Along with the launch of new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c models, Apple had quietly increased the pricing of its extended warranty service called AppleCare+ for each claim.
With AppleCare+, users are able to extend their manufacturer’s warranty from just a 1-year period to a 2-year period and are able to get technical help and support in using their smartphones beyond the 90-day free telephone support that Apple offers with the purchase of the hardware. Additionally, while the standard iPhone warranty may cover defects in the iPhone, it does not cover user abuse or mis-use whereas AppleCare+ does.
As spotted by MacRumors, AppleCare+ still costs $99 to purchase. However, where the price increases is when you make a claim. Before, each claim that wasn’t covered by the standard warranty costs just $49 per incident. Now, the new pricing will have users pay $79 per incident. Incidents where payment would be required would include cases with water damage and cracked screens.
Still, AppleCare+ delivers exceptional value for users who are prone to dropping their phones. Though the extended warranty service covers just that–warranties–and does not protect against loss or theft of the iPhone. Compared with insurance service through carriers like AT&T Mobility, Sprint Corp, T-Mobile US, and Verizon Wireless, the $79 deductible is much cheaper than the typical $150-$200 deductible charged by the carriers for handling warranty claims. Carriers partner with Asurion to handle the warranty claims, and the higher deductible there does cover loss and theft of the iPhone.
The service is also expanding to more markets. In addition to the countries that AppleCare+ is currently available today (U.S., Canada, and Japan), the extended warranty program will also be headed to China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Austria, Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, and the UK. Given Apple’s focus on China with the iPhone 5c launch, this could help Apple to improve its image with customers there with an easy warranty program.