Smartphones: Repair or replace?

Whether you tote around an Android phone or iPhone, there’s always a chance something bad will happen. Whether it flies off the patio table onto the concrete and all goes black or you notice just a tiny crack in the screen, there’s probably a decision to be made.

If you decided to purchase a warranty for your smartphone in order to supplement whatever the manufacturer offers, you already know how valuable it is to not have to think about it. Just send your phone in and get a new one, usually the next day.

If you haven’t, or you’ve already used up the benefit for the warranty period, it’s good to know how you’ll handle it, what the manufacturer recommends and whether saving a few bucks may not be in your best interest.

The following comes from Verizon’s page on “How to replace a lost, stolen or broken device”:

  • If you think it’s a manufacturer’s defect and it is less than a year since your purchase, your device will be replaced at no cost.
  • Not covered by insurance? Outside the one-year limit? Not a manufacturer’s defect? Verizon offers only two alternatives: Buy a certified pre-owned phone or a new one at retail.

Here’s another idea. Don’t throw away your old phones. If you like to stay up to date with the latest phone, keep the last one. In many cases you can activate an older working phone on your account.

If you carry an iPhone and the only damage is a cracked screen, you can get it replaced by a reputable iPhone repair shop without voiding your warranty. This is a relatively new development.

No such luck on Android phones. If you gamble within the first year of ownership, kiss your manufacturer’s warranty goodbye.

You may still choose to get your screen replaced by a reputable repair shop. As with many other repair/replace decisions, you must evaluate the risk and the cost.

Of course, selling you a warranty benefits the vendor and the warranty company. But, if your normal usage of your smartphone puts it in jeopardy, frequently, biting that bullet might be the smartest money you spend.

Not convinced? No problem, spend the money instead on screen protectors or good quality “shock” cases and, of course, be careful!