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What do you do if your phone is stolen in a foreign land?
After being pickpocketed during a recent trip to Paris, I was in the exact same situation. Previous me would have panicked. Instead, I accepted it as is and did not panic, knowing that my credit card was going to cover the cost to replace my phone.
Why did my credit card cover the mishap? What credit cards provide this benefit, and more importantly, which ones? This article will show you which credit card I used to cover my cell phone, and how I was reimbursed when the phone was stolen during a recent Paris trip.
The Chase Freedom Flex saved my day after my phone was stolen
If you are unfamiliar with the concept, there are several credit cards that offer insurance coverage for your cell phone. This will reimburse you in case it is stolen or damaged. You must pay your monthly phone bill with the credit card that offers the insurance coverage to qualify for the benefit.
You must also make a claim to your card issuer in a specific time frame. It's actually a fairly simple process, especially when you consider that many cards have no annual fees, such as the Bilt Mastercard (r) and the Chase Freedom Flex (sm).
When the theft occurred, I was paying my phone bill using my Freedom Flex World Elite Mastercard. Some World Elite Mastercards include cell phone insurance up to $800 for each claim. Freedom Flex allows you to make up to $1,000 worth of claims in a 12-month period. To be eligible for reimbursement, card holders must have paid their monthly mobile phone bill using the card at least a full month before making a claim.
You will be charged a $50 deductable when filing a claim. If your $700 smartphone was stolen, you would be reimbursed with $650. This insurance does have some exclusions, such as phones that are stolen from construction sites, lost phones, and cosmetic damages which do not affect the functionality of your phone. For more information, please refer to the Freedom Flex benefit terms.
The Freedom Flex cell phone insurance will not cover your phone if you already have another insurance policy. AppleCare+ and insurance purchased from your mobile provider are examples. Freedom Flex cell phone insurance covers excess charges that are not covered by primary insurance.
You must also file a police complaint within 48 hours if you suspect that your phone has been stolen. It is usually necessary to call the police, or to go to your local precinct and file the report personally. You should get a copy of the report to include in your claim.
My experience with a Chase Freedom Flex cell phone insurance claim
The process of filing a claim was fairly straightforward. Here are the steps to follow:
I went to mycardbenefits.com (Mastercard's website for cards benefits) and submitted a claim. In my claim, I provided all the required documents including a copy the police report, and any previous bills for cell phones charged to my Freedom Flex Card. The paperwork must be submitted in 120 days after the loss.
I received a refund for the value my old phone in less than a month after submitting my claim. Plus, when I purchased a new smartphone I earned credit points.
After having a stolen phone abroad, we learned some valuable lessons
Keep your phone close
It's easy, when in a hurry to catch a bus or train, to let your guard down. Unfortunately, this is exactly what thieves are looking for.
Avoid putting your phone into back pockets, side pocket or purses that do not have zippers. These are places where thieves could easily steal your phone without your knowledge. Fanny packs are a great option for keeping your valuables safe and accessible.
Avoid Phone Wallets
Although I knew better, the convenience of having both my credit card and ID on my phone was worth the risk. My phone, my ID and my credit card were stolen all at once.
Thankfully, my backup cards are always in a travel wallet. Unfortunately, my credit card became a victim as well and I was forced to request a brand new card number immediately. I would recommend sticking to a physical wallet and adding your cards to an electronic wallet such as Apple Pay.
Travel documents: Bring copies
When my phone was stolen in France, COVID travel documentations were required. Fortunately, the majority of these QR codes were stored on your phone. It's great until you lose your phone and are left without the documents you need.
If you are traveling with another electronic device, you will have a copy of the backup. If you are traveling light, and will not be bringing a device with you, it is best to print copies and keep them on hand. Sending copies of your important travel documents ahead of time to your traveling companions is a good idea in case someone needs to retrieve them at the last moment.
Cell phone insurance with credit cards
Many credit cards offer insurance for cell phones. This process is standard for most World Elite Mastercards from Chase and Wells Fargo. Some banks, namely Citi, have eliminated cell phone insurance from credit card benefits, including those for World Elite Mastercards. Cell phone insurance is also available on select American Express credit cards.
The following is a sample of the credit cards that do not charge an annual fee and offer coverage for cell phones. For the complete list of credit cards that offer cell phone insurance, including popular travel credit card, check out CNN Underscored’s guide.
You can save money by familiarizing yourself with your credit card benefits and perks. It will also help you to reduce stress when traveling. In the case of my phone being stolen, my Chase Freedom Flex (sm) saved hundreds of dollars. It also salvaged a great trip to Paris.
Travel-friendly credit cards offer many benefits, including trip delay insurance and cell phone protection. They also have no foreign transaction fee and allow you to earn rewards.