Nationwide FlexPlus Mobile Cover Sucks

Obligatory, if you don’t live within 25 miles of a store.

Just called to claim on my insurance (cracked screen). Told I need to send it away for 10 days because I don’t live near a store. Told them I’m going to be in London this coming week anyways so if they could let me take it to a repair centre in London that would be okay, or Bristol or really wherever in this side of the country is okay as I can’t go without a phone for 10 days. Not even an offer of a loaner phone in the meantime.

If Nationwide would have told me about this I’d have gotten a useful insurance (AppleCare+) or something else. The repair centre Assaurant use isn’t even Apple Authorised (and therefore the screens won’t be coded to stop the settings app from telling you the screen isn’t genuine).

Really pissed off about it. I’m asking Nationwide to cover the repair fee minus the excess so I can get it repaired in a useful timeframe. I think this is exactly the kind of thing the Consumer Duty is meant to address. This is obviously not a good outcome (when they could service me if I lived somewhere like Reading that scrapes 25 miles away from some of their London repair centres) and Nationwide should require the entire repair network to be accessible to create better outcomes.

Access to phone repairs in a decent fashion (short timeframe or interim phone) shouldn’t be a postcode lottery.


They won’t even use official Apple or Apple certified parts when repairing it. Just a cheap alternative. That invalidates your warranty and any consumer protections you have too.

As a general rule, if an insurer won’t allow you to go back to the manufacturer for repairs and replacements and instead force their own, then it’s not worth using. Whether an iPhone or otherwise. It’s generally outsourced to cheap, shady service providers. I’m pretty sure this is the case with all packaged bank account insurance, so not just nationwide.

If the insurer doesn’t specify, just assume they won’t. It’s seen as a selling point, so if it’s a feature they offer, they’ll proclaim it somewhere in big letters like the post office does.

1 Like

Yeah, “OEM” parts that won’t be coded (not that I think I have any warranty now besides the implied consumer right of goods lasting a proportionate time and being of decent quality for the price indicated).

I didn’t even think for a second they’d use a partner that’s not Apple Certified. They should as part of the consumer duty and good outcomes requirement disclose this.

1 Like

FWIW I don’t really see any issue, so long as your device is repaired and its functionality isn’t impaired or reduced as a result of the repair, it’s reasonable.

Keep an old phone to use temporarily in these circumstances (this is what I do), or buy a cheapie one.

I’ve made 2 claims with Assurant when I had Halifax Ultimate Reward. The first was for loss and they sent me a refurbished 256gb Fold3 to replace a 128gb Fold2, arrived 48 hrs later. The second was because the Wifi chip on my phone was fried and it was out of warranty. Took 5 days from day of DPD collection to day of DPD return postage, I think they advised up to 10.

It’s not reasonable to expect a loaner or while you wait service unless these are specifically listed benefits of your insurance.

This isn’t universally true. My device was repaired by a Samsung Authorised Service Centre.

But to be honest - if it wasn’t I wouldn’t care, and I don’t think I’d have any right to either. If the functionality was impaired through use of lesser components, I would. But if I just wanted to have a phone full of official gubbins rather than just a phone which works exactly as it should, that’d be on me to ensure I picked a policy which defined that as a feature.


Usually it is with high end smart phones. There are certain secure hardware elements that just won’t pair with non-genuine parts, thus breaking functionality.

I’ve seen instances where phones have come back and the biometrics no longer work. Certain features can’t be used because they rely on verifying certain hardware components to run for security reasons (like mobile wallets).

I also think a loaner is a reasonable expectation when the flagship product you’re competing with for an iPhone owner’s custom offers exactly that. Many folks make the assumptions that any insurance will just be the same and don’t realise how nothing really competes until it comes time to make a claim (which seems to be what’s happened to @Recchan here).

:face_with_raised_eyebrow: what exactly isn’t universally true? There’s 3 elements to the part you’ve quoted. I’ve not made an objective statement to suggest anything is universally true there besides Assurant not using genuine Apple parts, which is true, because they don’t.

The rest is a general rule of thumb I follow and assumptions I make when assessing insurance providers. In that if they don’t explicitly say I can go to the manufacturer or an authorised service provider for a repair or replacement, I assume that I cannot, nor that the provider will use them, and seek my insurance from elsewhere. I don’t believe an insurance provider is worth using if they don’t clearly allow that in the terms of the insurance agreement. I apologise if that wasn’t clear.

I appreciate you might not particularly care about that aspect when evaluating your choice of insurer, and that’s fine. Good for you, if anything. It broadens your choice of insurer. I do though. And rather know where I stand on that up front than risk it when the time comes to make a claim. So I generally avoid mobile insurance packaged with bank accounts.

Yes my point was that statement is false, it’s not true they don’t. It’s true they might not, and don’t guarantee it. Certain parts of an Apple device can only be replaced by Apple official parts, i.e. the Touch ID sensor.

Also, for all we know they could suddenly decide to start using Apple parts at any time. They’ll do whatever makes sense money wise, I can’t imagine there’s any other reason my phone was serviced by Samsung other than it made financial sense for them to do that. Maybe there’s something in there about Apple’s predatory pricing structure for aftermarket servicing and repairs.

It’s totally fair for them to not offer blank cheques to manufacturers, and it’s totally fair for consumers to decide to pay more to insurers who will. What’s not fair is to expect any policy cover to process claims in a manner of the claimants choosing, unless the policy specifies such an option. That’s not how it works.

And that’s fine too, but that isn’t what @Recchan did, which is my point.

Caveat emptor and hopefully lesson learned, one cannot assume these things.

I did expect to be told if I can only access stores within 25 miles of my home though, honestly. I don’t think that was anywhere in my policy details or advertised to me.

