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This budget carrier also offers a number of single and family data plans. For those who use Wi-Fi at home and work, the 5GB data plan is probably the best choice. Setting up service with Total Wireless was a snap. I inserted the SIM card into a compatible device, got a new phone number and activated my service in about 10 minutes. This was my first time setting up service with a prepaid carrier. This video takes you step-by-step:.

Check compatibility here. Total Wireless also sells phones. I checked TotalWireless. I experienced zero dropped calls and zero missed texts over the month that I tested the prepaid carrier. When I talked to my family and friends on the phone, I asked them to rate the call quality.

Everyone confirmed that I sounded fine.

I had no trouble hearing any of the people I was talking to. Once enabled, I could talk on the phone and use data at the same time. Take a look at the results:. And as my luck would have it that morning, my phone seemingly landed on the only pebble on the sidewalk in front of me, instantly shattering my screen.

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Americans have rung up quite the bill fixing their cracked smartphone screens. That same report estimated that two-thirds of smartphone owners had damaged their phone in some way. And as the price tag for mobile devices has increased, so has the cost to repair them.

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Also see: Gifts to help people unplug and get back to a life before smartphones. Moreover, the iPhone Xs and other top-end smartphones now feature entirely-glass casing and more advanced facial recognition technology embedded within the phone.

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Here is what consumers should consider:. Do they have small children? Another consideration is the device in question. However, for consumers who purchase a low-end smartphone, insurance may not make as much sense, said Chris Raymond, deputy editor at Consumer Reports. The plans offered by wireless carriers are typically administered by other insurance companies, such as Asurion and Assurant AIZ, From a cost perspective, some plans will charge users on a monthly basis though they can cancel at any time , while with other plans consumers can pay in full upfront for a certain length of coverage.

These plans are usually charged on a monthly basis. All insurance plans come with deductibles that must be paid before repairs are covered.

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To judge the value of an insurance plan, Raymond suggested that consumers compare the cost of un-insured repairs with the cost of the plan itself. Accidental damage and out-of-warranty malfunctions are typically covered by insurance plans. Like any insurance plan, consumers will need to file claims and have them approved by their insurer to receive compensation. But sometimes plans have limitations even on what they typically cover. For instance, some plans will only cover two or three instances of accidental damage in a given year.

Intentional damage to a device is not covered typically.

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Some will provide money to be used for the purchase of a new device, while others will provide a replacement device. In the latter case, replacement devices are often refurbished models — and not always the same model that the consumer originally owned. Another area where smartphone protection plans vary widely in coverage is theft and loss of the device.

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SquareTrade, for instance, never covers these events — Siciliano said this was because theft and loss are much rarer than accidental damage but cost more, so SquareTrade foregoes that coverage to keep the cost of its plans down. Some plans, such as AppleCare and Geek Squad Protection, charge more for consumers who want theft and loss protection. There are other ways to cover a lost or damaged smartphone beyond paying for a special insurance policy. If you received a smartphone as a gift and pay for your monthly phone bill with certain credit cards — including the U.

Some people, including consumer spending expert and radio host Clark Howard , are against smartphone insurance plans, arguing that the costs can easily stack up and the exclusions can prevent them from being useful. Instead, he and others suggest purchasing a sturdy case, which can prevent against most forms of accidental damage.