Although a large welcome bonus is as good a reason to sign up for a new credit card as any, it doesn’t hurt to make note of a card’s other benefits before clicking “Submit” on an application page.

You can get free checked bags with co-branded airline cards, free annual night certificates with hotel cards and lounge access with premium cards. If you dig deeper into the benefits brochure, you could find ancillary benefits, such as roadside assistance, early access to event tickets and even cell phone insurance.

The tiny computer you carry in your pocket isn’t cheap, so let’s take a look at the cards that offer protection for your mobile device and how to get your phone covered. Dropping your device won’t feel as nerve-wracking anymore.

Overview of Cell Phone Protection Benefits

When you first buy a smartphone, you treat it as if it’s made of the most fragile material in the world. Because you’re so protective of your new device, a store employee makes a convincing push for an insurance plan. You pay a monthly fee added to your bill, and your phone is covered against the unimaginable.

However, if you simply pay your wireless bill with one of the credit cards on the list below, your device is automatically covered at no charge. The only difference is, most credit cards plans don’t cover loss—only theft or damage—whereas a plan offered by a cell phone carrier will cover loss as well. Note that you don’t have to buy the phone itself with the same card.

Keep in mind that if you lose your phone, you can’t just say it’s been stolen and collect a new phone. In most cases, a police report filed within 48 hours is required to file a claim.

Additionally, cosmetic damages that don’t affect a phone’s ability to make or receive calls, such as a cracked screen, aren’t covered.

Most plans offered by your carrier come with a deductible, which depends on the type of phone you have and the type of claim you file. Phone protection that comes with a credit card also has a deductible, but it’s a flat cost for all phone types.

It’s worth noting that you must charge your monthly wireless bill to an eligible card for the calendar month prior to when a covered incident occurs. In other words, if something happens to your cell phone, you can’t switch your payment method after the fact just to file a claim as part of your credit-card benefit.

And one last thing. In most cases, cell phone coverage that comes with a credit card is supplemental to your existing coverage provided by your carrier and homeowner’s, renter’s or employer’s insurance policies.

Which Credit Cards Offer Cell Phone Protection

AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard

  • Coverage: Up to $800 per claim and up to $1,000 per 12-month period
  • Claim limits: Up to two claims per 12-month period
  • Deductible: $50 per claim
  • Who’s covered: All lines included in the plan
  • Type of coverage: Secondary

The cell phone coverage that comes with the AAdvantage Aviator Red Card is courtesy of Mastercard and is standard for all Mastercard World Elite credit cards.

You can file up to two claims per year, not exceeding $800 per claim, for a maximum coverage of $1,000 per year. (Mastercard World cards cover up to $600 per claim.) A $50 deductible will apply to each claim.

To file a claim, call 1-800-307-7309 or visit mycardbenefits.com within the first 90 days.

Chase Freedom Flex

  • Coverage: Up to $800 per claim and up to $1,000 per 12-month period
  • Claim limits: Up to two claims per 12-month period
  • Deductible: $50 per claim
  • Who’s covered: Primary and secondary phones listed on your monthly bill
  • Type of coverage: Secondary

Another Mastercard on the list, the Chase Freedom Flex credit card has phone protection built into it. You can qualify for up to $800 after the first incident and up to $1,000 per year, and the deductible is reasonable, too.

You must file a claim within 90 days of the incident by either calling 1-800-307-7309 or going to mycardbenefits.com.

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

  • Coverage: Up to $600 per claim for theft or damage
  • Claim limits: Up to three claims per 12-month period
  • Deductible: $100 per claim
  • Who’s covered: Business owners and employees listed on the bill
  • Type of coverage: Secondary

Although a deductible is higher than what you see with other cards, you can file up to three claims per year for up to $1,800 annually.

Begin managing your claim at cardbenefitservices.com within 60 days since theft or damage occurred.

The Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card is the only card on the list that earns 3X points per dollar spent on wireless services. The points multiplier combined with the handset coverage are a great incentive to use this card to pay your bill. The downside is that only business lines for you and your employees are covered.

