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Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2007 01:01 am

No calls, please

State Farm clarifies its iPhone policy

Untitled Document Customers flooded State Farm with calls after word got out that the Bloomington-based insurer would provide coverage for Apple’s pricey new iPhone. Many, however, met with disappointment. A Kansas resident says that the State Farm office he contacted received an emphatic no from underwriters in his state; a State Farm agent in Virginia could not immediately verify whether he could sell the insurance to his customers.
Customer interest nationwide was sparked by a recent Illinois Times story in which it was reported that State Farm, unlike most other insurers, would allow its agents to write personal-articles policies for the devices [see R.L. Nave, “iNsurable,” July12]. Although the company allows insurance on iPhones to be sold, local underwriters, who are divided into zones, have discretion to give an ultimate yea or nay, says Missy Lundberg, a State Farm spokeswoman. That’s contributed to continuing confusion, Lundberg acknowledges. Because of a history of negative experiences with small electronics, State Farm doesn’t cover most cell phones, but the company does offer coverage on gadgets worth a specified value.  “We’re going more by the price, not what the item is,” Lundberg says, “so it’s hard to say that we insure iPhones. We insure the amount the iPhone is worth.”
The iPhone retails for $499 for 4 gigabytes and $599 for 8 gigabytes. AT&T, which has the exclusive rights to offer service to the iPhone, does not offer coverage under its insurance plan for wireless phones plan. Manufacturer Apple also offers a two-year extended warranty for the iPhone, costing $69.

Contact R.L. Nave at rnave@illinoistimes.com
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