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Mobile phone insurance - Buyer Guide Safely insured

07 January 2002
Written by Lilian Lim

You can never be too safe with your items. Especially mobile phones. With the advent of these handy “helpers” getting smaller by the minute, it is essential that the eyes are always on these little things.

However, we are only humans, and we don’t have eyes behind our heads. Losing the mobile phone is annoying - let alone having it stolen or damaged. That great phone you for free when you connected to a contract call plan could cost more than you’d ever needed to pay to replace, and that’s not including the call charges that the thief makes on your phone while it was lost of stolen.

A few things that you are actually liable to oblige to if your phone gets stolen:

  • Whatever contractual obligations (think the contract call plan) will still have to be met. The monthly access fees will still have to be paid, even though the phone’s not there;
  • The unauthorised calls made from the stolen phone; and
  • If you cancel your service whilst still under the contract because you no longer have the phone to use, cancellation fees will still incur, and your mobile number will be lost.

Bummer eh?

Well, lucky for us, the beautiful people at the mobile phone companies are helping us be the “eyes” of our little friends. Insurance. Yes - covers for your mobile phones. Pretty nifty, especially if you’re one who just forgets where you left your mobile phone the last time you were at that bar!

From Vodafone to Virgin Mobile, insurance is an option, but if you were me, I’ll have that option tied with my mobile phone anytime. Most of the companies offer insurance covers for mobile phones from about AUD$6.30, payable one month in advance for each month of cover.

Optus has three flexible (and comprehensive) plans to offer, and they are outlined as below:

     
SafeGuard Basic
(Excludes CDMA)
SafeGuard Essential SafeGuard Business
Monthly Charges $3.95 $7.04 $10.10
Claims covered Theft, accidental loss of damage Theft, accidental loss or damage Theft, accidental loss, damage or electronic breakdown/failure
Geographic coverage National National International
Limit of liability* $220 $1,650 $3,300
Contractual obligations* N/A Up to $440 Up to $660
Unauthorised calls* N/A Up to $550 Up to $825
Cover for accessories N/A Yes Yes
Excesses
Repair N/A $50 $50
Replacement $50 all claims $100** $100**

*Liability amounts are GST inclusive. If you are registered for GST any cash settlement amount will be adjusted by the extent to which you are entitled to claim a full or partial Input Tax Credit on your SafeGuard premium.
**If insurance clam is within the first 3 months of insurance cover, an additional $65 is payable by the claimant. For second and subsequent claims within any 12 month period, an additional $75 is payable.

Optus provides for an extra bonus for staying insured as a further reduction on the general excess level is offered to customers who have continuous insurance cover for greater than 12 months.

12 - 24 months: $75 excess payable (normally $100)
24 months or more: $nil excess payable (normally $100)

For further information, please call 1300 367 848 or visit: http://www.optus.com.au/Vign/ViewMgmt/display/0,2627,1023_4263-3_6818--View_258,00.html

Vodafone, Virgin Mobile and Telstra have their own monthly premium payments for the coverage of phones. For more information, visit any of their outlets and enquire about them.

For all covers, it will protect you for both the loss and damage of the phone, as well as for unauthorised calls. However, a word of caution - do read the terms and conditions offered by the companies on their coverage as each pays differently for the losses incurred.

Prevention

Nothing beats having to prevent having your mobiles lost or stolen. Yes, the insurance may cover for a new phone, but you would have lost your number, your contact list, and what more - the text messages (or SMS) you may have saved up on the phone. Therefore, these are a few tips we here at iMobile think you should do these few things for extra precaution.

Set a PIN - All mobile phones have a PIN (Personal Identification Number­) code which is supplied when you get the phone. This is usually “0000”. Make sure that you change this PIN and leave it activated so that whenever the phone is switched on, it will ask for the code. This will prevent the thief or any unauthorised person using your phone (as it will ask for the code only known to you).

However, in case of a loss of theft of your mobile phone:

  • Report the loss or theft to your service provider

    - As soon as it has been notified, your service provider will temporarily suspend services to prevent unauthorised use of your phone. If services are not suspended, you will be liable for any unauthorised calls.
  • Report the loss or the theft to the police

    - Give the police full details of when and where it was lost or stolen, plus the phone’s make and model number, along with its serial number (also referred to as an IMEI). This number will usually appear on the box of the phone you purchased.

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