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