It's not always bad news when a bank makes changes to its credit card benefits. One such new benefit just helped my family save $350 after dropping and breaking a cell phone.
Back in April, American Express added cell phone protection insurance to many of their best U.S. consumer and small business travel credit cards, from the top-of-the-line Platinum Card® from American Express to even some co-branded credit cards like the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card. Just by paying your wireless phone bill with one of these cards, you'll be covered in the event of damage – including cracked screens or even if your phone is stolen.
American Express will reimburse the cost of repair or replacement for up to two approved claims for a maximum of $800 per claim or $1,600 over a 12-month period. Coverage for a Stolen or damaged Eligible Cellular Wireless Telephone is subject to the terms, conditions, exclusions, and limits of liability of this benefit. Each claim is subject to a $50 deductible. Coverage is limited to two claims per Eligible Card Account per 12-month period.
On paper, this all sounds great. But what is the experience like in practice? Do they make you jump through a crazy amount of hoops to get compensated? When my father-in-law dropped his cell phone and the screen shattered last month, we had a chance to give this new coverage a try since I pay our joint phone bill on my Business Platinum Card® from American Express.
Here's how it worked. Spoiler alert: I was impressed.
Filing A Phone Insurance Claim with American Express
After my father-in-law's phone shattered and broke, I remembered I had switched my phone bill to my Business Platinum Card for just this reason. After reading through the terms of the cell phone insurance coverage, I called the number on the back of my card.
Within a few minutes, the American Express representative confirmed that I should be eligible for insurance coverage and started a claim for me. Within about five minutes, I had an email from AIG Claims – the company that handles this coverage for American Express – with a claim number and all of the instructions on what I needed to do to proceed with my claim.
To move forward, I needed to reply to the email with the following information for AIG:
- My Amex billing statement to prove that I used my Business Platinum Card to pay my phone bill in the month prior to the incident (which was October 2021).
- My wireless phone bill. I needed to provide my bill for the current month (November), and the prior month (October) to prove that my father-in-law's phone number was associated with my wireless service account.
- Receipt of the purchased cellular phone. Since my father-in-law had already purchased a replacement device, I needed to provide a receipt for that transaction.
- A Repair Estimate for the damaged phone. Being my father-in-law's phone was damaged and not stolen, AIG required a repair estimate to see if the phone was salvageable.
- Claim Forms. There were a few attached forms to the initial email that were mostly just administrative. In total it took about 10 minutes to fill these out.
AIG's Phone Insurance Resolution
After gathering all of these documents, I submitted them in an email reply on Dec. 6. A few weeks passed and I had not heard anything – in fact, I had pretty much forgotten about the whole thing.
Then on Dec. 22, AIG responded to my email claim with the following message:
Since the repair estimate for my father-in-law's old phone came in at $399.99, AIG paid out that amount of money after subtracting the $50 deductible. Since his phone was over five years old, it would have made little sense to actually repair the device – a brand new phone only cost him $600.
If it had been determined that the phone was not repairable, it's likely that the claim amount would have covered the entire $600 purchase – again, minus the $50 deductible. Remember, Amex's coverage covers up to $800 per claim.
Either way, the process was much easier than I was expecting. Best of all, my father-in-law got $349.99 back in his pocket after buying a brand new Samsung Galaxy S21 for $600.
Things to Consider
As great as this sounds, there are things you will want to consider before rushing to change your payment method on your wireless phone bill to a credit card that provides insurance protection.
First and foremost, if you are a Verizon wireless customer, you'll get a $10 discount each month if you set up auto-pay and pay with a bank account or debit card. That mean's to pay with a credit card, you'll pay an extra $120 a year for your wireless service bill.
To my knowledge, Verizon is the only major wireless provider that does this. At $10 a month or $120 a year, it may be worth it for phone insurance coverage. Still, it's something to be aware of.
It's not all bad news, though. Thanks to some recent updates to the Business Platinum Card, it now provides a $10 monthly credit ($120 each year) for paying your phone bill with the card. If you have the card, that can easily offset your fee if you are a Verizon customer.
Next, if you already have some sort of insurance protection on your device, whether that's from the wireless service provider or from the phone manufacturer (like AppleCare), this insurance won't be valid. Claims will only be paid out if you don't have pre-existing coverage.
What Credit Cards Offer Cell Phone Insurance Protection?
As mentioned above, American Express added this as a card benefit in April. The following cards from Amex include this benefit.
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- The Business Platinum® Card from American Express
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card
- Centurion Card from American Express (invite only)
- Business Centurion Card from American Express (invite only)
But American Express isn't the only bank offering this type of mobile device protection.
