Is Iphone insurance worth it?
September 10, 2007 7:00 PM   Subscribe

Are there are good Iphone insurance policies or discreet cases that would protect from drops?

I decided to get an iphone after my current phone stopped working due to rain. It was a Audiovox Smt 5600 and it was a great phone and I'm surprised it worked as long as it did. It managed to survive many drops but I'm nervous the iphone might not be so resilient... So I was wondering if anyone could suggest some sort of insurance for the iphone. I found one from SquareTrade that seemed like a pretty good deal at first. It is only 10% of the purchase price to extend the warranty 3 years. However it is an additional 50 dollars for the Accidental Damage Protection and then another 50 dollars deductible if you have to use it. Do you think that would be worth it? Has anyone dealt with this company? Also, can anyone suggest a protective skin that might save it from a drop? Thanks!
posted by austinlee to Technology (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have a Vaja case for my Treo. I just saw they make iPhone cases too. Expensive, but very nice looking and worth it for the protection. I plan on getting such a case when I break down and get an iPhone.
posted by procrastination at 7:04 PM on September 10, 2007

PCWorld claims that the iPhone is quite durable and probably doesn't need this kind of warranty. I bought the "Incase" (a rubber cover they sell at the Apple store) for my iphone to give it a little extra drop protection.
posted by TeatimeGrommit at 7:17 PM on September 10, 2007

I was constantly dropping phones, so I got a rubber case for my Blackberry from Speck. They make a similar product for the iPhone. I can vouch for its resilience.

HOWEVER, there are two serious caveats:

- Bulk and aesthetics. You've got a big, knobby piece of rubber on your lovely iPhone.

- It's rubber, so it can be sometimes frustrating to dig out of your pocket without turning the whole thing inside-out. And forget putting it into any slim-fitting clothes.

In the end, I ditched the case and forced myself to be more diligent. I now have no case and can't remember the last time I dropped it (*knock on wood*).
posted by mkultra at 7:20 PM on September 10, 2007

I use invisibleSHIELD to cover the glass to protect from scratches and have the incase cover to give it a little added bounce. I am still waiting for agent18 to come out with a case for the iPhone. They have great stuff for the iPods and is the toughest cover I have found for my pods.

The invisibleSHIELD gets mixed reviews but, as far as I can tell, it is tough as nails and performs as advertised. The incase is a piece of expensive crap but it does keep the thing in your pocket or in your hand. It has pretty good gripping.

I am still looking for some good insurance but haven't found anything yet.
posted by bkeene12 at 7:27 PM on September 10, 2007

My boyfriend has had his iphone since the first day they came out, and I've personally watched him drop it, carry it in his pocket everywhere, knocking it AND the dock off his bedside table across the room, and it looks immaculate. He doesn't have a cover or anything on it. I specifically commented to him the other day that I couldn't believe there wasn't a scratch or anything on the glass. The wonders of technology! Unless you plan on throwing it against concrete or something, a cover seems kinda of unnecessary. Plus it'll only detract from the iphone's coolness. :)
posted by amileighs at 7:47 PM on September 10, 2007

A friend of mine dropped her iPhone from about 3' onto the sidewalk and the glass shattered, rendering the phone unusable.

I'm certain the iPhone can withstand decent falls, but it may be a matter of luck-- if it hits at the wrong angle, it definitely can go kablooey.

On to your question:

First, how did you pay for your iPhone? Lots of credit cards offer purchase protection in case of theft, accidental destruction, etc. You may not need any more protection than you already have.

As for extended warranties/protection plans, these are almost never a good investment. If you like the peace of mind they bring, understand that you're paying for peace of mind, not protecting an investment.

Consider the SquareTrade offer you cited. If you bought a $600 iphone, you're paying $110 for 3 years of protection. With the $50 deductible you'll "save" $550 if your iphone meets the same fate as my friend's tomorrow. If your iphone dies in 18 months, you may be able to replace it for less than would have spent on SquareTrade's protection plan.

For this to make financial sense, you need to have a very high probability of destroying your iphone. How many portable electronics do you typically break in a year?
posted by justkevin at 8:32 PM on September 10, 2007

While you're figuring out the cost-to-benefit ratio, remember that Apple dropped the price to $400, so - if you paid $600 for it, you just got a $200 price break on replacing it.
posted by Orb2069 at 10:38 PM on September 10, 2007

In a heartbeat, I would get it.

I've already lost one iPhone to a fall. Square didn't offer accidental protection for the first month or so, and since I got mine day 1 I couldn't get coverage. Which sucks.

