Bought a New iPhone? Don’t Lose It

What's Hot

2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

14 Ways to Maximize Your Social Security ChecksGrow

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

8 Ways to Take Control of Your Finances — and Be HappierGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

7 Free Sources of Manufacturer Coupons You Can Find OnlineSave

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

Fixing Your Credit? Do These 5 Things, Avoid These 3Credit & Debt

Replacing some things is expensive. Replacing others is complicated. Replacing an iPhone is both.

If you’re participating in the hoopla surrounding the much-awaited new release of the iPhone 4, here’s something to contemplate while waiting in line – If your new iPhone gets lost or stolen, it’s going to cost you up to $700 to replace it: more than the price of new home or many laptop computers.

While Apple is exceedingly accomplished at using media and advertising to create a cult following for its products, its not so great at revealing how much it costs to replace one. The cost for iPhones, for instance, is buried in barely legible print at the very bottom of this page of Apple’s website. Here’s the bad news:

  • $499 – 8GB iPhone 3GS
  • $599 – 16GB iPhone 4
  • $699 – 32GB iPhone 4

Insurance? Better than nothing – but not all that much.

Asurion is one company offering an insurance plan for the iPhone. It covers your phone if you lose it, it’s stolen, gets water damaged, etc. Cost? $12/month. Sounds good, until you get to the part about the deductible: $149 – $199 depending on the model.

You can already replace a damaged iPhone without insurance by going to the Apple Store and paying $199 (more on that below), so in the case of a damaged phone, the insurance isn’t helping much.

But if you lose your iPhone, or it gets stolen the first day you have it, the insurance is a good deal – you just saved up to $500 ($699 less $199). As with any insurance, however, the deal gets worse the longer you pay the premium. Lose your phone two years into your contract and you’re out $288 (24 months x $12) + $199: $487. That’s only saving you $212.

If that sounds like a good deal, you can sign up through their MobileProtect app in the app store within 30 days of purchasing.

Get a back-up phone

Last week I dropped my iPhone 3G in a swimming pool. Since that’s my only phone, not a happy scene. After waiting a few days to see if it would dry out and come back to life (no luck), I went to the Apple store for a replacement.

The good news? After fighting through the crowd, I found 3G replacements could be had for $199, as I explained above. The bad news? I couldn’t buy one because you had to have an appointment and the nearest appointment was three days away. I used a store computer and found they were also available on the Apple website – too bad the website was unable to process my transaction, presumably due to the heavy volume of Apple junkies clamoring for their next fix.

So I left the Apple store and went to the nearest AT&T store. I should have gone there first. While they didn’t have any replacement iPhones, they did have a perfectly functional, brand-new dumb cell phone (remember those?) that was only $50. I slid in my SIM card and was on my way in five minutes.

The best part? I just walked right in off the street – no crowd, no appointment necessary.

Now I’m not desperate. While the phone I’m using isn’t a status symbol, it will serve its primary purpose – making and receiving phone calls – while I decide whether to upgrade to iPhone 4, replace my water-logged 3G, try to buy a used 3G on eBay, or try something else entirely, like a non-cult product.

The lessons I learned from this experience I won’t soon forget, and neither should you.

  • That little computer you’re carrying around in your pocket is expensive to replace.
  • If you’re dealing with something from Apple, you’ll have extra issues resolving problems, especially if something goes wrong at the exact time another cult product is on the immediate horizon.
  • You should always have a replacement phone as a back-up: then if something goes wrong, you’ll be able to relax and carefully consider all your options rather than jumping at the first expensive fix you find.
  • Additional benefit of a back-up: If you’re going someplace where the odds increase of your smart-but-expensive phone getting lost, stolen or damaged (the pool, for instance) take your dumb-but-cheap phone.
Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: 5 Easy Ways to Save on Your Cell Phone Bill

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,990 more deals!