| 15.8°C Dublin

Is it really worth shelling out for mobile phone insurance?

With mobile phone theft the fastest growing crime on our streets, people are reconsidering the value of having insurance to replace their handsets -- if not the annoyance of being without it.

Gardai have said that hundreds of handsets are being swiped by "bicycle thieves" snatching phones from unsuspecting pedestrians.

A recent spike in thefts of iPhones has resulted in a new initiative deployed to stop them, but as long as people like to "walk and talk", it's an on-going problem, especially where fancy iPhone 4 is involved -- the gadget of choice of the thieving population.

Best to get indoors safely before making that call.

A total of 96pc of Irish adults have a mobile phone -- among the highest saturation in Europe -- and an estimated 40 are stolen every day.

If you've been a victim, then you're probably wondering what you can do about it. Well, for some, the answer is buying insurance so that at least they get a new handset quickly.

But the Consumer Association has repeatedly said that mobile phone insurance is not worth the money. And it is expensive.

It might only look like a tenner on your bill every month but that can be 20pc of the amount insured. The equivalent premium for, say, a €5,000 house insurance claim would be €1,000!

So think long and hard before committing, and study the different packages carefully. We've compared the four main providers along with some independent insurers.



Locked

In all cases, there's a hefty excess (so you're never fully covered), some don't include accessories such as pouches, batteries or cables and none include mobiles taken from unattended cars (unless locked in the boot or glove box). In addition, if you don't report a stolen phone to the gardai, you will not be covered for the theft.

Your decision to buy might be influenced by the fact that more than half the home insurance companies don't cover mobile phone loss -- but do check your policy before shelling out twice

Some companies, including Phonesonline, have odd restrictions such as having to sign up within a month of buying the phone.

Others, such as 02, don't cover the iPhone for the first 60 days. It's hard to see the point of these, except to be aware of them.

What option you choose in this case largely depends on what type of phone you have and who your service provider is, but we're plumping for 02 as best value for money.