More than 35 million mobile phones (73%) are not protected with insurance, leaving their owners to pick up the tab if they are lost or stolen.
Around 1-in-4 owners who have insurance have no idea what the policy covers.
The biggest risk to phone users besides the cost of replacing a handset is fraudulent calls. Thieves typically steal phones and run up massive bills quickly, often by making expensive overseas calls.
If the user does not have fraud cover, the cost of the calls generally falls on them.
Just over a third of phones (35%) are protected against fraud and only T-Mobile and Vodaphone protect against fraudulent call charges in their mobile phone insurance.
Figures from phone providers show that thieves can clock up a £180 bill in the average 2 hours between reporting a phone stolen and the network blocking the account.
Mobile users who believe their phones are covered by home insurance policies need to check the small print.
Many need the policyholder to activate special cover to protect belongings outside the home that costs an average £67 a year on top of the annual premium, according to uSwitch.com, the firm that researched the statistics.
Home insurance may also include an excess that the policyholder has to pay for the first claim in any year.
The compulsory excess averages £100, but many policies also include a voluntary excess that can double that cost.
Five key questions to ask an insurer are:
- Does the cover include a back up service for data?
- Is the cost of any apps or extras lost with the phone covered?
- Does cover include a guaranteed handset replacement?
- Does the insurance cover the same term as the phone contract?
- What will a claim cost in excesses and administration fees?
Mobile phone users should regularly back up apps, photos; music downloads and address lists, as a stolen phone can mean weeks of hassle trying to replace the data.