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Credit Cards That Provide Cell Phone Protection (and How It Works)

Updated Apr 12, 2021 | Published Dec 03, 20209 min read

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At a glance

Some credit cards provide the useful benefit of cell phone protection. It protects your phone against severe damage or theft, up to a certain amount, determined by the card issuer.

Credit Card Insider receives compensation from advertisers whose products may be mentioned on this page. Advertiser relationships do not affect card evaluations. Advertising partners do not edit or endorse our editorial content. Content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it's published. Learn more in our Editorial Guidelines.

You throw your car in park and set your phone on your lap. You check your makeup in the mirror, open the door, and step out. A sudden, sickening crack rises from the asphalt between your feet. You groan and bend to scoop up your phone, a spider web of cracks now covering its face. It rattles when you shake it beside your ear. Sounds expensive.

Luckily for you, residing in your wallet is a credit card with a perk made for this exact scenario. Certain cards have the somewhat unique perk of cell phone protection — plans that will protect your phone against severe damage and theft, as long as you’re paying your phone bill with the card.

The Best Credit Cards With Cell Phone Protection

If you’re in the market for cards that offer cell phone insurance, take a look at some of the better picks below. Otherwise, you can jump into how cell phone protection works and what situations it covers.

Card Per-Claim Coverage Deductible Maximum Claim and/or Number of Claims per 12 Month Period
Citi Prestige® Card (Review) $1,000 $50 $1,500; 2 claims
The Platinum Card® from American Express (Review) $800 $50 2 claims
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (Review) $800 $50 2 claims
Chase Freedom Flex℠ (Review) $800 $50 $1,000; 2 claims
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card (Review) $800 $50 $1,000; 2 claims
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (Review) $600 $100 3 claims

Citi Prestige® Card

Citi Prestige® Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
Annual Fee$495
Regular APR16.99%–23.99% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • 5X ThankYou points on Air travel and Restaurants
  • 3X ThankYou points on Hotels and Cruise Lines
  • No limit to the amount of points you can earn
  • Rewards never expire
  • $250 travel credit
  • Complimentary 4th night free on eligible hotel stays, capped at twice per year
  • Complimentary Priority Pass Select membership
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ Application Fee Credit
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $495 annual fee

Citi is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

Why We Picked It

The Citi Prestige® Card (Review) is an all-around solid travel rewards credit card, and one of the few that offers cell phone protection.

The first cards mentioned here have some of the highest coverage plans, but this one boasts the highest. It provides up to $1,000 per claim with a maximum of two claims per year. But be aware your claims can’t exceed more than $1,500 in a 12-month period, and there’ll be a $50 deductible.

The Prestige has an annual fee of $495, but it also features an annual $250 travel credit and Priority Pass Select membership that help mitigate the fee. It’s a pretty rewarding option, offering 5X ThankYou points per dollar for airfare and dining, 3X points for hotels and cruises, and 1X point for all other purchases.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee$550
Regular APRSee Pay Over Time APR
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties . Learn More.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

Why We Picked It

The Platinum Card® from American Express (Review) has always been a top-notch travel card but Amex recently added cell phone protection to the list of reasons to apply.

The coverage here is pretty standard: Stolen and damaged phones are covered as long as you pay the bill with this card. You’re covered up to $800 per claim, with a $50 deductible, and you can make two claims per 12 months.

The Platinum card offers one of the most extensive benefits packages you’ll find. That includes the best airport lounge access on a card, including the typical Priority Pass Select membership along with Amex’s Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs, and more. You’ll get a variety of perks to help offset the annual fee, elite hotel statuses, and high point multipliers for travel. What’s not to love?

Insider tip

The business version of this card — The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (Review) — has the same cell phone protection. The Centurion® Card from American Express (Review) does too, but good luck getting that one.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelExcellent
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee$550
Regular APR15.74% - 24.74% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Complimentary access into the Delta SkyClubs® for you when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge when you book your Delta flight with your Reserve Card.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Why We Picked It

An excellent option for Delta enthusiasts, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (Review) has a lot to offer the frequent flyer.

