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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.”


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)

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9 years ago

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… Read more »

9 years ago
Reply to  B.B.

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… Read more »

9 years ago

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… Read more »

Kimberly S Moore Prescott
Kimberly S Moore Prescott
9 years ago

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… Read more »

9 years ago

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… Read more »

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