Since it's iconic Android device season, there's a decent chance you're buying or leasing a shiny new phone. I wear myself out reminding people that our phones can do as much as a personal computer these days and they cost as much.
Device protection becomes even more crucial if you're leasing a phone. As your lease comes to an end, you have the option to give back your device and upgrade but only if the phone is in good working condition with no cracks in the screen and no water damage. If your phone has a broken screen or other catastrophic damage, it isn't eligible for lease-giveback and you have to pay out the final cost.
Now is a great time to think about protecting your phone and there are lots of ways to do it. I've brought you my top five ways protect your new (or old) phone:
Be smart with your smartphone - With 5.5" screens the norm these days, most phones are too big to ride in our pockets anymore. We all have an embarrassing story (or two, or three) of a phone that started out in a pocket and ended up on the pavement or (YIKES!) the toilet. Oh and ladies, tucking it into your bra? Also a bad idea. Way too easy for the phone to slip out while you're bent over fastening a seatbelt or smearing sunscreen on a wiggly child. Belt clips can be your friend but bags and purses work just as well.
Screen Protectors - Certain members of my family aren't allowed to touch a new phone until they have a screen protector like the Invisible Shield from Zag on it. While you can buy and install one at many Sprint stores, they're also available at various mall kiosks and big box stores, as well as online retailers including Amazon. Though pricey, some screen protectors even come with a warranty: if your screen cracks with a properly installed cover, the company may replace your screen for free. Screen protectors can be a bit tricky to install yourself; I recommend watching a couple of YouTube tutorials before giving it a go if you're on your own.
A case for cases - While we might love the feel of a naked (OH MY!) phone, for many of us, a phone without a case is a very expensive accident waiting to happen. It's also the perfect way to personalize your phone, whether you're completely pragmatic with a modular case or belt clip or you like sparkly covers, or a flip case that looks like the cover of your favorite Harry Potter spell book. Sprint.com has a nice range of cases but sites like eBay, Amazon and Etsy also offer a ton of options.
Total Equipment Protection Plus from Asurion - Our device protection partner Asurion offers you the option to subscribe to TEP Plus and have it billed to your Sprint account if you're adding it within 30 days of activation. TEP Plus comes with a range of benefits including:
In-store repairs at Sprint Service and Repair facilities offered by Asurion. I had a DOA V20 last month. I visited my local Sprint S&R facility and a super friendly, helpful Asurion tech (waving at you, Mike!) had me in and out in less than an hour with a brand new unit. That visit was free but some repairs will have an associated fee. Get more details here (link)
Lost, stolen protection: when the worst happens, simply file a claim, pay your deductible and have a replacement phone sent to you overnight in many cases.
Help is right at your fingertips: with the Tech Expert app from Asurion, you are connected to a US based tech support specialist with just one click to call, chat or access online help guides.
Insurance or Maintenance Plans: If you choose not to carry TEP Plus and you lose or destroy your phone, you could be looking at $500 to $700 to replace it. Most homeowner and renter insurance plans will allow you to list your mobile phone as a personal article on your policy. Some home warranty companies and even your home Internet provider may offer protection as well. These plans don't allow you to have your phone repaired in a facility but if it's lost or stolen, they'll typically cut you a check for an agreed upon amount or ship you a phone after you pay a deductible.
Some device manufacturers offer their own protection plans. AppleCare and HTC's Uh Oh! Protection definitely fall into this category and are worth checking out. AppleCare requires an up-front cost but Uh Oh provides some services free of charge during the first year of service.
A final word about TEP Plus: May is open enrollment month. If you missed the 30 day window after activating your device, now's your chance! Most undamaged, active phones are eligible. To add it, log in to your My Sprint account, select the phone you want from your account list and click "Change My Services" then select "Device Protection: Total Equipment Protection Plus" save and confirm. For most smart phones the subscription will be $13/month but don't forget you have access to live tech support 24/7 with the Tech Expert app.
Do you have a trip or trick for keeping your device looking and running like new? Share with me in the comments.