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How to choose the right business mobile phone insurance for you

If you run a small business, then a broken mobile phone could not only be annoying, but have a serious impact on your bottom line. Thankfully, Vodafone, EE, and O2 all offer business mobile phone insurance plans that will speedily fix/replace your phone if the worst happens. Take a look at our detailed comparison to discover which plan is right for you.

As mobile phones have evolved from mere communication devices to all-singing, all-dancing wonder machines, the impact that a broken phone can have on your business has grown exponentially. What’s more, as they become more sophisticated, the cost of repairing or replacing a phone has spiralled, with the latest models now costing over £1,000.

A broken phone is a surprisingly common occurrence, with a recent Mintel survey finding that 24% of UK smartphone owners had smashed their screen in the previous two years. Dropping your phone in water is a more serious risk and, with YouGov statistics showing that 57% of Brits use their phones on the loo, the number of phones broken by being dropped into toilets continues to increase steadily.

However it happens, breaking your personal phone is annoying enough, but incapacitating your business device could have serious financial consequences for your business. To guard against this risk, it’s a great idea to take out a business mobile phone insurance plan – and this should be a key factor in your choice of mobile business network.

Here, we compare business mobile phone insurance plans from the three major UK networks (Vodafone, EE, and O2), discussing the cost, coverage offered, and any special benefits.



Best business phone insurance providers

Just like any other insurance policy, there are a few key things you should bear in mind when choosing a mobile phone insurance plan. These are:

  • Cost – As with any purchase, the cost of an insurance policy is always going to have a significant influence on your decision. For business mobile phone insurance policies, this is typically given as cost per phone per month, but the standard price can vary according to the value of the phone(s) insured. There may also be discounts for larger businesses, so be sure to check this with the insurance provider.
  • Excess – The excess is the amount of money that you need to pay when you make a claim. This often has an inverse relationship with cost, so choosing a policy with a higher excess may lower the monthly cost of your plan. Your excess can also vary depending on the cost of the device that you need to claim for, so be sure to consider this when picking a plan.
  • Cover limitations – Make sure you know exactly what is and isn’t covered under your insurance plan. Important things to look out for include whether you’re covered worldwide or just in the UK, whether the policy covers theft/loss as well as damage, whether you can add authorised users for each device covered, and whether accessories are covered. Also examine whether there is a minimum contract length, or a maximum number of claims than can be made within a certain time period. There may also be eligibility restrictions – indeed, for all the plans discussed below, you must have a business phone plan with the relevant network.
  • Speed of replacement – How quickly a replacement phone can be sent to you should be a key consideration for small business owners who can’t afford to be out of touch for long. For pricier plans, next day delivery is common, while some providers are pushing the envelope and promising to get a replacement delivered within four hours. Alternatively, you might be able to reduce the monthly cost of your plan by choosing a plan with a longer replacement window, such as 3-5 days.
  • Special benefits – Some policies may come with special benefits designed to make them more appealing, such as a free gift.

Vodafone business phone insurance

Vodafone

Vodafone offers two basic business phone insurance plans: ‘Business Damage and Breakdown Insurance’, and ‘Business Standard Insurance’. These are broken down in detail below:

  • Business Damage and Breakdown Insurance – This is priced at £5 per device per month and essentially does what it says on the tin, covering your business phones against damage and out of warranty breakdown. The excess charge is £25 (£50 for Apple devices) and, as standard, you’ll receive a repaired/replacement phone within five days (if you need it quicker, you can add the Vodafone Rapid service discussed below). Unlimited worldwide cover is included as standard, as is authorised user cover. There is also £200 worth of accessories cover, provided the accessories were also purchased from Vodafone.
  • Business Standard Insurance – This plan offers all the benefits discussed above, plus cover for business phones that are lost or stolen, and is priced at £9 per device per month. The excess charge is £50 (for all devices), while the speed of replacement depends on whether the phone is damaged (in which case the standard five-day window applies) or lost/stolen (in which case you’ll receive a replacement device the next working day). Again, if you need it quicker, you can add the Vodafone Rapid service discussed below.
  • Vodafone Rapid – In business, time is always of the essence. Vodafone have responded to this by introducing Vodafone Rapid, a service that promises to deliver you a replacement phone within four hours of your claim being accepted.

Adding Rapid to either of the plans discussed above costs an extra £1 per device per month, meaning  Business Damage and Breakdown Insurance including Rapid costs £6 per device per month, while Business Standard Insurance including Rapid costs £10 per device per month. What’s more, Vodafone are seriously confident about this pledge, and will pay you £10 for every hour beyond the fourth hour of the delivery window that you wait for your replacement phone (up to a maximum of £40).

Poring through the Ts & Cs reveals a few caveats, although none are unreasonable. Depending on availability, your replacement phone may not be the same model as your current phone, with Vodafone only committing to aiming “to replace your phone with a like-for-like model” within the four hours. Your replacement phone may also be a refurbished device.

