Does AppleCare Cover Lost iPhones?
By John Lister
Updated September 22, 2017
AppleCare is an extended warranty available to buyers of Apple devices including the iPhone. It covers repair and replacement for a range of technical faults and damage. However, it specifically excludes any coverage for a lost or stolen device. Other insurance policies and extended warranties from third parties may cover such losses.
Apple offers all iPhone buyers – including those who obtained the device from a third-party supplier – a limited warranty for the 12 months after purchase and phone support for 90 days after purchase. The iPhone AppleCare service, known as AppleCare+, costs $129 and extends both the warranty and phone service to run until two years after purchase. It also allows you to get repairs for accidental damage for a fixed price of $29 for screen repairs or $99 for all other repairs on up to two occasions. It is worth mentioning that if more than just your screen is damaged, you will need to pay the full $99 rate to get your screen and other issues fixed.
AppleCare+ has several exclusions such as accidental damage other than the two $99 repairs, cosmetic damage, damage caused by neglect or misuse, damage caused by liquid, and damage or failings on iPhones that the user has tampered with. The AppleCare+ policy specifically excludes a payout for any phone "that has been lost or stolen" because you must return the handset to Apple when making a claim. It is possible that you could make a claim for a $99 repair if you lost a phone, recovered it, and discovered it had been accidentally damaged while out of your possession, although this is not guaranteed.
Most cell phone companies that provide iPhone service also offer insurance plans that cover lost phones, as do third-party specialist insurers. You may have some coverage available from your home contents policy. When comparing insurance options, check the deductibles, maximum payout amounts and any coverage you get for the cost of calls and other data use between your phone being lost or stolen and you reporting the loss to the service provider.
AppleCare is an optional service that comes as well as, rather than instead of, your statutory rights. Depending on your location and jurisdiction, you may already be automatically entitled to some of the benefits that you would get by paying for AppleCare. This is particularly relevant in countries that are part of the European Union where electrical retailers must offer a free two-year warranty for some technical faults.
A professional writer since 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism, John Lister ran the press department for the Plain English Campaign until 2005. He then worked as a freelance writer with credits including national newspapers, magazines and online work. He specializes in technology and communications.