Brits face £1 billion phone bill to repair broken mobiles due to lack of insurance

30 October 2017

  • 2.4 million Brits have a phone with a cracked screen, with average cost of £55 to fix
  • But two thirds don’t have mobile phone insurance, despite 42% damaging devices
  • Cost leads Brits to put up with broken screens for up to six months on average 
  • Video shows tips on how people can protect their phone

Shattered screens, robot voices and broken buttons – just some of the dilemmas faced by the typical British smartphone owner, as current repairs total nearly £1billion1.

A smartphone is one of the biggest lifestyle investments people make and with the new iPhone launch, research from Nationwide FlexPlus2 reveals that British mobile users are not protecting one of their most valuable everyday assets, with more than two thirds (68%) of those that have a smartphone not having any mobile phone insurance, and a further ten per cent unsure if they’re covered. This is despite more than a quarter (26%) saying they couldn’t last up to a day without their handset.

Four in ten (42%) of those polled have damaged their devices at some point, with the three most prevalent issues being broken screens, battery and software issues. When it comes to how people damage their phones, dropping it was the most likely reason (45%), with a fifth (21%) dropping it in the toilet and a further tenth (11%) dropping it into a full sink.

The most likely part of a phone to be damaged is the screen, with the research showing six per cent of the adult smartphone population are currently using handsets with shattered or split glass – equating to 2.4 million Brits3. More than half of phone users (54%) know someone with a damaged mobile screen and of those who had cracked their phone screen in the past, almost a quarter (24%) have done so three or more times.

Due to this lack of cover, many are left with lingering issues until they can afford often expensive repair jobs. The poll of 2,000 UK smartphone owners shows Brits go an average of six months without repairing their broken screens, while two per cent go two years or more before getting their phones fixed.
The cost of fixing typical mobile phone problems can be expensive, particularly where more than one type of damage is experienced at the same time. The average costs per item according to the poll are:

  • Smashed/ cracked screen: £55
  • Water damage: £54
  • Cracked reverse of phone £43
  • Broken buttons: £40
  • Screen colours affected: £40
  • Overheating: £37
  • Volume damage: £36
  • Software issues: £37
  • Battery problems: £27

Dan King, Nationwide’s Head of FlexPlus Current Account, said: “With new handsets being released all the time and with constantly increasing functionality, the cost of replacing a handset could set people back hundreds of pounds. For most, this will be a significant hit to their finances, or could mean they are left without a phone at all.

“But despite these risks, most people have no mobile phone insurance in place, meaning they would have to stump up the cost of replacing their phone themselves. It’s worth considering taking a good quality mobile phone insurance policy, such as that offered through Nationwide’s FlexPlus current account, to avoid ending up out of pocket. The last thing you want or need is a big bill or to be left with no option but to talk through a cracked screen until your contract winds up”.

Nationwide’s FlexPlus current account offers a range of benefits, including Worldwide Family Travel Insurance, commission-free cash withdrawals abroad, Worldwide Family Mobile Phone Insurance and UK & European Breakdown and Recovery Assistance, all for £13 a month.

Nationwide Building Society is handing out free mobile phone cases and screen protectors on Saturday 4th November 2017 in London Westfield Stratford City, Birmingham New Street, Cardiff City Centre, Leeds Briggate and Glasgow Buchanan Street.

Notes to Editors

1 Calculation based on One Poll data (percentage experiencing issues with their phone and the cost to fix it) and number of UK adults who have a mobile phone.
2One Poll research: total sample size was 2,000 UK adult mobile phone owners. The survey ran from the 28/09/17 to 06/10/17.
3 Calculation based on One poll data – six percent of UK adult mobile phone users.

FlexPlus Key Information 
Full information can be found here

Account Eligibility

  • FlexPlus is open to new and existing customers aged 18 years and over 
  • Single and joint account options available
  • You must be a UK resident to be eligible for the insurances

Account Fee

  • FlexPlus has a £13 per month fee

Credit Interest

  • 3% AER (2.96% gross p.a) on credit balances up to £2,500 
  • Credit interest is not payable on balances over £2,500

Key Benefits

  • Worldwide Family Travel Insurance 
  • Commission-Free Cash Withdrawals Abroad
  • Worldwide Family Mobile Phone Insurance 
  • UK & European Breakdown and Recovery Assistance

Exclusions and limitations apply to all FlexPlus insurances

Nationwide acts as an intermediary for the insurance products provided with the Nationwide FlexPlus current account. Worldwide Family Travel Insurance is underwritten by U K Insurance Limited. UK & European Breakdown and Recovery Assistance is underwritten by Liverpool Victoria Insurance Company Limited. Worldwide Family Mobile Phone Insurance is provided by Lifestyle Services Group and underwritten by Assurant General Insurance Limited.

About Nationwide

Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as one of the largest savings providers and a top-three provider of mortgages in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards, ISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million customers.

Customers can manage their finances in a branch, via the mobile app, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 18,000 employees. Nationwide's head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.

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