As this is a business service, standard working hours apply, so there is a 4pm cut off time Monday to Friday, and a 2pm cut off time on Saturdays and eligible bank holidays (the service isn’t available on Sundays, Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year’s Day). Replacement devices can only be delivered to UK addresses, cannot be delivered to outdoor venues like festivals, parks, or sporting events, and some postcodes aren’t eligible (primarily highlands and islands locations). You can however nominate someone else to receive your replacement phone, and get it delivered to any suitable location (not just your billing address). Finally, tablets like the iPad are not eligible for the Rapid service.

  • Need to know – All Vodafone business insurance policies will only allow you to claim three times in a 12-month period, after which your cover will end.
  • Verdict: Vodafone business mobile phone insurance is a great option for small business owners, with the Rapid service hugely appealing to anyone who can’t be without a phone for long. The standard policies are also reasonably priced, with the flat fees structure working out particularly well for those insuring more valuable devices.

EE business phone insurance

EE

Like Vodafone, EE offer two business phone insurance plans: ‘Damage Cover’, and ‘Full Cover’. See below for the full breakdown.

  • Damage Cover – This policy covers your business phone(s) against accidental damage and diagnosed faults in the first two years. The cost varies by the value of the device(s) being insured, from £4 per device per month for a low-end smartphone like the iPhone SE, Huawei P8 Lite, or Samsung A7 to £9 per device per month for a top-of-the-range phone like the Samsung Galaxy S10. Worldwide cover and the ability to add authorised users are included as standard, and a refurbished replacement phone will arrive to you the next working day. Depending on the phone in question, the excess payable varies from £40 to £120.
  • Full Cover – This plan offers all the benefits of Damage Cover, and adds protection against loss and theft. Once again, the cost varies according to the device(s) being insured, from £8 per device per month for a lower-spec device to £12.50 per device per month for a premium phone (see above for examples of each). Excess payable is in the same range as Damage Cover (from £40 to £120), while the speed of replacement is also the same (next-day delivery of a refurbished model).
  • Multiple handset discount

EE offers a multiple handset discount that is essentially a bulk buying discount – the more handsets you insure with EE, the more you could save. The breakdown is as follows:

  • 2-9 products insured: 10% discount on each device insured
  • 10-19 products insured: 15% discount on each device insured
  • 20+ products insured: 20% discount on each device insured
  • Need to know – EE’s Damage Cover allows unlimited claims, while the Full Cover allows unlimited damage claims but limits lost/stolen claims to two accepted claims in a rolling 12-month period. New and upgrading customers that take out Pay Monthly contracts and insurance at the same time on selected phones are also eligible to receive a free accessories bundle.
  • Verdict: EE’s business mobile phone insurance plans are especially attractive to larger businesses that can take full advantage of the multiple handset discount. EE is also a great option for those businesses insuring lower value phones, with low rates and a speedy service. However, businesses insuring higher value devices will find better value elsewhere.

O2 business phone insurance

O2

O2 offers business mobile phone insurance on the same terms as its consumer mobile phone insurance, with a choice of ‘Damage Cover’ and ‘Full Cover’ policies.

  • Damage Cover – This policy protects your phone against accidental damage and out of warranty technical faults. The cost varies depending on the value of the phone(s) being insured, from £3 per device per month for a basic model to £9 per device per month for a high-end smartphone. The excess is also variable, with O2 operating a two-tier system that allows the claimant to choose whether they want a replacement phone to be delivered the next day or within 3-5 days. 3-5 day excesses range from £10 to £60, while next-day excesses are between £25 and £90. Worldwide cover is included as standard, any customer authorised on the account can make a claim, and the policy also covers £300 worth of accessories purchased from O2 that are damaged at the same time as the device.
  • Full Cover – O2’s full cover adds protection against loss and theft to the damage cover policy discussed above. Naturally, it also comes with higher premiums, from £6 per device per month for a lower-spec phone to £15 per device per month for a state-of-the-art model. Excess charges are the same as damage cover, so 3-5 day excesses range from £10 to £60 and next-day excesses are between £25 and £90.
  • Need to know – There are limitations to O2’s next-day replacement policy, but none are particularly unusual. The weekday cut off time is 7pm, Sundays and public holidays are excluded, and the service is not available in Northern Ireland or selected postcodes in Scotland, Highlands, Guernsey, Isle of Man, and the Scilly Isles. Also, replacements may be from refurbished stock.

Business mobile insurance: The verdict

O2’s business mobile phone insurance policies have very low base premiums, making this a great option for businesses that want to insure lower-spec devices. The option to choose the excess paid and delivery time when a claim is made is also handy, with cash flow and operational needs likely to influence this decision for small business owners. At the higher-spec end of things, though, other providers offer better value.

Alec Hawley
Alec Hawley

Alec is Startups’ resident expert on mobiles, investment, and politics. Before joining, he worked in the media for over a decade, conducting media analysis at Kantar Media and YouGov, writing for computer games sites like Gaming Respawn and Gamespew, and taking on a wide variety of freelance roles.