SquareTrade is the only major warranty provider for iPhone 3G, aside from Apple’s iPod-derived AppleCare Protection Plan. And, while their offerings are a bit confusing, we’ve gotten the straight story on how to get your iPhone 3G covered the way you want it.
Part of the confusion here, is that iPhone 3G has three different price-points.Â There’s the $199/$299 price point (for 8 GB and 16 GB, respectively), which is the “new customer” price. Only new customers, people out of contract, and first-gen iPhone buyers can get that price. Then, there’s the $399/$499 price, which is what customers locked into a contract with AT&T will pay to have their contract reset early. Finally, there’s the $599/$699 price, which eventually will allow buyers to purchase an iPhone 3G without any contract.
Got that? Good. Because now it gets a bit more confusing.
SquareTrade will provide you with three years of warranty coverage, and for an additional amount, provideÂ accidentalÂ damage coverage. It’s not full insurance, if your iPhone 3G is lost or stolen, you only can get back a partial refund of the unused coverage.
At their web site, they tell you to enter in the price you paid. However, for iPhone 3G, you should enter the price-point that you want coverage for. Meaning, if you want them to refund you for the no-contract price of iPhone 3G, you need to enter in either $599 or $699 (respectively) as the coverage amount. If you’re fine staying locked into an AT&T contract, enter the $399 or $499 price as the amount. We don’t suggest entering $199 or $299 as the coverage amount… if your iPhone 3G breaks 1.5 years down the road, you’ll have to pay AT&T a $200 penalty for an early contract reset to get your iPhone 3G replaced.
Of course, SquareTrade could make a special iPhone 3G sales page which clarifies this. But, until then, you should probably grab your warranty now. People that bought an iPhone 3G on launch day have a little over a week to buy their warranty extension, since you must buy it within 30 days of purchase.
Money Saving Tip: Enter coupon code FIFTYOFF to get, surprisingly, 50% off your warranty price. This discount also applies to theÂ accidentalÂ damage option. That actually brings the full warranty, sans contract, with damage coverage, on a 16 GB iPhone to only $87.50 (only $19 more than Apple’s single year warranty extension, which doesn’t include damage coverage). That comes to about $2.50 per month for the best warranty and damage coverage you can get for iPhone 3G.
Update: SquareTrade has confirmed to us that the procedure above is correct, and that they will honor all three iPhone 3G price-points, regardless of what you originally paid for iPhone 3G. You enter the price into SquareTrade that you want coverage for, up to the $599/$699 price-point.