Purchasing Your Teen's First Cell Phone? What Should You Consider?

If you've spent years waffling over the decision to provide your teen with a cell phone, you may have finally reached the point at which the convenience of being able to communicate with your teen at any time of day or night outweighs your concerns about texting while driving, sending inappropriate photos, or the other dangers to which teens can be susceptible. However, paying hundreds of dollars for an expensive -- and often fragile -- piece of electronic equipment for a sometimes careless teen can still be a financial gamble. What can you do to save money on your teen's first cell phone while keeping a watchful eye on his or her usage? Read on to learn more about the paths you may want to take when providing your teen with this benefit (and associated responsibility). 

Purchase an "unlocked" phone outside a provider plan

Even if you already have a family plan with your cellular service provider that offers regular phone upgrades, you may benefit from purchasing a used or refurbished phone outside the auspices of a cell provider. These "unlocked" phones are not tied to any specific carrier, which means your teen will be able to switch cell plans at a later point without purchasing a new phone, and are often available at a much lower cost than a brand new phone. Choosing an unlock iphone by unlockphone.com can also allow you to purchase a pay-as-you-go cell plan, which is often a good idea for teens whose usage may need to be monitored or curtailed; these plans can ensure that you won't find yourself paying overage charges, as your teen's ability to text or make calls will cease once his or her pre-paid plan has been drained of funds. 

Check into insurance

Having your teen's phone added to your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy can be a wise decision, as this additional coverage is usually available for just a few dollars per month but will replace even an expensive phone that is lost or damaged. Although this type of insurance is also available directly through your cellular service provider, it will often cover only the purchase of phones from this provider (sometimes at a higher cost than available elsewhere). Purchasing extra coverage through your homeowner's insurance policy instead will allow you to purchase a replacement phone from just about anywhere, from an electronics store to an online auction site or even a garage sale.