Samsung Care Plus: What to know about Samsung’s take on AppleCare
You can get your Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Z Flip 3 covered under Care Plus. But what does that really mean?
You can get your Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Z Flip 3 covered under Care Plus. But what does that really mean?Lexy Savvides/CNET
At its third Unpacked event of 2021, Samsung unveiled its latest foldable phones -- the Galaxy Z Fold 3 (£1,800) and the Galaxy Z Flip 3 (£1,000). Both phones are cheaper than the Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G from 2020, which sported a £2,000 price tag.
Even though the foldables technically have a price drop and promotions galore, £1,000 or more is still a hefty chunk of change to invest in this relatively new foldable style of phone.
And Samsung's past foldables were viewed by many as too fragile for normal daily use. The South Korean giant made design tweaks to make them more durable, but you'd be forgiven if you're still unsure about how sturdy they actually are. Those of you who preordered directly from Samsung got a bonus that could make you more comfortable with the new type of device -- a free year of Samsung Care Plus, the company's extended warranty, its version of AppleCare.
After that year, you'll be charged each month until you cancel -- or for two years, whichever comes first. But what is Samsung Care Plus and should you get it? Will it actually make you worry less about the bendable screens in the Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3?
Discover the latest news and best reviews in smartphones and carriers from CNET's mobile experts.
Reading a plan's Terms of Service isn't anyone's idea of a fun time, so we did the hard work for you. We read through Samsung's Care Plus FAQ and the plan's Terms of Service, as well as sent questions -- many, many questions -- to Samsung to help you navigate the ins and outs of Samsung Care Plus. Here's what we found out.
What is Samsung Care Plus?
In addition to the new foldables, Care Plus applies to other Samsung smartphones, PCs, notebooks and tablets, as well as home appliances, TVs and monitors.Lexy Savvides/CNET
Care Plus is an extra coverage package for Samsung smartphones, PCs, laptops, tablets, home appliances, TVs and monitors that goes beyond the manufacturer's warranty.
Care Plus was originally called Samsung Premium Care, but was rebranded as Care Plus in 2020. The plan aims to provide quick and easy repairs and replacements of Samsung devices. It's similar to AppleCare, which iPhone, iPad and other device users can buy with their new gadgets.
The aim of both is to give you extra insurance against breakage or malfunction. But devices today are so sturdy, it sometimes doesn't make sense to pay for extra coverage. Foldables are one area where repairs can be complicated and pricey.
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How much will Care Plus cost?
Care Plus costs £4, £9, £11 or £13 per month in the US, depending on your device. (It's available in other countries, including the UK and Australia, but the terms will be different for each territory.) The subscription will renew monthly for three years unless you cancel, or Samsung cancels, in the event of nonpayment, for example.
For foldable owners, the monthly bill will set you back £13. Those of you who have the free year from the preorder promotion will start paying when the first year is over, and you'll be billed monthly until you cancel or when you hit year No.
3 of device ownership, whichever happens first.
The foldable screen is the hot new novelty in smartphones, so you definitely want to make sure you're covered if something goes wrong.Patrick Holland/CNET
What does Care Plus cover?
Starting from your enrollment date, Care Plus covers power-surge protection and breakdowns caused by accidental damage, as well as shipments to the manufacturer for replacement or repair and tech support through Asurion. Care Plus is inclusive of the manufacturer's warranty, and except for the previously listed items, all other plan coverage becomes effective immediately following the manufacturer's warranty expiration, according to the Care Plus Service Contract Coverage document.
Care Plus can cover replacements and repairs for breakdowns and failures due to normal wear and tear problems, as well as accidents such as dropping your phone, spillages and cracks. Accidental damage repairs and replacements have a cap of three times per year, according to Care Plus' FAQ. Mechanical breakdowns -- like battery failure -- have no repair limits and come with no service fees.
Batteries are covered for free under Samsung's mechanical failures policy. Other breakdowns that are a result of faulty materials or design on the part of Samsung are also covered for free.Sarah Tew/CNET
But more likely types of damage -- caused by accidents like dropping the device -- face a £249 fee for each incident. That includes accidental damage from liquids.
If you spill your coffee on your Z Fold 3, it's covered, as is damage from water and any other liquid -- for that £249 fee. If you crack your screen or damage it in some other way, it will cost you £249 to repair, and you can replace it three times a year (for £249 each time). The fee is a discount from what you'll pay to replace the inner screens if you don't have coverage, but for the Flip, at least, it may not make sense unless you're particularly accident-prone.
