As mobiles get more technologically advanced, they also become more expensive to replace. So if you can’t get through a year without having to buy a new handset, then it’s wise to make sure it’s insured.

A survey showed that 86 percent of UAE residents did not have insurance cover for their home contents. But, given the high possibility of something going amiss, it’s an option worth considering, especially as it usually covers you for losses that occur both inside and outside the house.

Home insurance covers mobile phones

Dubai resident Rosemary Brooks lost her iPhone in the UK, reported it on the Bumblebee site to Surrey Police and claimed it off her Axa home insurance in the UAE. She says: “I don’t think many people in the UAE realize that you can claim for a mobile on your house insurance, even when you travel abroad.”

[Compare UAE home insurance]

Zurich home insurance includes personal belongings such as mobiles. An annual premium of AED 490 provides worldwide coverage for an unlimited number of days, theft or attempted theft, accidental breakage and accidental loss.

A claim can be made under the category of ‘home contents’ for an excess of AED 250 or under ‘personal belongings’ for a AED 500 excess. In the case of an accident, depending on its nature, Zurich will compensate either by providing a brand-new phone (worth up to AED 10,000) or fixing the broken one.

With AIG Home Insurance, you can choose between the following options, all of which involve a AED 350 excess charge upon claiming:

  • Silver cover for AED 295 a year, which covers personal belongings worth up to AED 2,500, with a total home insurance contents limit of AED 70,000.
  • Gold cover for AED 615 a year, covering personal belongings to a value of AED 10,000, with a total contents limit of AED 135,000.
  • Platinum cover for AED 1,245 a year, covering personal belongings to a value of up to AED 20,000, with a total contents limit of AED 300,000.

Smartphone insurance

Etisalat now offers the region’s first smartphone protection plan to protect handsets within and outside the UAE from theft and accidental damage.

The protection plans cost AED 120 for a six-month cover or AED 250 for 12 months. Users can protect their devices against accidental damage, including cracked screen, forced theft, liquid damage and defects not covered under phone’s existing warranty.

The plan has been launched in partnership with AXA Insurance, and is available to anyone who purchases a new smartphone from Etisalat’s business centers or UAE outlets.

Du does not yet offer such a package – although if you sign up for their iPhone 6 24-month business phone plan, for an extra AED 60 you can get a new device every 12 months, one year insurance and extended warranty for the second year.

[Compare UAE mobile phone plans | Compare mobile phone plans with phone]

Don’t forget…

If your phone is damaged, insurers will try to repair it rather than simply give you a replacement, so prepare to be mobile-less for some time.

You’ll need to tell the police if the phone is stolen or lost. Do this ideally within 24 hours to avoid any difficulties when claiming.

Back up your data

  •  IPhone customers can use iCloud free.
  • All smartphone users can take advantage of free space on Google Drive.
  • Etisalat offers a mobile back-up service for AED 10 a month on non-iPhone or Android handsets.
  • You can back up to your computer – most modern phones will be supplied with a cable and some software to connect them to your computer.
  • And if a calamitous superbug should destroy data everywhere, there’s always a pen and paper.

DIY fixes

If you decide to leave the life of your handset in the hands of fate and disaster strikes, here are some last-ditch options to try to save your phone.

When sand attacks

A common danger for phones in the UAE!

  • Use a toothbrush, as the soft bristles might get it out.
  • Or try applying a small can of compressed air.
  • In the future, before heading to the beach or desert, wrap your phone in clingfilm to cover all openings.

When the phone gets wet

Lay it on paper towels whilst you remove the battery and SIM card. To find out if the phone is truly water damaged, check the corner near where the battery is – there should be a white square or circle, with or without red lines. If this is pink or red, your phone has water damage.

Wipe the phone down, then try to suck the water out of the inner parts of the phone using a vacuum cleaner. Be careful not to hold the vacuum too close to the phone, as a vacuum can create static electricity, which is even worse for the phone than water.

If you don’t have a vacuum cleaner to hand, place the phone in a bowl of uncooked rice or Rice Krispies cereal overnight to absorb remaining moisture.

The phone-fixers

If none of the above works, take your phone to an authorized dealer. Don’t try to hide the fact that it has been wet – there are internal indicators that indicate moisture.

  •, based in Dubai, offers free pickup and delivery and will repair Apple, Blackberry, Samsung phones and tablets.  Screen replacement on an iPhone 6 takes up to 25 minutes and costs AED 925, with a lifetime warranty for the new screen.
  •, based in Abu Dhabi, also does free pick up and delivery to its store on Hamdan Street. A new screen on an iPhone 6 costs AED 865 and will take up to an hour and a half.
  • If you purchase your device from an Axiom outlet or e-store, the Axiom promise is to pick up your phone, fix it, give you an alternative phone to use in the meantime, and bring back your old phone good as new, all at no extra charge. And if it’s a Nokia phone, they cover you for ‘forced theft’ (as long as you provide the police report.)