The brand new Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offers the exact same insurance protection as the American Express cards mentioned above. You'll get reimbursed the cost of repair or replacement for up to two approved claims for a maximum of $800 per claim or $1,600 over a 12-month period.
Click Here to learn more about the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Chase Bank also has a few cards offering cell phone insurance protection. The Chase Ink Preferred Credit Card will offer $1,000 per claim, with a maximum of three claims in a 12 month period with a $100 deductible per claim.
Then there is the Chase Freedom Flex. A no annual fee card that offers up to $800 per claim and up to $1,000 a year for phone protection coverage. You can make a maximum of two claims in a 12-month period.
There are a number of credit cards offering cell phone protection insurance. It's a benefit I really hadn't thought about until I had to use it.
And by putting in about 30 minutes worth of work, our family is getting $350 back in our pockets simply by paying our wireless phone bill with my Amex Business Platinum Card.
I have Verizon, a business account, and I don’t have to pay $10/month to use a credit card. I do have to call it in each month and do over automated system and not with a person however. Just for your information so you guys know.
Thank you! I didn’t realize that was an option on Verizon business accounts.
Are authorized users allowed to use this benefit?
As long as your card is used to pay your wireless bill and your number is associated with that wireless account.
I have Mint Mobile as my wireless provider and I’m on a prepaid plan, so I pay once every 6 months or every 12 months. Would I be covered if I paid with my Amex Platinum?
I don’t see why not. The requirement is just that you pay with your Amex card that offers coverage
Do you have to pay your entire monthly bill with the Amex card in order to qualify for the insurance coverage? I split my AT&T monthly bill between 2 credit cards.
Not entirely clear on that. I do know that they wanted to ensure the amount on the wireless bill matched the amount on the Amex bill. So that may cause issues, but it’s unclear if that would disqualify you from coverage.
Most card benefits I’ve looked at(Wells Fargo propel, and a few chase cards) disqualify you if you have homeowners insurance(well they make this cell insurance secondary at any rate which, combined with HO deductible and no homeowner wanting to make a claim over $600 against home insurance, effectively renders the benefit unusable unless you are renting). Is that specific not in the terms or just not enforced with Amex?
Haven’t seen anything about that. I’m a homeowner so if that’s in the policy, it’s not being enforced
Old reply, I know, but the Terms and Conditions mention that you will need to submit a copy of your Homeowners/Renters/Auto Insurance Declaration in the case that the claim is under the deductible for that. I’d just make sure your deductible is over $850
Verizon does not charge anything extra for using a cc to pay your bill. They do provide a $10 discount I you auto pay through your bank account. Your article should state, should you currently take advantage of the $10 auto pay discount you will not be eligible for this if you choose to pay by CC.
I have adjusted this language to call it a discount instead of a $10 fee. No matter what you call it, you’ll pay an extra $120 per line per year to pay your bill with a card.
I used this benefit 2 months ago and the process was very easy.
Waiting weeks for resolution and chasing down multiple documents to file a claim does not seem like an “impressive” experience.
What am I missing?
This took 30 minutes of my time for insurance coverage I do not pay for. I simply get it for being an Amex Business Platinum Cardholder. Because I don’t pay for it, I assumed I would have to jump through a lot of hoops and likely not get anything paid out. The $350 was worth my time.
Where did you get the repair estimate?
My father-in-law got it done at a small cell phone and electronics repair shop by his house. I imagine Best Buy, and other phone retailers could provide a similar estimate.
You can still save $10 per month at Verizon. have debit card on file for payment but pay by phone with amex before bill is due each month. I’ve been doing this for the pay 6 months.
The Chase Freedom Flex has the same coverage with no annual fee which is a nice option for students or people starting out to build their credit.
Thanks for sharing your experience!
Anyone have recent data points about using the AmEx cell phone protection with Google Fi? I’ve heard that – at least in the past – Google Fi charges haven’t coded as a qualifying wireless service.
Your article incorrectly states Chase ink benefit. It’s $1000 within a rolling 12 month
Thank you for pointing that out, Jeff. I have updated this.
Any clue if this benefits includes overseas? I’m stationed in Germany and have a German cell service.
Hey Jeremy. I am not sure if a German carrier would be covered. I would suggest calling Amex and seeing what they have to say.
any luck in finding out Jeremy?
Thanks for writing this article.
Do you know which carriers are covered? I couldn’t find a list in AmEx benefits guides.
Will unlocked carriers like Mint, etc. be covered?
