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Water damage is no longer a top five concern for smartphone owners

by Contributor

According to the “Good Hands People,” liquid is no longer feared as much by smartphone owners as a potential “phone killer.” Yeah, I remember the old days when I might have donned an extra shirt if it was raining outside so that my Motorola DROID wouldn’t get wet in my breast pocket where I kept it (and where I continue to put my phones when out). But Allstate Protection Plans’ latest survey shows that Americans fear eight specific issues with water damage ranking outside the top five.

The number one fear according to U.S. smartphone owners, and listed on a leading 34% of responses, is a damaged screen. And that makes sense since the screen is the part of a smartphone that users interact with the most. 45% of Americans spend 5 hours or more using the screen on their phone every day which is why 27% repair their screen in one day or less.

54% of Americans prefer to watch movies and television shows on their phones

54% of Americans watch movies or television shows over their phones instead of traditional television which is a big reason why $10.2 billion was spent last year to replace damaged screens. That was three times the amount spent in 2018 ($3.4 billion).

Somewhat surprisingly, Wi-Fi and connectivity issues lands in second place after being mentioned in 19% of responses. Hey, if you don’t have connectivity your phone is a giant flashlight or paperweight.

Touchscreen problems come in third, listed on 13% of the survey responses received by Allstate. If your phone isn’t registering touch inputs correctly, it is almost impossible to use. Another surprise, chipped corners and sides finished fourth after appearing on 11% of responses. This is a cosmetic issue and not one of performance and can be solved, for the most part, by using a case. 

Charging issues placing fifth at 11%, should be ranked higher. If it’s a matter of a damaged port, wireless charging could be the answer. If it is something else, we are talking about a major issue because you didn’t spend your hard-earned money on a disposable phone.

In sixth place, water damage is knocked out of the top five concerns at 10%. Most high-end phones feature some type of protection from water although this protection does fade over time. Most flagships can be submerged in nearly 5 feet of clear water for up to 30 minutes and still work. One major problem: if manufacturers are so quick to promote the IP ratings of their phones, why don’t they include water damage on their warranties?

Phone repairs are more expensive than Americans think

Speaker issues (9%) and microphone issues (10%) are seventh and eighth on the survey respectively. Both are equally bad since the latter prevents you from using voice-activated services including your digital assistants, and the former could prevent you from hearing your phone clearly. Other information from the insurer showed that 37% of Americans damaged a device over the past year, but only 15% permanently lost or had their devices stolen.

Phone repairs are more expensive than most Americans think. The survey showed that 47% believe that phone repairs cost $150 or less. In reality, an uninsured iPhone 15 screen replacement costs $279, and a Galaxy S23 Ultra screen replacement will cost as much as $209. Replacing the internal screen on an uninsured Pixel Fold could run as high as $900!
Unfortunately, just slapping a case on a phone might not be the answer. Last year, 83% of Americans put their phone in a case but 50% of these phones were still damaged in a case, up from 21% in 2020. Either cases are not as protective as they once were, or the damage is getting more extensive.

According to Allstate, 90 million Americans damaged a phone last year and Americans collectively spent $17.9 billion to repair and replace them. That might be the only stat you need to see to know how much Americans love their smartphones.

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