Should you protect your new iPhone 6/6 Plus with AppleCare+ or SquareTrade?

Preorders for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus kicked off late last night and if early sales are any indication, these new models are going to be the best selling iPhones in Apple’s history. This year’s iPhone lineup is also the most expensive ever, with the iPhone 6 Plus topping out at $949 without carrier subsidies.

At minimum you should keep your iPhone in a durable case to protect it from everyday bumps and drops, but you should also consider a protection plan for more catastrophic accidents.

Keep reading to get all the facts you’ll need to choose between the two most popular iPhone protection plans…

(Update): Before we get started, keep in mind that current out of warranty iPhone screen replacements costs are as follows:

  • iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5: $269
  • iPhone 4s: $199
  • iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, Original iPhone: $149

These values may change throughout a product’s life cycle. Keep these numbers in mind throughout this article while considering an iPhone protection plan.

AppleCare+ $99 up front and $79 per claim:
Sold and backed by Apple, AppleCare+ iPhone protection plans extend the original manufacturer’s warranty of your iPhone from one to two years. This covers any hardware or software defects. AppleCare+ also provides two-years of accidental damage coverage for your iPhone. Service is provided at any Apple retail store Genius Bar or via mail-in. Over the course of your service agreement, you are limited to two incidents and one battery replacement. You must sign up for AppleCare+ within 60 days of purchasing a new iPhone.

SquareTrade $99 for 2 yrs or $129 for 3 yrs and $75 per claim:
SquareTrade has been offering protection for mobile phones, tablets, HDTVs and tons of other gadgets since 1999. Hellbent on trying to turnaround the warranty industry, SquareTrade created protection plans that cover “breaks, spills & mishaps of everyday life.”

For iPhones, you can choose between monthly payments of $5a two-year plan for $99 or a three-year plan for $129. Each incident will also cost you $75. Repair options include overnight mail-in service or the ability to be reimbursed for having a repair performed at a local shop or even the Genius Bar! You’re limited to four claims (including defects) and one battery replacement. You can sign up for SquareTrade within 30 days of purchasing a new iPhone or longer if you happen to be covered by a carrier’s insurance program.

Carrier plans:
Chances are that your carrier probably offers an insurance plan of its own, but these typically carry a costly monthly premium (~$7-10) and have deductibles as high as $199. Although, one of the major benefits of these plans is that they cover your device if it’s lost or stolen. Hopefully you won’t be in that situation, but if you are, Find My iPhone should help you retrieve it.

Bottom Line:
iPhone protection plans aren’t one size fits all. AppleCare+ offers quick service due to Apple’s robust service network, but SquareTrade has more flexible sign-up options, plan lengths and payment structures, and more claims. (update) Thanks to one of our readers for pointing out that defect claims under SquareTrade will have a cost associated with them. But if you’re still under your original one-year Apple warranty you can have defects serviced for free at the Genius Bar.

You should review all of the information outlined in this post and reach out to each company’s customer service departments if you have further questions before making your final decision.



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