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It’s easy to overlook credit card ancillary benefits, but trip delay protection, delayed/lost baggage reimbursement, concierge services and rental car collision damage waivers are some of the valuable perks that come with select credit cards.

Today, we’ll be digging into another little-known benefit — automatic cell phone protection — a perk that can prevent you from having to buy a new $600+ smartphone in case of clumsiness, bad luck or mechanical malfunction proves Murphy’s Law correct. Other credit card protections such as extended warranty protection and purchase protection can cover you when you buy a new cell phone with select credit cards.

Image by praetorianphoto via Getty Images.
Image by praetorianphoto via Getty Images.

But here we’re focusing on the protection provided by select credit cards when you pay your cell phone bill with the card. Note that in April 2019, Mastercard added cell phone insurance to all World and World Elite cards, but for the sake of this article, we’ll only focus on one no-fee, mid-tier and premium version of each card.

Card Coverage/Deductible  Notable Exclusions Earn rate on cell phone bill Annual Fee
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card Up to $600 per claim, $1,800 per 12-month period/$100 deductible Lost phones 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points* $95
Citi Prestige Card Up to $1,000 per claim, $1,500 per 12-month period/$50 deductible Cosmetic damage that doesn’t affect phone’s ability to function, lost phones 1 Citi point per dollar $495
Citi Premier Card Up to $800 per claim, $1,000 per 12-month period/$50 deductible Cosmetic damage that doesn’t affect phone’s ability to function, lost phones 1 Citi point per dollar $95
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card Up to $600 per claim, $1,000 per 12-month period/$50 deductible Cosmetic damage that doesn’t affect phone’s ability to function, lost phones 1% cash back $0
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card Up to $600 per claim, $1,200 per 12-month period/$25 deductible Lost phones 1 point per dollar $0
Uber Visa Up to $600 per claim, $1,200 per 12-month period/$25 deductible Lost phones 1% cash back $0
U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card Up to $600 per claim, $1,200 per 12-month period Lost phones None $0

*on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year in the categories of travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)

On top of offering 3 points per dollar when you use the card to pay your monthly bill, the Ink Business Preferred from Chase protects your phone and any eligible phones listed on the same bill with supplemental protection. That means damage may be covered, assuming the phone is not listed on any insurance policy from the provider or on your personal home/valuable property insurance.

This protection is subject to a $100 deductible per claim and a maximum of three claims per 12-month period. The maximum benefit limit is $600 per claim and $1,800 per 12-month period. The protection covers damage and theft.

As per Chase, it does not cover:

  • Cellular wireless telephone accessories other than standard battery and/or standard antenna provided by the manufacturer.
  • Cellular wireless telephone purchased for resale.
  • Cellular wireless telephones that are lost or “mysteriously disappear.” “Mysterious disappearance” means the vanishing of an item in an unexplained manner where there is absence of evidence of a wrongful act by a person or persons.
  • Cellular wireless telephone under the care and control of a common carrier (including, but not limited to, US Postal Service, airplanes, or delivery service).
  • Cellular wireless telephone stolen from baggage unless hand-carried and under Your personal supervision, or under the supervision of Your traveling companion who is previously known to You.
  • Cellular wireless telephone which has been rented, leased, borrowed or cellular wireless telephones that are received as part of a pre-paid wireless service plan or “pay as you go” type service plans. Cosmetic damage to the cellular wireless telephone or damage that does not impact the cellular wireless telephone’s capabilities and functionalities of the phone.
  • Damage or theft resulting from abuse, intentional acts, fraud, hostilities of any kind (including, but not limited to, war, invasion, rebellion, or insurrection), confiscation by the authorities, risks of contraband, illegal activities, normal wear and tear, flood, earthquake, radioactive contamination, or damage from inherent product defects.
  • Damage or theft resulting from misdelivery or voluntary parting with the cellular wireless telephone.
  • Replacement cellular wireless telephone not purchased from a cellular service provider’s retail or Internet store, (for example: Verizon Wireless, Sprint Wireless, etc.) or from an authorized cellular phone retailer.
  • Taxes, delivery and transportation charges, and any fees associated with the cellular service provider.

You must file a claim within 60 days of the incident and provide all required documentation for the claim within 90 days of the incident in order to avoid claim denial. You can go to page 48 of your Chase Ink Business Preferred benefits guide to read all the fine print for the protection.

Citi Prestige

(Image by The Points Guy)

This premium card offers a cell phone protection benefit above the usual Mastercard World Elite coverage maximum. The benefit is for up to five phones when you pay their monthly bill with the card. You’ll get up to $1,000 per claim and up to $1,500 per 12-month period, and there’s a $50 deductible.

