The danger with carrying a smartphone in your pocket is that it is essentially a piece of glass held together with metal and plastic with sophisticated electrical innards. Warranties from original equipment manufacturers tend to not cover a phone if it is broken or has water damage. What if you drop your brand new iPhone 4S into a puddle? The glass is going to break and it is going to get water inside. When that happens, you are in trouble like a half-plucked turkey the day before Thanksgiving.
The folks at SquareTrade like to break things. SquareTrade is a third-party device warranty company that basically offers insurance for what Apple or the other OEMs will not cover in warranties. The company posted a video positing a Samsung Galaxy S II against an iPhone 4S. The results are not for the fanboy faint of heart.
For most of us, the idea of third-party device insurance feels like a scam. Isn't that the way it always feels with insurance? You do not trust the provider, and things never seem to be covered when you want them to and the deductible is too high. The carriers offer additional warranties on the devices they sell, but the carriers are even worse than the average door-to-door salesman. It is also expensive, with either a flat rate that costs as much as the phone or a monthly fee attached to your bill.
SquareTrade's iPhone 4S policy
The big retail stores offer the same type of services. What do you think the Geek Squad is but device insurance and warranty protection? In addition to SquareTrade, there is also Securranty, a company that offers the same functionality and pricing as SquareTrade. What these companies will not cover is data or device loss. There are other ways to find lost phones though, with mobile device management solutions (if your phone is tied to your business) or "find my phone" services through Apple or security companies like 3LM, Lookout and Norton.
What do you think about a third-party $99 warranty for your iPhone 4S, Android or other device? Is it worth it? Maybe, if you have a serious case of the drops. Let us know in the comments.