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AT&T “Insurance” Won’t Cover Lost/Stolen Phones Unless Policy is Activated on AT&T’s Wireless Network

Phillip Dampier March 4, 2014 AT&T, Consumer News, Video, Wireless Broadband 11 Comments

att insuranceIf you thought AT&T Mobile Insurance would bring you peace of mind if your expensive smartphone is ever lost, stolen, or damaged, think again.

The wireless carrier and its partner Asurion have nine pages of sneaky terms and conditions that give the two companies a myriad of reasons to deny insurance claims and leave you with nothing after paying your $6.99 monthly insurance premium.

The Los Angeles Times reports one customer – Marianna Yarovskaya – learned this the hard way when she purchased AT&T’s insurance to cover her new iPhone 5S she bought before taking a trip to Indonesia. Sure enough, her new phone was swiped right out of her hotel room. Yarovskaya’s disappointment only got worse when her insurance claim was denied not once, or twice, but three times.

An Asurion representative explained to Yarovskaya her insurance claim was rejected because she was outside of AT&T’s network when she completed the last steps of her online registration for AT&T’s insurance. It turned out AT&T Insurance is worthless if customers enroll while using a Wi-Fi connection or any other service provider other than AT&T’s wireless data network.

“This is crazy,” Yarovskaya said. “They are saying that if you travel, the insurance becomes worthless.”

A careful review of the nine pages of barely penetrable terms and conditions unearthed the “tricks and traps” Asurion used to walk away from Yarovskaya’s claim.

On page six, AT&T and Asurion insist that “covered property must be actively registered on the service provider’s network on the date of loss and have logged airtime prior to the date of loss.”

terms and cond

To ordinary people, that would suggest that Yarovskaya would be covered as soon as she purchased and activated her new AT&T iPhone and service while in a Los Angeles AT&T store. That act left her “actively registered” as an AT&T customer. Asurion also specifies their insurance coverage territory is “worldwide,” which would indicate insured phones are covered wherever they are lost, stolen, or damaged.

But then there is pesky page eight — the “definitions” page, where Asurion gets to define the meaning of various English words and phrases as it sees fit.

Asurion’s definition of “covered property” is a device “actively registered on the service provider’s network and for which airtime has been logged after enrollment.”

clear

When the Times asked Bettie Colombo, an Asurian spokeswoman, what that meant, she explained phones are not insured until the customer performs some wireless activity on AT&T’s network after signing up for coverage.

asurionTranslation: You have to do something on your carrier’s wireless network after coverage begins for coverage to begin.

If you are roaming, traveling overseas, or you use your phone with Wi-Fi and AT&T doesn’t see the device on its network after signing up for insurance, you are not covered. The language is so broad, it could also be interpreted to mean you have to be actively registered on an AT&T cell tower at the time of loss or damage or Asurion could walk away for that reason as well.

An insurance underwriter tells Stop the Cap! the real intent of this clause is to protect Asurion from customers signing up for insurance -after- losing or damaging their phone and then immediately filing an insurance claim. As a protection measure, the insurer wants to confirm it is insuring a working phone actually possessed by the owner before activating coverage. If customers registered for insurance on other devices or networks, AT&T wouldn’t have direct, absolute confirmation the customer is insuring a working phone. But most customers are unaware of this requirement, and if a claim arrives shortly after a customer signs up for coverage, insurance adjusters tend to be extra suspicious.

AT&T is staying out of the insurance dispute and declined to comment, leaving Yarovskaya with a $6.99 premium payment and $650 in replacement costs to buy a new phone.

The Times‘ opinion about the merits of AT&T’s insurance? “Buy it at your own peril.”

[flv]http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/ATT Mobile Insurance phone service 3-4-14.flv[/flv]

AT&T makes it look easy to sign up for device insurance, but navigating through the claims process and nine pages of terms and conditions leave a lot of room to deny your claim. (2:02)

Currently there are 11 comments on this Article:

  1. B.B. says:

    I have been paying for AT&T INS for over 5 years now. EVERY Single month. Let’s call it 60 months- never had a claim- until last year sept or oct- I filed my claim & it was fine.- now the other day 10+ months later- I need to file a claim- long story short- after A TON of hassle they submit my claim. – (& I’m paying 200$ deductables) – NOW I LOSE MY INSURANCE for 12-18 months? I do not understand this- LOOK UP THE WORD INSURANCE – AT&T… so now the $799 phone+ 200$ deductable 999$ phone can’t be insured?? Any suggestions – will tmobile buy me out for remainder of what I owe. Love apple HATE AT&T – almost didn’t go back when contract was up 6-7 months ago

    • Laura says:

      To :B.B and alot of the others who wrote about their BAD BAD experience with AT$T, Im right there with you! (Yes I did put the $ sign in on purpose.)
      I have been too a very long customer with AT$T lets say since my daughter was 5yrs old and she is now almost 18. Just starting off with a plan for myself, never having a cell phone before but since my youngest was going to school Iand me maybe being away I did not want to have the school call my home number and I was gone, so this si why I got a cell phone kinda simple and no big deal. As time went on I eventually got all 3 of my children on a family plan with me as they got older then along my mom, and yet another, so now here we have 6 people on my account.? Wow how the policy changes and new plans arrive through time!!

