverage areas, provides you with more customer service options and covers accidental damage under certain conditions.
AppleCare+ doubles your one-year limited warranty plan to two years from the original purchase date of the device, in addition to extending your complimentary phone support from 90 days to 2 years. You must purchase this plan within 60 days purchasing your iPhone 6 and provide that your device is undamaged and in proper working order.
AppleCare+ will set you back a one-time payment of $99 if you are purchasing the warranty plan for an iPhone 6. That might sound like an unnecessary additional cost, but the good thing about AppleCare+ is that it covers up to two incidents of accidental damage for a $79 service fee. In most cases, that’s a lot cheaper than fixing your iPhone yourself.
Imagine this: it is a hot summer day and you are ready to go swimming in your friend’s pool in his or her backyard. You’re excited to escape the heat and cool off in the water, get your bathing suit on and jump right in. A few seconds later, you realize that your iPhone was in your pocket. Frantically, you get out of the pool and assess the damage.
A quick Google search has told you to put the soaked iPhone in a bowl of rice to dry out, but it is of little use. Your iPhone is dead. Accidents happen, and that’s where AppleCare+ can save your behind for a fraction of the cost that Apple authorized service would cost.
In addition to covering accidental physical or water damage, AppleCare+ will also replace your defective or broken iPhone headphones or Lightning cable and a battery that has depleted by more than 50 percent within your warranty coverage period. What’s not covered includes a lost or stolen device, normal wear and tear and software problems.
Apple also specifically outlines that jailbroken devices are not eligible for AppleCare+ coverage, since modifying your device in that manner is a violation of the company’s End User License Agreement (EULA). However, a quick restore of the device to factory settings through iTunes should remove all traces of jailbreaking.
AppleCare+ applies internationally and is transferrable, meaning that if you purchase a used device still covered by the warranty plan, it remains in effect until its normal expiration date.
Credit Card Warranties
If you are a Visa, MasterCard, American Express or other credit card holder, be sure to consult one of these companies to see what kind of warranty coverage they might offer. In a lot of cases, you might be surprised to find out you are automatically covered for free or substantially less than a lot of third-party warranty plans cost.
For instance, based on personal knowledge, the RBC Visa in Canada has an Extended Warranty Insurance that is offered to all cardholders and doubles your manufacturer’s warranty — in this case, the one-year limited warranty on an iPhone 6 — from the date the manufacturer’s warranty expires. The policy applies for a maximum of five years.
Before you explore any other third-party warranties available, be sure to consult your credit card company for further information. A quick online search will usually yield information about your card issuer’s warranty options.
You have done your homework on credit card warranties and want to explore various third-party electronics warranty providers. Enter SquareTrade, which offers an iPhone protection plan that costs $5 per month, $99 for two years or $129 for three years and covers drops, spills and malfunctions for a $75 deductible.
The $99 upfront cost of SquareTrade is cheaper than insurance plans available through AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or Best Buy, and the $75 deductible is four dollars cheaper than what AppleCare+ charges. It’s important to note that, just as is the case with AppleCare, loss or theft of your iPhone is not covered.
SquareTrade’s protection plan includes reimbursement for any Genius Bar repairs, same day repair at any local service shop and next-day replacement. The repairs that are reimbursed include a cracked screen, camera failure, battery failure, liquid damage, charging port failure, touchscreen malfunction, headphone jack problems and more.
Carrier and Retailer Warranties
It is highly recommended that you do not invest the money into a carrier or retailer insurance plan, as these warranties are often outsourced to third-party companies and charge exorbitant deductibles or monthly charges. For instance, paying a $10 monthly fee and $200 or so deductible through AT&T quickly adds up and makes it not worthwhile.
Instead of shelling out additional money to AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or Best Buy, which the chart above shows clearly aren’t the cheapest options, you are probably much better off considering AppleCare+ or SquareTrade.
Overall, choosing a warranty plan will depend on how much you are willing to spend, how well you take care of your iPhone and what is available in your area. A good starting point would be to purchase a durable case and screen protector for your iPhone, as drops and water damage are two common causes of broken devices.
Is your iPhone covered by a warranty plan?