It recently gained cell phone protection, under the same terms as other Amex cards (as of publication): $800 per claim, with a $50 deductible, and up to two claims per 12 months.

Cardholders also get a recently-improved license to lounge: Along with Delta Sky Clubs, access to Centurion Lounges is now included. You can fly with a companion for free each year after your cardmember anniversary, you get free checked bags and priority boarding, and you’ll earn miles fast with 3X for Delta purchases.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Min. credit levelGood
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR14.99% - 23.74% Variable

Why We Picked It

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ (Review) is one of the more rewarding cards that features this benefit. It has no annual fee and boasts both a varied and versatile rewards program.

Its cell phone insurance perk covers up to $800 per claim and you can make up to two claims per year. However, the deductible is also higher, sitting at $50. The max you can claim per year is $1,000.

The Freedom Flex earns 5% cash back on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, Lyft rides (through March 2022) and in quarterly rotating categories, up to $1,500 spent per quarter. It also earns 3% cash back at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% everywhere else. So as you can see, it covers quite a bit of ground.

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
Annual Fee$89
Regular APR15.99% - 22.99% Variable

Why We Picked It

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card (Review) is a co-branded hotel credit card, in this case with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG). In addition to cell phone protection, it also provides strong rewards at IHG hotels.

The cell phone coverage provides $800 per claim, with two claims per year up to a maximum of $1,000 in 12 months with a $50 deductible.

Earning 25X points per dollar at IHG properties, assuming your points are worth 0.6–1 cent, you’d receive a cash back equivalent of around 15%–25%. Along with that high rate, you’ll gain access to some nice perks like a free night stay, automatic Platinum Elite Status enrollment, and a fourth night free when you redeem for four nights or more.

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR14.49%-24.99% Variable

Why We Picked It

The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card (Learn More) (Review) is a decent flat-rate cash back credit card. There aren’t any categories to keep an eye on, so it’s a pretty simple reward experience.

The cell phone protection that comes with the Cash Wise is pretty par for the course. You’ll be covered for $600 per claim, with a maximum of two claims per year, up to $1,200. That’s the average coverage plan most credit cards carry, with a $25 deductible.

This card earns 1.5% cash back for all purchases, with a small boost to 1.8% in the first year if you utilize digital wallets like Apple Pay or Google Pay. There’s a welcome bonus that’s fairly easy to reach, and a number of shopping and travel protections attached in addition to cell phone protection. These include travel accident insurance and extended warranty.

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelExcellent
Details
Annual Fee$95
Regular APR15.99%-20.99% Variable

Why We Picked It

The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (Review) is one of the few business cards that features cell phone protection.

You’ll be allotted up to $600 per claim with a max of $1,800 per year, and unlike most cards, you’ll be allowed three claims annually. However, there’ll be a $100 deductible, which is higher than most coverage providers ask.

This card offers 5X points per dollar on Lyft rides (through March 2022), and 3X points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent annually for:

  • Travel
  • Internet, cable, and phone services
  • Advertisement purchases made with social media and search engines
  • Shipping

You can transfer your points to Chase’s travel partners where you could find more value, or redeem them through Chase Ultimate Rewards for travel expenses for a 25% bonus.

How Does Cell Phone Protection Work?

Cell phone protection will help repair or replace your phone in the event of severe damage or theft.

The first step is to pay your monthly phone bill with your card. That’s the only way you’ll be able to benefit from cell phone protection should anything befall your phone.

Be aware, you’ll need to alert your coverage provider within a select number of days (could be 60 or more) of the damage or theft, and then you’ll have another set time period (could be 90 days or more) to submit the required information for your claim. You’ll have to check the terms of your coverage to be sure.