I don’t know that for sure. I’d call Amex to verify your carrier will have coverage
Cool to see that it covered a non-cardholder like your father in law just because it was on your bill! Canceling my $9/month per line AT&T insurance for my wife and I and just depending on this. We’ve been paying it for like 3 years without a claim, brutal!
Do have to pay the entire bill with the card or only a portion? I Read their terms and conditions and it simply says “…on a wireless bill that is paid by an eligible card…”. The wording for other coverage the card provides says things like “when you purchase the entire fare” and “…and pay for the Entire Rental…”So the lack of specifically stating the entire bill must be paid, seems like it doesn’t to me but I am no lawyer. Just asking because I earn 5x point for paying my cell bill with my Chase Ink card.
Hi Chris, I don’t know Amex’s policy on this. It may be worth a question if you are interested. I agree that the lack of stating the entire bill must be paid on the card is interesting and leaves this open to interpretation.
Does this count MVNO’s? You’d have to pay in advance/prepaid cell phone bill, would that count towards monthly bill for cell phone insurance?
What was the damage on the phone of your father in law? Do you know what is covered? Is it malfunction or physical damage? I called them and they said there is no definition of damage so have to submit the claim and the adjuster will decide. Kind of weird, dont you think so?
It was physical damage to the screen, making it unusable. Not weird, that was the process for us as well. We had to get a quote for repair which is what we ultimately got
My experience with a cracked screen claim with AIG through Amex was a total fiasco…not sure how it only took you 30 min to fill out the required four forms, scan in two months of cell phone bills (with personal information blacked out) and scan in two months of Amex bills showing your carrier’s charges, but for me, it was over an hour. After 2 weeks of waiting for a response I called Amex to complain about the lack of a response and I immediately received a call from AIG saying “our processing time for a cell phone claim is 4 to 6 weeks”. The process is beyond ridiculous and Amex ought to be ashamed for touting this as a “benefit” when it’s actually a customer disservice.
I am having the same experience as Mike. I have the AIG protection through American Express. It is July 30, 2022. I started my claim on April 1, 2022. The initial forms came through nice and quickly. However, since submitting my volumes of information, I haven’t been able to get a response from neither my adjuster, nor their “arranged supervisor call back” within 24-48 hours on three separate occasions. The service and response has been terrible for me and not worth the time. I am less than impressed and have tried to reach out to American Express to express my dissatisfaction. I would love to know which line Mike contacted for a response.
I had a recent experience with my daughter’s phone.. through Wells Fargo’s coverage. I was QUITE impressed. My daughter dropped her phone and when we went back, it was gone. I filed a claim through my credit card benefits. There were a lot of docs such as my Serial Number, Cell phone bill, proof from cell phone provider I reported it as lost/stolen. Etc. If they needed additional info, they called me. It took almost 3 weeks because some emails went to spam, but after sending final docs, they wired me $600 to replace the phone… even $100 more than I initially asked. The wire was done on Friday and I had the money Monday. My experience was wonderful.
Had terrible experience with this and aig, no way to track, numerous calls, resubmit numerous doc all to hear since on sprint and pay a fixed amount each month for 24 months on the phone it is considered rented or leased so will not cover, this only works if the phone is paid in full. will go back to apple care or geek squad care on all subsequent phones.
dont risk not being covered unless you own the phone outright
Is insurance coverage for stolen or damaged only, or lost phones too?
To my knowledge, stolen or damaged only. If stolen, you’ll need to provide a police report, and if damaged, you’ll have to provide a repair estimate for the damage as part of the required documentation.
Things must have really gone downhill since this article was written. I have tried calling their claim number on three sparate occasions and been on hold for over an hour each time never reaching anyone. . . I have reached out to Amex who has been of no help other than reiterating the phone number to call.
My experience has been the same though my five phone calls to American Express to see if they had another method have been exceptionally comedic. First I was given a link to other benefits, then I was transferred to the same number, then I was emailed a link to a general description, then I was transferred to the same number, then I was told I would be transferred to the same number.
Yes same here. Five calls to Amex for an online method of filing the claim resulted in five different comedy skits.
I am a long time Amex Platinum holder. I was excited to see this benefit HOWEVER my experience after submitting a claim was very DISAPPOINTIING. In my experience it seems they have created a process to frustrate the claimant to throw in the towel and give up on the process. Phone insurance through the carrier is ridiculously expense but very easy to use when needed. Amex/AIG coverage is extremely time consuming, customer unfriendly and in my case 90 days and counting. Very unhappy with this process.