Personal Finance

Is Best Buy Phone Insurance a Solid Deal?

best-buy-geek-squad-230x157Best Buy’s website and retail locations sell smartphones to consumers today. In simple terms, the company acts as a middleman between consumer and wireless service provider. A given buyer can save money on devices by going through Best Buy. Other products and services are available from the retailer, including tablets and accessories. However, many customers don’t realize that Best Buy offers phone insurance, too. It’s called Geek Squad Cell Phone Protection and comes with a low monthly fee.

Is the retailer’s phone insurance worth considering, though?

The Basics Of Geek Squad Protection
Geek Squad is Best Buy’s in-house tech support team for customers. For smartphones, Geek Squad Protection extends a device’s manufacturer warranty. Extra coverage is provided for certain types of damage. This includes liquid spills, accidental damage, and even regular wear. Also, battery replacement and software troubleshooting is included in such coverage. Replacements and major repairs are covered for one fee, which can save device owners hundreds of dollars per incident.

How much does Geek Squad Protection cost?
On a per month basis, consumers will pay $7.99 for Best Buy’s phone insurance. Paying for two years in advance results in a discounted price of $159.99, which makes the plan even more affordable. Repairs and replacements, aside from battery swaps or software fixes, cost $149.99 or $199.99. For devices worth less than $799.99, plan holders will pay the smaller fee. Devices worth more than that result in the higher service cost. Best Buy covers the actual cost of repairs, whether higher or lower.

Getting Service Under Geek Squad Protection
Most customers will use Geek Squad’s online claim form to initiate a claim. Typically, this avenue results in a replacement being sent to the customer within three business days. Repairs take longer than that period, although some Best Buy locations can handle basic hardware or software problems. Claims can be submitted 24/7, and the process is often considered quite simple. For in-store service, customers can expect repairs to take a minimal amount of time, but replacements are still handled online.

This Plan Compared To The Competition
Other smartphone insurance plans cost anywhere from $6.99 to $12.99 per month. Most plans don’t provide a discount for paying for coverage in advance like Best Buy. Then again, Best Buy’s service fees are somewhat higher than the average deductible with companies like SquareTrade and many alternatives. Coverage for drops, spills, and accidental damage are worthwhile, but competitors offer the same. Likewise, Best Buy’s shipping time for replacement devices falls in line with competitors.

Simply put, Best Buy gives customers an adequate smartphone insurance plan without going above and beyond alternative insurance plans. In-store service for certain issues might make a difference for some customers, though.

So, is Geek Squad Cell Phone Protection worth the cost?
For most customers, Geek Squad Protection makes sense if they want smartphone insurance. It’s easy to sign up for during the smartphone purchasing process, and paying in advance makes everything more cost-effective. Competing plans might cost slightly less on a monthly or per claim basis. Still, the cost difference isn’t so noticeable to the average policyholder. Not everyone needs smartphone insurance, but those who do won’t be disappointed by Best Buy’s solution by any means.

The Verdict: It’s A Solid Deal.
Best Buy’s phone insurance plan comes with a couple of bonuses compared to competitors’ solutions. In-store service and coverage for virtually all damage can make the difference for certain customers. Otherwise, the monthly cost is comparable to competitors, and service costs are only somewhat higher than average. Many consumers see Best Buy and its Geek Squad as reliable entities and service providers, and that peace of mind is more than enough to make this plan worthwhile for certain consumers.

And just to quickly recap:

+ Affordable monthly fee, or discount for advance payment of two years of coverage.
+ Fast service from a reliable and reputable company.
+ Easy sign-up process while buying a phone from Best Buy.
+ Possibility of in-store service and repairs.

– Comparable to other smartphone protection plans without standing out.
– Not all services are available in-store.
– Cheaper insurance plans are available with similar coverage.

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