NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Odds are against smartphone owners that their $600 personal assistant will still be around and working soundly when a two-year contract expires. Insurance is one way to get peace of mind, but it may ultimately cost the same price as your under-contract phone.
How much? Let's take the iPhone 4S, as an example. Allowing for one fix (which requires a deductible) during two years, here is how much you'll pay, excluding the price of the phone:
$139.99 -- Ensquared, a Delray Beach, Fla. insurer, began offering mobile insurance in 2010 to give smartphone owners an alternative. It offers coverage for two years for $90 with a $50 deductible per incident (up to three claims allowed). This plan option is for damage protection only. Read the fine print on Ensquared's Web site.
$147 -- At GoCare.com, the three-year-old warranty company in Arizona offers one- and two-year plans for the iPhone, at $59 and $97 respectively. The warranty covers cracked screens, broken buttons, water damage and extends the hardware warranty. Each claim requires a $50 deductible. You can add coverage at any time or, if you haven't made a claim, cancel for a prorated refund of $7.99/month. Loss or theft is not covered. Read the fine print at gocare.com/iphone.
$148 -- At Apple (AAPL) with AppleCare, a $99 extended warranty that covers hardware malfunction and accidental damage from handling, like "drops and liquid contact." Up to two claims can be made, with a deductible of $49 per claim. You're out of luck though if the iPhone is lost or stolen. Read the fine print at Apple's Web site.
$149 -- SquareTrade is another alternative insurer, which is part of Sam's Club's mobile protection plan (Sam's Club is owned by Wal-Mart (WMT)). You pay $59 for one-year or $99 for two years to ensure the iPhone against drops, spills and other damage. Each claims costs a $50 deductible, and you get up to 4 claims. Losses and theft aren't covered but if that happens, SquareTrade offers a pro-rated refund. It's proud of its high-customer ratings and a large Facebook following. Read the fine print at squaretrade.com.
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