Citi Prestige Credit Card

  • Coverage: Up to $1,000 per claim and up to $1,500 per 12-month period
  • Claim limits: Up to two claims per year
  • Deductible: $50 per phone
  • Who’s covered: Up to five phones listed on the plan
  • Type of coverage: Secondary

On a more generous side, cell phone protection that comes with the Citi Prestige Card covers up to $1,000 per claim, which can cover most of the device cost. Additionally, the $50 deductible is reasonable, and the total max per year is also on the higher end compared to other cards.

To file a claim, call 1-833-763-6324 or visit phonebenefit.com within 90 days of the incident.

IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

  • Coverage: Up to $800 per claim and up to $1,000 per 12-month period
  • Claim limits: Up to two claims per 12-month period
  • Deductible: $50 per claim
  • Who’s covered: Phones listed on your statement
  • Type of coverage: Secondary

The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is another World Elite Mastercard with the same coverage of up to $800 per claim and up to $1,000 in mobile phone protection annually.

Call 1-800-307-7309 or visit mycardbenefits.com to file a claim within 90 days.

The Platinum Card from American Express

  • Coverage: Up to $800 per claim and up to $1,600 per 12-month period
  • Claim limits: Up to two claims per year
  • Deductible: $50 per phone
  • Who’s covered: All lines on the same plan
  • Type of coverage: Secondary

Effective April 1, the cell phone protection is a new benefit of The Platinum Card from American Express, among a dozen other Amex cards, including the Business Platinum Card from American Express, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card and the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card.

You’re eligible for up to two claims for up to $800 each (for up to $1,600 annually). Unlike what you find with the other cards’ phone protection terms, screen damage is included in the coverage.

You must file a claim within 90 days by calling a number on the back of your card.

U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card

  • Coverage: Up to $600 per claim and up to $1,200 per 12-month period
  • Claim limits: Up to two claims per year
  • Deductible: $25 per claim
  • Who’s covered: Lines listed on your most recent bill
  • Type of coverage: Secondary

When you look at the low-ish claim payouts, you might wonder whether it’s a good card to use to pay your wireless bill. However, when you consider that the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card is a no-fee card and the deductible is also low at $25, the cell phone benefit starts to look much better.

Contact a benefit administrator at 1-866-894-8569 within 60 days of the incident to file a claim.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card

  • Coverage: Up to $600 per claim and up to $1,200 per 12-month period
  • Claim limits: Up to two claims per year
  • Deductible: $25 per claim
  • Who’s covered: All lines listed on your most recent bill
  • Type of coverage: Secondary

As is the case with the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card’s cell phone protection plan, the coverage you get with the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card is slightly worse than what you get with other cards on the list, but the card charges no annual fees.

To be eligible for coverage, make sure to notify the benefit administrator within 60 days after the damage of theft at 1-866-804-4770. Electronic issues without physical damage aren’t eligible for cell phone protection.

Which Card is Best to Use to Get Cell Phone Protection Coverage

For a business owner, the Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card is hands down the best card to use to pay a wireless bill. Not only is the insurance benefit automatically included, you also earn 3X points per dollar spent on phone services.

For a consumer, it’s a tossup between the Citi Prestige Card and the Amex Platinum card since both cards earn just 1X point per dollar.

Although you get more coverage for the first claim with the Citi Prestige Card, the Platinum Amex card has got it beat on the annual limit. And because Amex’s cell phone protection covers screen damage, it might be the winner.

Final Thoughts

Hard floors, loose pockets and evil toilets are all out to get your phone, but you can protect yourself from having to pay for a brand-new device out of pocket.

Although you can buy a coverage plan directly from your carrier, many credit cards offer cell phone insurance as part of their benefits. Simply use one of the cards above to pay your monthly bill and protect your mobile device from damage or theft without any extra fees.

Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.

Just getting started in the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for you to start with.

With a bonus of 80,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months and 2x points earned on dining and travel spend, this card truly cannot be beat for getting started!


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