A typical cell phone now costs between $200-$600. You may pay less when you buy it due to rebates, but this is how much you'd have to pay to replace it if lost, damaged, or stolen. That's why cell phone insurance, also known as a cell phone protection plan, might be worth the money.
I use a Treo 650 from Verizon Wireless, which costs about $450 to replace. For only $4 per month I get the piece of mind that my phone will be replaced if something happens to it. That's less than 1% of the replacement value each month for the cell phone protection plan.
Where should you buy a cell phone insurance plan? The most obvious place is from your cellular phone carrier, such as Cingular, Verizon, Sprint, or T-Mobile. But each of these offers differing degrees of plans. Cingular, for example, does not cover data phones such as the Treo. Since these are typically the most expensive phones I'm shocked that Cingular won't protect them, even if it's a couple bucks more per month. Another benefit to choosing a plan from your cell phone company is that your insurance will be conveniently added to your cell phone bill each month.
Unfortunately, insurance won't necessarily get your data back if you lose your cell phone. Some providers backup data on your phone, such as Verizon with Verizon WirelessSync, but most providers and phones don't offer such a feature. One option is to use a lost and found service such as StuffBak. StuffBak isn't an insurance plan. It's a lost and found service in which you place labels on your cell phone. If someone finds the phone, they receive a reward for returning it to you. Each StuffBak label has a unique identifier on it. Finders can login to the StuffBak.com web site or call a toll free number to find out how to return the phone. Stuffbak labels are rather affordable. But if you damage your phone or if no one returns it you will still need to pay a hefty amount to replace your phone.