SquareTrade launches new iPhone warranty

The iPhone isn’t the most expensive gadget you can stuff in your pocket, but it isn’t the cheapest either. If you want a safety net for your investment, your options are fairly limited. Fortunately, SquareTrade has rolled out a new iPhone protection plan, much like its iPad plan launched in April, just in time for WWDC 2010.

Right now, one of your few options for any kind of iPhone insurance is AppleCare straight from Apple. For $70, you get an extra year past the iPhone’s default one-year warranty, but it mostly covers technical support, hardware failure, and in-store service—if you run into spills, theft, or “the dog ate it,” you’re on your own.

Some credit card companies can extend the original manufacturer warranty, but with the exception of a few cards, that’s still just basic support for hardware failure. If you’re willing to pay a premium, Boy Genius Report claims to have received AT&T documentation that shows the carrier will soon introduce a “MobileProtect” insurance plan for iPhone. For $14 per month and steep per-incident deductibles that start at $99 for the iPhone 3G and $199 for the iPhone 3GS, AT&T is said to offer complete and total coverage for hardware problems, accidental and liquid damage, and even theft.

If you want something more middle of the road, SquareTrade now has an iPhone protection plan with an up-front price of $99 for two years. SquareTrade covers accidental damage, spills, and hardware failure, and the per-incident deductible is just $50. For comparison: on your first claim of a 32GB iPhone 3GS, you’ll have to pay a total of $149 with Squaretrade to get your phone replaced, but $535 with AT&T. Theft is not covered, however, so if you have a history of leaving your iPhone on bar stools, you may need to look elsewhere.

In the case of theft, though, SquareTrade warranties can be canceled at any time during the coverage plan. You can get a prorated refund, too—perfect for turning around for your next iPhone.

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