AppleCare+, the enhanced two-year warranty program that Apple offers for iPhones and iPads, is one of the best ways to safeguard your increasingly expensive devices. Compared to carrier insurance plans, it’s often cheaper, but also offers service directly through Apple, rather than dealing with a third-party insurance company whose primary goal is to make money off the policy.
AppleCare+’s model has traditionally been that you get two instances of damage during your coverage. Provided you’re within those two instances, you can get a repaired or replacement device for cheap — often around $150 or $200, depending on the device or the type of damage. It saved me last year when my month-old iPhone X took a swim, and although the deductible might seem high now, it’s a lot better than replacing a $1,000 phone outright.
But compared to carrier insurance plans, there’s one big thing that AppleCare+ has always been missing: coverage for theft or loss. As long as you can bring a device into the Apple store, then no matter how screwed up the phone is, you can get a cheap replacement. With insurance, you pay the deductible and get a new phone, whether it’s because of water damage, street theft, or you left it in the back of an Uber.
So carriers are going to be terrified of the new AppleCare+ option that Apple just rolled out for the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max. For $299, you get two years of AppleCare+ that includes coverage for theft and loss. That works out to $12.50 a month if you pay it upfront, or there’s a monthly payment option that costs $14.99.
That price is actually similar to many mobile insurance policies, but I suspect AppleCare+ will work out to be much more popular. It’s provided directly by Apple, which means that when your phone breaks, you can go directly to the Apple store and get a replacement then and there. Oftentimes, insurance policies require weeks of back and forth, and the refurbished phone you get as a replacement can be of variable quality.