In order to begin filing a claim, take a look at the table below to find the necessary contact information as per your card issuer or network:

If you’re not filing online, your coverage provider will send you the appropriate claim forms to fill out and send back. In addition, there are a few more documents you’ll be required to submit when filing a claim, either online or otherwise.

These may include:

  • Your latest credit card statement reflecting your monthly phone bill payment
  • Your latest phone bill that corresponds with the credit card statement you provided
  • Appropriate proof of purchase for the cell phone, either the receipt or another form as deemed appropriate by your benefit administrator
  • If claiming damage, a repair estimate from a qualifying cell phone repair shop or insurance provider, plus photos of the damage
  • If claiming theft, a copy of the police report; in some cases, the report must be filed no more than 48 hours after the incident

In some cases, you may be required to provide additional documentation, like a copy of your device summary page or potentially even the cell phone itself.

Once you file a claim, you’ll be subject to a deductible which is determined by your coverage provider. It could be anywhere from $25 to $100.

Follow the instructions of your benefit administrator, and you should be able to get your phone repaired or replaced in due course.

What Does Cell Phone Protection Cover?

In most cases, no matter if the insurance policy is provided by the network or the card issuer (as it is with the Wells Fargo cards), your insurance will not cover lost phones or cosmetic damage.

Phones must be proven to have been stolen in front of a trusted witness, either yourself or a close friend or family member. If your phone is taken from your luggage or baggage that isn’t in your sight, your phone won’t be covered. If your phone has “mysteriously disappeared” it will not qualify for coverage. Once more, you need to prove that your phone was stolen.

It’s important to note that you’ll be required to file a police report if your card has been stolen, and submit it with your claim. For coverage provided by Visa or Mastercard, you’ll need to file a report within 48 hours of the crime.

If your phone is damaged but can still make and receive calls, or any of its other primary functions aren’t impaired, you won’t qualify for coverage. Cell phone accessories aren’t covered. And, if you’re currently using a prepaid or pay-as-you-go service, unfortunately, you won’t be able to benefit from coverage either. The same holds true for borrowed or rented phones.

Cell phone protection from your credit card won’t automatically replace any pre-existing plan you might already be paying for. The coverage provided by credit cards is typically supplemental, meaning it will reimburse you for things not covered by other plans, or primary plans. So if the plan you’re currently paying for covers lost phones or other situations credit card cell phone protection doesn’t cover, it wouldn’t hurt to use both.

Insider tip

Authorized users will likely benefit from this perk. However, that may not always be true. Check your Guide to Benefits to find out, but typically the authorized user is counted as an eligible cardholder and can therefore benefit from the coverage. Restrictions are defined within your guide, but it’s not always easy to understand. If you need help, reach out to customer support.

How Do I Know If My Card Has Cell Phone Protection?

Look through your Guide to Benefits that came with your card. But if you, like most people (myself included), don’t have that handy, there are other ways to find out. You can check your online account to see your card benefits in some cases, or contact customer support otherwise.

The Most Important Terms to Look For

The key cell phone protection terms to look out for in your Guide to Benefits are:

  • The amount you’re covered by for each claim
  • The deductible you’ll be responsible for
  • The number of claims you can make per year

Who Provides My Cell Phone Protection?

The coverage is provided by a third party, typically set up by your card’s network, such as Mastercard or Visa, but in some cases it’s set up by the credit card issuer. For example, Wells Fargo supplies cell phone protection for most of its consumer credit cards. In any case, it’s up to the card issuer to decide whether or not the benefit comes with any particular card.

Keep in mind not every Mastercard, Visa, or Wells Fargo card will feature this perk.

Should You Use Auto-Pay for Your Phone Bill?

Some cell phone service providers, like Verizon and AT&T, offer auto-pay discounts for your monthly cell phone bill. Usually, these range from $5 to $10. Not only will this save you a little money, but if you pay with an eligible credit card, it’ll also make it easy to benefit from your card’s cell phone protection.

