Mike Timmermann, Clark.com
The other day I was watching TV when I saw an ad for a credit card that offered “cell phone protection” as a benefit — and I knew it was something I needed to look into.
If you’re like me, you have one of those extremely durable cases to keep your smartphone safe from drops.
Credit cards that provide cell phone protection
Money expert Clark Howard has said the mobile phone insurance that wireless providers sell for up to $120 a year isn’t worth it, but this “free” credit card protection really intrigued me.
When I asked Clark about the ad I saw, he told me that the credit card perk is 100% legit:
“Credit card companies are offering a variety of unusual benefits to stand out from one another, including protection for electronics like your cell phone. They want you to pay your cell phone bill with their card. And if you do so, the cell phone may be covered if you break it or it breaks on you.”
Why would credit card companies offer cell phone protection in the first place? Like Clark said, it’s a way for them to get you to think about their card first every time you go shopping.
Wells Fargo has several credit cards with this feature. Here are the key details:
- Pay your monthly cell phone bill with an eligible credit card and get up to $600 protection after a $25 deductible
- Coverage may include up to four cell phones listed on your wireless cell phone bill
- The cell phone is protected against damage or theft, but coverage doesn’t include cell phones that are lost
- Receive no more than the value of the original phone or a comparable replacement phone
- Up to two claims in a 12-month period, with a maximum benefit of $1,200
Cardholders typically receive this protection automatically without having to sign up, but you must pay your cell phone bill with an eligible credit card every month to keep the coverage active.
Several card issuers have the same perk, but the maximum benefit and deductibles vary significantly from bank to bank.
I did some research and discovered that some Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank credit cards offer the highest maximum cell phone protection coverage per incident:
- Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Platinum: $600 coverage / $25 deductible
- Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card: $600 coverage / $25 deductible
- Wells Fargo Propel American Express: $600 coverage / $25 deductible
- Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express Card: $600 coverage / $25 deductible
- Wells Fargo Rewards Card: $600 coverage / $25 deductible
- Wells Fargo Platinum Card: $600 coverage / $25 deductible
- Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card: $600 coverage / $25 deductible
- Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card: $600 coverage / $25 deductible
- U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Credit Card: $600 coverage / $25 deductible
- First Citizens Smart Option Visa Card: $500 coverage / $50 deductible
- First Citizens Rewards Visa Card: $500 coverage / $50 deductible
Credit card cell phone protection is supplemental to other types of insurance — like home and automobile — so read the fine print carefully to understand what is and what isn’t covered.
I’ve provided links above to the terms and conditions for all of the credit cards mentioned in this article.
Eligible cards from SunTrust, Fifth Third Bank and various credit unions also include this feature with coverage in the $200 range — so you may already have this benefit without even realizing it!