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Saturday
Jul292017

Secrets Your Mobile Phone Insurance Company Doesn't Want You To Know

Asurion is a company that works with three of the big United States carriers: Verizon, AT&T and Sprint as their officially endorsed subscriber phone insurance provider. Asurion covers loss, theft, accidental damage, and malfunction—the major things that people typically file claims for. Once the insurance claim is approved you'll be told if Asurion is electing to repair or replace the device— and you don’t get to have any say. If it's the latter, they'll ship it out to you overnight. A phone charger, battery, and a SIM card will be included. It may be new, or it may be refurbished. They do not feel obligated to openly inform you as to which you are receiving, but if it’s a refurbished phone it should have “Refurbished by Asurion” on the back of the phone.

Right from the start it’s easy to see how mobile phone insurance is a scam. The people that work in the carrier stores don’t know the details about how Asurion works as an insurance company, and are primarily motivated by the commission that they receive to by adding subscribers. They aren’t really sure whether or not the insurance is worth it but they know that they gain financially by telling you that it’s a must-have. 

The promise of phone insurance and the reality of it are vastly different. Most people seem to think that if they “break” their phone the insurance is there to replace it with a brand new one. For some, a “broken phone” is really just a shattered screen that could have been replaced at a repair shop for about $100, but instead they send it off to Asurion and have their phone (that had a perfectly functional motherboard and had never seen a drop of water) replaced with a “Refurbished by Asurion” phone whose mobo was shoddily repaired after liquid damage by a half-rate technician contracted by the company to mass repair boards collected from other phones sent to the company from customers that don’t really seem to understand what their phone is worth.

To make a point, a customer could bring a phone into Wires Computing and have us put their motherboard into a different frame that’s in decent shape, with a new charging port, battery and LCD, and they would likely be charged less than $200 depending on the model of iPhone. Alternatively, a person could send out their phone that merely has a cracked LCD and be charged between $150 to $200 depending on the deductible to replace it with a refurbished phone containing an older, previously repaired motherboard. The motherboard in the original phone was flawless, and should have been the part of the phone most valued— and now it is the property of Asurion.

These “insurance phones” are reassembled with replacement copy parts by glorified assembly-line workers. We have seen Asurion phones come into the shop that are taped together behind the LCD, with screws left out or loose in the phone. Unlike the repair shop setting, these people don’t know the customers that are receiving the phones and so they are much less invested in doing a good and thorough job. The longevity of these phones is greatly compromised— and to make matters more difficult, any boards that have been soldered during the refurbishment process no longer have the original clues of corrosion, making it much more difficult for even a highly experienced micro-soldering repair technician to return a compromised motherboard to full function. 

 

Most replacement phones have less than new parts in them that fail pre-maturely and are simply not the same quality of parts a local tehcnician would use. We often see our customers come into the shop with something broken on the asurion replacement phone and after opening it find many issues. Some even being 2-3 year old batteries that have half the life that the original phone had. Adding all the problems up with the phones that are replaced make it surely a crap shoot as to how long they will last. This is often the first time the customer is aware of this, making them wish they had just gotten the phone fixed properly at our local repair shop instead of dealing with a mess of a phone from a big cororation that cares ultimatly only about the bottom line instead of quality phones and parts.

 

To summarize the main points of this article, phone insurance isn’t what you think it is, and rarely is it worth it. Not only do repair shops pay more attention to each individual phone and customer that come through the door, but they have well-trained staff that do a better job in the first place, with the intention of maintaining the phone’s longevity. 

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