But, I was happy to find out Apple only charged me 200 or so for a replacement on the 4gb model.
posted by Gideon at 10:39 PM on September 10, 2007

I use invisibleSHIELD to cover the glass to protect from scratches

We all have iPhones in our office. Not one of us has scratched or seen a scratched screen yet. No screen protection involved.
posted by Mikey-San at 11:59 PM on September 10, 2007

I did scratch my screen. My best guess is that it was a bit of sand in my pocket. Now there's about a 3mm scratch on the screen, which is all rainbow colored whenever the screen is white. Very distracting.

I got a plastic screen cover, which actually adds more funky spots on the screen (places where there are bubbles or fingerprints under the plastic) -- but at least they help distract me from the scratch! And I'm much less nervous now about sticking the phone in my pocket.

So: don't assume that they screens really are indestructible, is all.
posted by wyzewoman at 5:07 AM on September 11, 2007

No! No insurance! No extended warranties! Unless you're the clumsiest person on the face of the earth, it's an awful, awful deal.
posted by electroboy at 6:30 AM on September 11, 2007

The screen won't scratch (seriously, take your keys and try, you won't scratch it), but it will certainly break if it falls at the wrong angle.

FWIW, I dropped mine a week ago from about 2 feet onto a wood floor, and the vibrate doesn't work any more.
posted by kableh at 7:14 AM on September 11, 2007

I, too, have a Speck case and a screen overlay for my iPhone.

The Speck ToughCase is ugly -- UGLY!! -- but makes your device invincible. I've dropped it multiple times on concrete, have gotten it dirty, damp, and used it in extremely rugged conditions. Thanks to the case, the device remains as pristine as the day I got it.

The Speck cleans easily; just remove the phone and scrub the case under some water. When it dries, it's like new. It has yet to stretch, even after multiple cleanings. The screen overlay is also nice. If you are careful when applying it the first time, the display will look natural, if slightly matted. (Think photographs.) Another benefit of an overlay is that doesn't get smudgy or oily like the naked screen, and can be wiped clean with any towel or shirt available.

The case I really want is coming soon from OtterBox.

Incidentally, this is my second iPhone. I had no case for the first, and dropped it the week I got it. (I turn into Kramer when I make calls, apparently.) The back metal casing scratched on impact in multiple places. Thankfully, it had dead pixels anyway, and Apple replaced it.
posted by rentalkarma at 8:14 AM on September 11, 2007

The iphone is remarkably durable, considering how elegant it feels in your hand. But as others have commented, it really depends where an iphone is dropped that determines whether or not you end up with a $600 brick.

In my case, the *one* time I took my iPhone out of the Incase case I bought for it (which as bkeene correctly described, is a piece of crap, but definitely protects it against droppage), it accidentally slipped out of my hand and landed on its back glass side up. A few minutes later, I noticed my WiFi signal get gradually weaker, and in about 5 minutes, the phone was completely bricked--no wifi signal, no EDGE and the phone actually popped up an error message saying, in essence, that my phone is in fact, bricked and could no longer make calls. This from a modest fall of around 12 inches above a ceramic tiled floor.

Thankfully there was no visible damage to the unit, so I took it into my local Genius Bar, played dumb (often referring to my self-hacked WRT54 wireless router as "my wireless thingy"), and recieved a new replacement unit a few days later.

It absolutely freaks me out to think what would happen if the glass broke or something. After the first year of ownership, Applecare is worth buying for laptops and ipods, but it really sucks that they don't protect you against accidental damage, considering how much they charge you for Applecare. So I'm on the "iPhone insurance is worth it" side of the fence.

USAA, my renter's insurance provider, covers accidental loss or damage to personal property, and specifically computer gear. YMMV with your provider.
posted by melorama at 8:42 AM on September 11, 2007

I had a incase rubber case on mine for a few weeks here, and it provided good drop protection, but, the problem was getting it in and out of my pockets, stretched the rubber out, and now it is unusable. it also has a problem where dust gets into it, and will scratch the bevel around the screen.

Right now, I am rocking just a screen protector ( can't even notice it is there, and I like the extra insurance it provides).

The rubber incase is really nice though, and I have a buddy that got one after I did, and his is still really nice ( not stretched out).
posted by brent_h at 8:59 AM on September 11, 2007

btw, after writing that about the incase cover, I got to work and checked my rss feeds and low and behold, incase is offering warranty coverage for this issue, sweet!
posted by brent_h at 9:37 AM on September 11, 2007

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