Cell phones are not cheap. Even if you have a run-of-the-mill data phone made by a third-party manufacturer, you likely paid $100 dollars or more to obtain it. If you have a designer phone like an iPhone, you may have spent several hundred dollars on your device. Replacing such expensive pieces of hardware can be costly. Unfortunately, cell phones break, become lost or malfunction on a regular basis. For this reason, many manufacturers and providers recommend that all heavy cell phone users obtain insurance coverage on their devices. This financial protection comes in handy more often than many casual phone users realize.
If you carry insurance on your Verizon phone, you may not have to pay for a replacement phone out of your own pocket. However, Verizon's insurance policies typically come with important restrictions that could affect the availability of new phones. Don't assume that you're entitled to a free replacement phone until you've carefully reviewed the terms of your policy. Depending upon how you lost, damaged or destroyed your phone, you may not be entitled to a full reimbursement.
Your ability to receive a free replacement phone hinges on several things. First, you'll need to prove that your phone wasn't damaged or broken due to your own negligence. Since most instances of water damage are classified as "negligence," this can be a tough bar to clear. Likewise, you must request your replacement before your insurance or warranty period expires. If you wait too long, you may have to pay a portion of your replacement phone's cost.
Even if you qualify for a free replacement phone, you're unlikely to receive a brand-new device. Verizon's warranty states that users whose phones break or become damaged after two weeks of use may receive a "certified used phone" that has been refurbished to meet Verizon's new-phone standards. While these phones are typically mechanically sound and may be functionally indistinguishable from new phones, you might be surprised to learn that you're not the first owner of your replacement phone. Unfortunately, you'll have limited recourse in this situation. Unless you can prove that the phone that you're replacing had a manufacturing defect, Verizon is unlikely to switch out your refurbished phone for a new phone.
If you'd like Verizon to replace your non-defective device with a new one, you'll need to ask your customer service representative to do so when you place your initial replacement request. In most cases, he or she will agree to this request as long as Verizon has new replacement phones in stock at the time.