AppleCare+, insurance, or something else — how to pick the perfect protection plan for your iPad!

If you're getting one of the new iPads Pro, or an iPad Air or iPad mini, you may also be thinking about getting a protection plan to go with it. Apple, of course, offers AppleCare+, but there are also third party services, credit card benefits, and other programs that might be of interest. Here they are!

AppleCare vs. AppleCare+

Every iPad you purchase, whether it's sold by Apple or another retailer, comes with a 1-year limited warranty called AppleCare . This coverage costs you nothing and is automatically activated the day you purchase your iPad. Here's what it offers:

  • 1-year limited warranty against defects
  • 90 days complimentary phone support

The basic version of AppleCare, however, does not protect against any kind of accidental damage. That's where AppleCare+ comes into play.

AppleCare+ costs an additional $99 and must be purchased either at the same time, or within 60 days of purchasing your iPad. It will extend the standard one year warranty to two years and give you phone support for those full two years — as opposed to the 90 days after purchase that comes standard. That means if you ever run into an issue with your iPad, you can dial 1-800-MY-APPLE and ask for AppleCare, or you can call 1-800-APL-CARE directly.

What's more, if you break your iPad or drop it in water, you've got some addition options: AppleCare+ gives you two incidents where, for a $49 deductible, you can exchange your broken iPad for a replacement on the spot.

The only thing AppleCare+ does not protect you against is theft or loss.

Of course, to get the most value out of AppleCare+, it helps if you live close to an Apple Retail Store. If not, you'll need to mail your iPad out to get it serviced. Unless you have a backup phone laying around, going without for a prolonged period could be problematic for many.

Best Buy will also let you add AppleCare+ to your purchase, at the same rate as Apple Retail.

See at Apple

Credit Card benefits

Some credit cards offer warranty extensions as well as programs that protect against breakage and even theft. Requirements can vary based on providers, but typically require that you have an account in good standing and paid for your iPad completely on the card in question.

Premium cards, like gold or platinum, often have additional benefits that go with their higher membership fees. Check the material that came with your credit card, or visit your providers web site for more information.

SquareTrade insurance

SquareTrade offers warranties similar to AppleCare, but are not affiliated with or licensed by Apple. SquareTrade covers you for drops, spills, and malfunctions, and while the company doesn't have retail outlets for in-store fixes, it does offer free two-way shipping.

2-year plans for $85 or 3 year plans for $105 are available for a $49 deductible, or $99 or $129 respectively with no deductible.

On top of accident coverage, SquareTrade will also reimburse you for Genius Bar appointments, offers next day replacements, and even covers same day repairs through local service shops in your area. This alone can make it appealing to people that don't live near an Apple Store but may travel near them on occaision.

See at SquareTrade

Why carrier and big box retailer insurance plans are almost never a good idea

Carrier insurance offerings vary greatly based on what carrier you have, what kind of contract you have, and many other factors. We're hesitant to recommend them over AppleCare+ and other options simply because there are typically exorbitant monthly fees plus ever-changing deductibles involved, often on the high side.

Some carrier insurance plans do offer protection from theft and loss. Those are both rare occurrences, statistically speaking, and may already be covered under your home owners insurance or another personal or work policy.

Who should buy AppleCare+?

AppleCare+ is great for anyone who isn't terribly accident prone and plans on keeping their iPad Pro, iPad Air, or iPad mini for more than 1 year.

For $99 you get the peace of mind in knowing that if you do break your iPad, you only have to pay $49 for an Apple certified replacement.

See at Apple

Who should purchase insurance from SquareTrade?

If you're particularly accident prone or don't live within close range to an Apple Store, Square Trade may be your best option.

See at SquareTrade

Who should buy retail insurance?

If you're extremely unlucky and accident prone, don't live close to an Apple Store, can't use Square Trade, and don't have any kind of protection through credit cards, then maybe it's worth considering retail insurance. Still, probably not.

Still not sure?

If you still aren't sure what insurance plan, if any, is right for you, jump into our iPad forums and ask any additional questions you might have.

Made your choice? Let us know what you went with!