This coverage doesn’t apply to phones that are lost or mysteriously disappear (though theft is covered), and you won’t be covered if your cell phone’s damage is merely cosmetic, “including minor screen cracks and fractures less than 2 inches in length that do not prevent the ability to make or receive phone calls or to use other features related to making or receiving phone calls.” Log in to your Citi account to read all the fine print about this coverage policy.

Citi Premier Card

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

As a a World Elite Mastercard, the Citi Premier comes with a cell phone protection benefit that covers damage or theft up to $800 — with a $50 deductible — up to $1,000 per 12-month period. This benefits protects your primary cell phone line and the first two secondary, additional or supplemental lines when you pay your cell phone bill every month with a World Elite Mastercard.

Unlike the protection offered by the Citi Prestige, similar to the Ink Business Preferred, the Mastercard protection does cover stolen or damaged mobile phones as well as cosmetic screen scratches, even if they don’t affect the ability to make or take a call.

Other World Elite Mastercards that offer the same level cell phone protection include:

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

The coverage provided by World Mastercards such as the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card is very similar to that offered by World Elite Mastercards, but with a lower maximum coverage amount per claim. It offers up to $600 per claim, with a $50 deductible, up to $1,000 per 12-month period.

As with World Elite Mastercards, World Mastercards do cover stolen devices and damaged devices, including those with cosmetic screen scratches that don’t affect your ability to make calls.

Other World Mastercards that offer the same level cell phone protection include:

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

The Wells Fargo Propel Amex includes cell phone protection — just pay your monthly cell bill with the card and get up to $600 in protection against covered damage or theft (subject to a $25 deductible). The protection policy doesn’t cover lost phones and there’s a maximum of two claims (up to $1,200) per 12-month period. Reimbursement is limited to the repair or replacement of your original cell phone. Coverage doesn’t apply to cell phones that are rented, borrowed or received as part of a prepaid plan. Electronic failure or issues related to the software of the device also aren’t covered. But, this protection is pretty great considering this card has no annual fee.

This coverage is also supplementary to any other insurance you may have for your phone, but may pay the deductible for other insurance. Make sure you read all of the fine print of the policy in order to ensure your claim is eligible for approval.

The following other Wells Fargo Credit Cards also offer cell phone protection:

  • Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
  • Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Card
  • Wells Fargo Rewards Card
  • Wells Fargo Platinum Card
  • Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card
  • Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card

The information for the Wells Fargo Visa, Wells Fargo Rewards, Wells Fargo Platinum, Wells Fargo Cash Back, and Wells Fargo Secured has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The Uber Visa Card

The Uber Visa Card offers 4% cash back on dining, 3% back on hotels and airfare and 2% back on online purchases without charging an annual fee. Plus, the Uber Visa Card provides up to $600 for mobile phone damage or theft when you charge your total monthly wireless telephone bill to your card. Theft, damage and involuntary and accidental parting of your cell phone are covered. Coverage is secondary, though, so you’ll need to file with any other applicable insurers first.

You’re covered up to $600 per claim after a $25 deductible, but coverage is only up to the suggested retail value of a replacement cell phone. You can only have two claims per 12-month period and these claims can total no more than $1,200. See your guide to benefits for complete details.

U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card

The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card includes a cell phone protection benefit that covers damage or theft up to $600, with a $25 deductible, for up to two claims ($1,200) per 12-month period. This benefits protects your primary cell phone line and any secondary, additional or supplemental lines when you pay your cell phone bill every month with your U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card. The secondary coverage provided by this card is similar to the coverage provided by the Wells Fargo Propel and the Uber Visa Card, but check your guide to benefits for full details.

Is It Worth it?

If you have a credit card that offers cell phone protection, it’s a no-brainer to use this card to pay your cell phone bill. This way you’ll have coverage for you and others on your plan without needing to pay your phone company for device coverage.

The Ink Business Preferred has a $100 deductible, but you’ll earn 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on cell phone bills. So, if your family has a $200 cell phone bill each month you’ll earn 7,200 Ultimate Rewards per year, which TPG values at $144. The other cards described in this article don’t feature bonus earning when you pay your cell phone bill, but some only charge a $25 deductible and don’t have an annual fee.

If you don’t currently have a credit card that offers cell phone coverage, you should evaluate whether the potential money saved by picking up a card that offers this protection and using it to pay your cell phone bill is worth foregoing the points you are currently earning by paying your cell phone bill with another credit card. After all, many of these cards don’t charge an annual fee and also offer solid bonus earning in other categories.

Bottom Line

Knowing you have coverage, with potentially only a $25 deductible, could really pay big dividends in case your expensive smartphone is damaged or stolen. Remember these policies are supplemental though, so the coverage provided by these credit cards will be most valuable if you don’t already have another type of insurance currently protecting your cell phone.

Additional reporting by Richard Kerr.

Featured image by praetorianphoto via Getty Images.

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Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION: $1,600

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 in combined spending on travel, shipping purchases,  internet, cable and phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
18.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

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