How I got my cracked iPhone replaced for just $54.20 by using the right credit card

Oct 12, 2019

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What would you do immediately after dropping your cellphone? Panic? Pray? Shout your favorite four-letter word? If you’re me, none of the above.

When I dropped my iPhone XS Max last week, I knew that accidental damage was covered by my credit card. In fact, I silently hoped that my screen cracked, just so I could test out the card’s cellphone protection. I’m thrilled to report that four days after my screen shattered, I was using a brand-new phone — for only $54.20, since there was too much damage to merely replace it.

So how did it work out this way?

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

To start, I’ve been paying my monthly Verizon bill with the no-annual-fee Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card. The card includes cellphone protection up to $600 per claim, with a $25 deductible. Other than excluding lost phones and only covering up to $1,200 in a 12-month period, there aren’t many other terms and conditions.

When my phone cracked, the first thing I did was look up the guide to benefits. After confirming that my cracked phone should fit in the policy, I headed straight to the claims website to file my claim.

The website asked for some basic details, including the phone’s make and model, serial number and date of purchase. I was then asked to upload some supporting documentation including recent credit card and Verizon statements, a screenshot of my online Verizon account showing the device associated with the account and a repair estimate.

It didn’t take me long to pull most of the required documentation. The only thing I didn’t have was a repair estimate, so I headed to the Apple Store to get a quote for the repair. Although my phone was covered by Apple’s one-year limited warranty, I hadn’t purchased AppleCare+ (Apple’s enhanced insurance that covers accidental damage), so my repair was considered out of warranty. After 15 minutes at the Genius Bar, the specialist printed out a repair estimate of $329 plus tax (minus the $25 deductible), well below the $600 per-claim maximum.

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 03: Boxes of the new iPhone X sit on a table at an Apple Store on November 3, 2017 in Palo Alto, California. The highly anticipated iPhone X went on sale around the world today. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Once back home, I scanned and uploaded the repair estimate and was told to wait five business days to hear a response.

Three and a half days later, I received an email with the subject line: “Your reimbursement is being processed.” I quickly logged onto the claims website and saw that my claim was approved for $304. Sweet.

I headed back to the Apple Store to get my phone replaced. The Genius Bar had already collected diagnostic information when I visited a few days earlier, so with a few quick taps, I had a brand new iPhone XS Max in my hands that $358.20 ($329 plus New York City tax),

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.)

This claims process is impressive. It took less than the promised five business days to hear a response and I didn’t even need to pick up the phone to file my claim. Sure, I had to endure three and a half days with a cracked screen, but that’s a small price to pay when I ultimately got my phone replaced for $54.20.

Related reading: Credit Cards That Cover Cell Phone Loss and Damage

In the end, accidents happen. Make sure to pay your cellphone bill with a credit card that offers cellphone protection and you’ll be covered when things go wrong. Through this process, I learned that there’s no need to buy expensive insurance from Apple or your wireless carrier. Just rely on your credit card coverage and you’ll be set if your phone has a tragic accident as mine did.

Featured image by Shutterstock

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

One of the most unique benefits of this card is that you can get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Propel Amex. This card is also a great option for gas purchases since you'll earn 3X points and the 30,000 point sign up bonus is worth $300 cash back.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 30,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that’s a $300 cash redemption value
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign currency conversion fee
  • Earn 3X points on eating out and ordering in
  • Earn 3X points on travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals
  • Earn 3X points on gas stations, rideshares and transit
  • Earn 3X points on popular streaming services
  • Earn 1X points on other purchases
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions
  • Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% for 12 months
Regular APR
15.49%-27.49% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0
Balance Transfer Fee
5%
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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