However, Verizon won’t apply the auto-pay discount if you’re using a credit card (with one exception). In order to qualify for the discount, you’d need to opt in for paper-free billing and set up auto-pay via debit card or bank account. You can still use a credit card, you just won’t save on your monthly bill.

The exception, of course, is Verizon’s own credit card. You can use your Verizon Visa® Card for auto-pay to get the Verizon discount, though it doesn’t offer cell phone protection.

The discount may not seem like much when weighed against potentially breaking your $600+ iPhone, but if you’re not a clumsy person or like to gamble, saving $5–$10 each month might prove the more useful route.

But that discount isn’t your only way of saving money on your phone bill. If the credit card you’re using earns rewards, you’ll get points or cash back for paying your bill. So if you have a card like the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card (Learn More) (Review), which earns 1.5% cash back on phone bills, you’d still earn a little back despite not qualifying for the Verizon discount, and your phone would be covered.

Quick Guide

How To Protect Your Phone Without Cell Phone Insurance

Even if none of your current credit cards have cell phone insurance, there are still other perks that might help.

Purchase protection insures your purchases against loss, damage, and theft for anywhere from 90 to 120 days. If anything happens to something you buy, including a new cell phone, your card provider might reimburse you.

Extended warranty, as the name suggests, will extend a manufacturer’s warranty by a certain amount, usually anywhere from six months to a year or more. So if you have a warranty and damage your phone within the extended timeframe, you might be in the clear.

Return protection could help if you just bought a cell phone and there’s something wrong with it, or you’ve decided against the purchase. If the original seller won’t take the phone back, your credit card might reimburse you for the cost. You’ll usually have to send the product to the address your benefit provider gives you within 90 days, or in some cases, more.

As stated above, cell phone protection doesn’t cover phones stolen from luggage that’s out of sight, like on a plane or a train or elsewhere. However, if your card has lost luggage reimbursement, you might be able to recoup the loss.

More Credit Cards With Cell Phone Protection

The coverage varies from card to card, depending on the network or issuer that supplies the insurance.

Mastercard provides anywhere from $600–$1,000 depending on the card, Visa coverage typically offers $600 per card, and Wells Fargo also provides $600 in coverage for its cards.

Along with the cards above, take a look at a wider collection of valuable credit cards that offer this benefit, and their various coverage amounts:

Card Network/Issuer Per-Claim Coverage Deductible Maximum Annual Claim and/or Number of Claims
IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card (Review) Mastercard/Chase $600 $50 $1,000; 2 claims
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard® Credit Card Mastercard/HSBC $800 $50 $1,000; 2 claims
HSBC Premier World Mastercard® Credit Card Mastercard/HSBC $600 $50 $1,000; 2 claims
HSBC Advance Mastercard® Credit Card Mastercard/HSBC $600 $25 $1,000; 2 claims
Mastercard® Black Card™ (Review) Mastercard/Luxury Card $800 $55 $1,000; 2 claims
Deserve Pro Mastercard (Review) Mastercard/Deserve $600 $50 $1,000
Deserve Edu Mastercard (Review) Mastercard/Deserve $600 $50 $1,000
Wells Fargo Platinum card (Learn More) (Review) Visa/Wells Fargo $600 $25 $1,200; 2 claims
Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Card Visa/Wells Fargo $600 $25 $1,200; 2 claims
Wells Fargo Rewards Card Visa/Wells Fargo $600 $25 $1,200; 2 claims
Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card Visa/Wells Fargo $600 $25 $1,200; 2 claims
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card (Review) American Express/Wells Fargo $600 $25 $1,200; 2 claims
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card (Review) Visa/U.S. Bank $600 $25 $1,200; 2 claims
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For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, please click here.

Written by

Evan Zimmer

Evan graduated from SUNY Oswego with a degree in journalism and creative writing. In his professional writing career, he strives for precision and comprehension in his work. He’s written news articles, blog posts, and copy, working across a slew of different mediums. With in-depth research and great care for accuracy and detail, he now works to bring you the most up-to-date credit information.

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