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All thumbs? For just $89, AT&T will fix plan holders' cracked cell phone screens

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Jonathan Weiss/123RF
Most smartphones these days seem designed with an expiration date in mind (when’s the last time you managed to get a phone to work for more than two years?), but if you have a knack for sending your mobile device to an even earlier grave, AT&T may have something of a solution for you. The mobile carrier recently unveiled a new device repair service, creatively named AT&T Device Protection. As the name suggests, the service protects your device from … well, yourself.

Beginning November 15, if you drop your phone and end up with a cracked screen, AT&T will repair it for just $89, provided you have an existing AT&T insurance plan. Phones covered under the new plan include the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Samsung Galaxy S5, Samsung Galaxy S6, and a much wider range of iPhones.

But wait, you say, doesn’t AT&T already offer repairs and replacements for broken phones? The answer, of course, is yes, but Device Protection is a significantly cheaper alternative to the plans already on the market. As Phandroid points out, while most standard insurance options with cell phone carriers “cover” you when you inadvertently allow your phone to slip out of your hand and onto the pavement, the deductible can be up to $350 or so. Even a “cheap” fix from your carrier would cost between $100 and $150, so this $89 option really doesn’t sound too bad.

Of course, AT&T Device Protection is meant specifically for cracked screens, so if you have another phone ailment, this new service probably won’t apply. But all the same, it’s not a bad deal, especially since AT&T says that having a cracked screen won’t affect your insurance claim status for other problems with your phone, and you can get a same-day repair as long as you submit (and receive approval for) a claim by 2 p.m. local time.

The new service will first launch in a select number of cities, including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, and Orlando, Florida, on November 15, and will then come to more markets on December 1, including Denver, Las Vegas, New York, and Washington, D.C. and Austin, Texas.

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