No one plans to crack their tablet’s display. But it happens, and it’s something we should be prepared for. And the preparations should go beyond just planning to take your broken iPad to an Apple store, because there are better options.
It’s apparently human nature to avoid thinking about this. Everyone hopes that it won’t happen to them. But the results of our non-scientific poll found that nearly half the people we talked to had broken a tablet at least once in the the past five years, and some more than one.
Buy a Case … Just in Case
We won’t spent too much time urging everyone to keep their iPad in a protective case. If all the warnings you’ve heard up to now haven’t convinced you to use a hard case, there’s nothing we can say to change your mind.
Beyond that, tablets get broken even in cases. Dropped devices often land face down, so their exposed screens end up in contact with harsh reality. Or someone sits on the case hard enough to bend both it and the computer inside.
All that said, there are cases that will stand up to almost any punishment, with the Otterbox Defender as the best example. But these turn a svelte iPad into a tank, at least doubling the weight and thickness. That’s a heck of a sacrifice for drop protection.
That’s why it’s important to make other preparations.
You might want to sit down for this part, especially if you waited to read this article until after breaking your iPad, because getting a tablet fixed is very expensive. The display makes up about half of an iPad, and replacing this part costs more than half what the entire device does.
Take the second-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro that debuted this spring. The base model is $799, and Apple charges $599 to replace a broken display, 75% of the entire cost of the tablet. Or fixing the screen on the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro is 70% of the selling price.
Replacement Costs for iPad Displays:
- 9-inch iPad Pro (2015), 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2017): $599
- 5-inch iPad Pro: $449
- 7-inch iPad Pro: $379
- iPad 3rd generation, iPad 4th generation, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 4, iPad Air 2: $299
- iPad, iPad 2, iPad Air, iPad 5th generation: $249
- iPad mini, iPad mini 2: $199
Get Insurance from Apple
Every iPad comes with a one year limited warranty from Apple, but this doesn’t cover accidents. Think of it like your car; if the transmission fails on your new Camry, Toyota will repair it for free, but if you smash into a tree, you have to pay to fix it. That’s why you have car insurance, and should have tablet insurance too. Because, if you smash your iPad into a tree, the hit is also to your wallet.
When you buy a new tablet, you can also buy AppleCare+, which will cover the cost of not just one but two broken screens, no matter how they got damaged. And instead of your out-of-pocket cost being more than half the price of the tablet, the replacement cost is $49.
But like all insurance, AppleCare+ itself isn’t free. It’s $99, which is what keeps most people from buying it. And maybe its value is questionable if you’re getting a $329 iPad (2017). But take another look at the cost of repairing a 10.5-inch iPad Pro and think hard about whether you’d like to shell out $450 to get it fixed.
The trick for AppleCare+ is that you have to buy it within 60 days of purchasing your tablet. And there’s no cheating: if you don’t sign up for this insurance plan at the same time as your iPad, you have to bring the device into an Apple store for an inspection.
And there’s an important caveat: coverage lasts for two years. After that, you’re back to paying for repairs yourself.
Get Insurance from Another Company
Apple isn’t the only one that offers tablet insurance, as there are a number of other companies that also cover the cost of fixing your iPad, no matter how it got broken. And these don’t limit themselves to Apple products, also protecting models from Microsoft, Samsung, etc.
But they nevertheless have a lot in common with AppleCare+. For example, an insurance plan has to be purchased soon after buying the tablet, generally as little as 30 days. And coverage lasts for just two or three years.
Surprisingly, Apple’s plan is often the most affordable. Take SquareTrade as an example. Covering a 10.5-inch iPad Pro for two years costs $124 with a $75 deductible. A 12.9-inch iPad Pro is $159 with a $75 deductible. Insurance from either Securranty and Worth Ave. Group also costs more than AppleCare+.
Think About It
At this point, you’re probably telling yourself that you’re extra careful with your tablet so you don’t need insurance. But life happens. Are you sure your kids are going to be equally careful with your iPad? Can you be certain you’ll never let the device slip off the edge of your desk? That it will never get left on the couch where someone can sit on it? That you won’t drive off with your iPad on top of your car?
So think hard about whether that $99 AppleCare+ fee might not be worth it. Especially if you’re carrying around a $1279 maxed-out iPad Pro. And do something before you break your iPad because it’s too late afterward.