You'll be charged the £249 regardless of which screen is damaged, but if somehow you damage both screens in the same accident, you'll only pay the £249 once. If your initial year-long warranty has expired and you don't have Samsung Care Plus, the inner Z Fold 3 display repair will set you back £479, if arranged through Samsung, while the outer will cost £149. The Z Flip 3 inner screen will cost you £349, while the cover display will cost £99 to replace.
With Care Plus, the repair cost remains the same regardless of screen -- inner, outer or Z Flip cover screen. For the outer screens, it's actually cheaper not to tap into Care Plus. Samsung's Care Plus landing page also says cracked screen repairs are only £29.
That's true, but it doesn't apply to foldable phones. The Care Plus' service contract coverage document breaks down Samsung devices into four tiers and organizes the service fees based on those tiers. Foldable phones are tier 4 with the £249 service fee.
Tiers 1 through 3 include other Samsung devices like the A Series, the S series and the Note devices.
Not a foldable user? No worries, older Samsung smartphone models are covered if you buy Care Plus.Andrew Hoyle/CNET
If Samsung approves your claim, it'll send a replacement device. Once you receive it, you'll need to return the faulty device within 10 days.
If you miss the deadline, you'll be charged an unrecovered equipment fee, according to the FAQ. Samsung does supply shipment packaging. Care Plus doesn't cover problems your device might run into in terms of "abuse, neglect, pre-existing conditions, rust, corrosion, theft or burglary, mysterious disappearance, damage from exposure to weather conditions, power fluctuations and any loss covered under a manufacturer's warranty," according to the FAQ.
Where can I get my device fixed?
If you run into problems with your device, you can find help with repairs and replacements through uBreakiFix, which are Samsung-authorized service centers.
Just visit the uBreakiFix website and enter your ZIP code. The company offers carry-in and curbside service, house calls and mail-in repairs. Care Plus is administered by Asurion, a private company that provides insurance for smartphones, tablets, consumer electronics and more.
Asurion makes the decision regarding whether your phone will need repair or replacing. After Asurion assesses your claim, it'll let you know if you need to mail your device in or schedule an appointment with uBreakiFix. (Again, these will be handled by different companies in different countries.)
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How do I enroll in Care Plus?
If you preordered the new Z Fold 3 or the Z Flip 3, you can get up to a year of Care Plus for free, but you can add Care Plus anytime during the first year that you've purchased your device. If your current device is covered under Care Plus, but you buy a new device, the coverage plan doesn't transfer, according to the Care Plus FAQ.
You pay every month, though, and can cancel at any time (though it's not quite as simple as it sounds). If you've had your device for 60 days or less, you can enroll in Care Plus with the Samsung Members app. To enroll, launch the app, tap the content card and tap Check Eligibility.
If your device qualifies, you'll just follow the on-screen prompts. You can also enroll on Samsung.com, or visit the Samsung Care Plus site and enter your device's IMEI number to learn more about eligibility and plan pricing.
Can I cancel Care Plus?
Yes. To cancel the service, you can call 1-866-371-9051, which operates 24/7.
Samsung also offers the option to make a cancelation request by mail or through your Samsung account on the company's website. On Samsung.com, click My Account > My Subscriptions. From there, you should see your active coverage plan and the option to cancel it.
You can also email [email protected], according to Care Plus' service coverage contract. If you cancel Care Plus within 30 days of buying it, you'll get a full refund, including sales tax.
What's covered in the included warranty, if I don't get Care Plus for my new foldables?
Samsung devices come with a year's warranty that covers mechanical breakdowns, which means you won't pay anything if the battery or screen breaks in the first 12 months you own it. Under the manufacturer's warranty, original parts and battery, as well as labor, are covered for one year.
Original accessories that came with your device are covered for six months. Mechanical breakdowns are covered under the warranty, but once it expires, you're responsible for the costs. Accidental and liquid damage, as well as normal wear and tear aren't covered under the manufacturer's warranty, and costs vary by repair.
If you're not covered under Care Plus and your phone malfunctions somehow, you can still take it to uBreakiFix.
If your device has a problem covered by the manufacturer's warranty, you won't be charged.