      After replacing my phone that went into the water I went to at$t store to get a phone for the first time I ended up getting a smart phone/, though against my better instinct I got it this phone to me acted like a little computer yuk way too small to do computer work on, yet just the perfectly wrong size for my hand it made my fingers to have to wrap around to wide, not helping the tendentious in my left elbow and the corpal tunnel in my left wrist, this phone was just not the right size for my hand. I hated this phone for the size of it only had it for less than 6 months but was told that I could not do anything about it, huh maybe right or wrong I still owed on the stupid thing being on the next program all a joke but I just sold it for $300, though I owe still about 500.00 hundred, huh oh yeah my daughter I had also gotten one of theses phones, like mine at the time I had another client from my type of work but after 3 yrs stopped working with tha client, leaving me only one which cut my buget alot, then sometimes one or 2 or 3 people on my plan sometimes could pay for their share and sometimes not? … Arrg leaving me to pay to make the differenceup
      I apologize for the misspelled words ahead of time somehow the printing of what im typing here has goten way small, though I know how to enlarge it and have tried it is not working. Sorry
      Anyhow so not to make this long , sometimes I wont read a story if it is way long myself.
      So here Iam with a phone I realized how stupid it was to get into this phone and plan! financially , couldnt get out, not only that it was a danger to my health, the stress of every month having to deal with the huge bill falling behind and not seeing being able to get causght up I thought gee why? so just to inticipate again another huge bill the following month?
      NO THANK YOU!
      I let it all goI stopped trying

      Now as I qualify for Life line on my home phone, yet no one at AT$T said 1 word about their lifeline offers! All they wanted is their money, their money! just like a credit card company they are , greedy!

      !! Did you know they are in a claim right now for law suite? They were over charging people who had AT$T https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/cases-proceedings/refunds/att-refunds

      plus you think about it here is a major cell phone company who “IS THEIR FOR YOU, FOR THE PEOLE AND THEIR FAMILIY AS IN FAMILY TALK RIGHT? how stupid are we when all they want is money they do not take care of those who hae been on with AT$T for while maintaing them to stay with AT$T helping bring others to tem, but yet at the same time they offer everything under the sun for those WHO ARE NEW AND JUST COMING UNTO AT4T RIGHT!!!

      It all about control and Gov. runned!! Oh “DON’T STEAL THE GOVERNMENT HATES COMPETITION”
      cause here we are paying outrageous prices for cell phones their plans all being incompetiion with one another and then you turn around and find ot about the free services , like
      budgit.com http://www.budgetmobile.com/

      Of course now hjere is the free phones stuff which is governed by who? probably controlled by who? yep this offer is for those who qualify.
      Anyways way so much more on AT$T I feel im going off on this …
      SO NOT PLESE DO NOT GET HOOKED UP WITH AT4T! IF YOU ARE GET OUT.
      HOPED SOME OF THOSE LINKS HELPED SOMEONE/

  2. susan says:

    cell phone insurance subscribers beware if you buy insurance and walk out the door and drop your new phone, then walk back in the door you will pay from $50-150 deductable. actually its all b.s. which is not what your thinking, b.s. means bait and switch, cancel the insurance your waisting your money, they are a fraudulant co. and their salesmen will tell you that you were imformed that you will pay that when they never did! because they make commission on every phone including insurance your competing with the spirit of greed! contact the attorney general and complain about the deceptive business practice.

  3. Kimberly S Moore Prescott says:

    I went into AT&T to upgrade my husbands phone to a new Samsung and we were offered a free Galaxy Tab 4 with the purchase.
    I instructed to employee to insure both devices.
    We always insure brand new devices, it shows on our records with our AT&T history.
    I had him activate the phone but wait for the Tab 4, telling him I would do the activation myself when I was linking it up with my Google account.
    I activated the device several days later and in the process it asked me about insurance. I double checked everything and noted that the device seemed un-insured so I (confused) began the insurance activation process. I was sent to an error page.
    A couple days later I called AT&T and told them to activate the insurance. I was told it was already activated. At this point I assumed the error page I had received must have been a time-out of the browser page.
    Several weeks later, the device was stolen along with several other electronics.
    I got online immediately and tried to locate the devices stolen. In the process I checked the status of all of our electronics. The device in question was un-insured!
    I went into AT&T immediately and reported the device as stolen. I was told the device was insured as of that morning and the device would be replaced.
    The insurance comment made no sense to me but I let the request go through and waited for the device to be replaced.
    Instead I received a letter from Asurion stating that the device was insured but “not at the time of the theft”.
    The AT&T store employees have been no help.
    Now I have 2 choices: continue paying $10 a month on an activated device for 2 years, or pay a cancellation fee UP-FRONT of $150.
    I feel so used.

  4. BanderaREB says:

    Oh my goodness!!!! The ordeal I have went through for the last 4 days between AT&T and it’s insurance “Asurion” has been overly outrageous. Mid April, I was due for an upgrade to my iphone4s and my daughter was in town visiting when she stated her phone (non-smart phone) was broken. We went to the local AT&T store, completed the upgrade where I received an iPhone6 and I my daughter the iPhone4s. At the same time we added her phone number to our account as she was on a pre-paid plan with T-Mobile. Customer Rep said “no problem. Everything with the iPhone4s will transfer to the new number.” Well it didn’t! Apparently, we are insuring phone numbers now, not devices! Insurance didn’t transfer with the phone. I found out new insurance was put into place on the iPhone4s when it was suppose to be put on the upgraded iPhone6. We were left to pay the highest deductible to replace the 4+year old iPhone4s when its charging system malfunctioned. Asurion showed the phone was activated on 4/16 not back in Sept 2011. I had been paying the monthly insurance from Sept 2011 to April 2015 for the iPhone4s device and it became useless when I added my daughter’s number to my account and put it on the iPhone4s.
    Think About This!!!! As it stands now, if you are being stalked by some weirdo on your device and want to change the number, just know that everything starts over as you are insuring a phone number and NOT the device itself.
    So, consumers BEWARE!!! When asked if you want the insurance by Asurion, think very hard about it before you purchase.

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