I think it’s one or the other, let me travel to a store or give me a phone to use in the meantime. If I went into the Nationwide office or the Assurant office, they’d not be able to live without a phone for two weeks either.

1 Like

Also worth noting I’ve styled my complaint on several things. Nationwide has a duty to ensure insurance is suitable, so really they should have checked more in-detail about the requirements of the insurer around claiming and made clear it’s only going to be a mail-in service in my area

I might also have a look into my agreement exactly, if it’s too vague about how the insurer actually covers things, I might try arguing I should reasonably be able to expect that the insurer repairs with the manufacture (which to be honest, is what I thought considering Apple locks screens and batteries to the hardware).

Going to take whatever decision they decide on to the Ombudsman if it’s not what I want too, at the very least I hope it costs them for poor business practice.

Yes it is! In order to access genuine Apple parts they need to either be an Apple authorised service provider or a member of Apple’s Independent Repair Provider programme. Assurant (and the service centres they’re known to outsource) are neither an Apple authorised service provider nor a member of Apple’s independent repair provider programme.

You’re free to check these for yourself with Apple’s tool here: Repair Provider Verification - Official Apple Support

This isn’t true either. Not entirely anyway. Only Apple can replace a Touch ID sensor. No one else can or has access to the parts or processes required. There are workarounds (and assurant are known to use them) but it disables that functionality of the device and results in the software displaying security warnings to the user.

They can’t, as above! It’s a strict application process, and then extensive training programs for their engineers. And if they ever become one, you can bet they’d market the crap out of it and charge more.


So, it’s not true that an Assurant backed policy repair claim will always lead to a repair with unofficial parts in the case of Apple phones, is it?

Again, if they are repairing phones in a manner which objectively deteriorates the overall functionality of the phone - we can all agree that’s not cool. If it’s a part that looks the same, behaves the same and doesn’t in and of itself change anything, I’m not sure I see the problem.

An Assurant backed policy repair will not use genuine Apple parts. That’s as succinct and as clear as I can put it.

1 Like

And as succinctly and clear as I can put it is ‘that’s not universally true’.

Yes it is. We’re going round in circles here.

1 Like

We are, because you’re choosing to ignore the cases which even you yourself have indicated it must happen. Like here.

Unless Assurant reject claims for broken Touch ID sensors (which wouldn’t be cool but isn’t happening) or are ‘disabling that functionality of the device and results in the software displaying security warnings to the user’ which you claim to have been known to happen but stopped short of saying they would do (and I think would leave the consumer materially worse off so not be acceptable)… what happens in these cases please? I suspect the answer is ‘they send to Apple themselves and/or fund an Apple repair and/or replace with a refurbished device’ - all of which results in the customer receiving a device with a replacement genuine Apple part.

That’s just one example.

It’s fine to offer the advice that a lack of a guarantee to do stuff by the book means you can’t take any official parts/service for granted - 100% agree with that. What I was challenging was the statement that:

Where did Nationwide or Assurant promise something which they have failed to deliver?

Your expectations might not have been met, but you need to prove that it is Nationwide/Assurant who have set them incorrectly in order for your complaint to be deemed merited.

You’re just wasting your own time, the Nationwide’s time (and money) and the ombudsman’s time if you can’t point to something they’ve promised but failed to deliver when you’ve needed it.

If you can’t, you’ll need to do the grown-up thing, take it on the chin and consider it when evaluating insurance options in future.

Their repair partner says very clearly that they cannot fix Touch ID in a way that’ll make it work.

It’s called RepairGeek or something like that.

Assurant promised me nothing and I don’t need to prove anything against them, I only need to prove Nationwide is in the wrong.

Nationwide has a duty to try and ensure good customer outcomes. That doesn’t entail not telling me I will lose my phone for 1-2 weeks. That’s a bad outcome for a lot of people.

They also don’t tell me that they don’t use Apple approved providers, which I’d have assumed seeing that they should be telling me if my screen is going to show a “not genuine” warning in my settings after.

They’ve promised to deliver something useless to me, lol. If they’d have told me to begin with they’d take it to an unauthorised centre on an unreasonable timescale and I’d lose my phone in the process, I’d have gotten better insurance. They also don’t clearly advertise the limitations on accessing centres that aren’t near you. Normally as far as I know, insurers don’t tend to limit you within 25 miles of your postcode to their approved partner centres. Which coincidentally lack the only meaningful approval (the manufacturer).

Furthermore, good. I hope it costs them money. I believe I am right in that they didn’t adequately assess me for the insurance being of use to me (causing me to effectively have no insurance) and that they breached their consumer duty as well in the process of breaking that. Even if they adequately did it, the consumer duty should obviously still apply because they’ve set me up and probably anyone with an SN postcode for failure when claiming unless they’re 80 and able to comfortably lose their phone for 2 weeks.

I think all in all, asking them to only cover the bill of a repair at a centre in person minus the excess, is pretty reasonable. In reality I’d very much like them to throw in some money for the trouble that I have to do this to begin with. With the extra I’d take it to Apple :slight_smile: not that it matters too much since I will buy a new iPhone 16 in October in Hong Kong (less restrictions on HK iPhone than Mainland China). I will have to ask the staff about AppleCare+ being worldwide but, I think it should be.

1 Like

I’m not ignoring the cases where it must happen because there are no such cases, nor did I (mean to) indicate there was.

There’s a lot to dissect here, and transcribing things into laymen’s terms is not my forte but I’ll do my best.

Assurant don’t disable the functionality. That’s not something that’s within their control. It’s something Apple controls at the firmware level if the systems detects non-genuine parts.

if Assurant mess with the Touch ID home button (and sure enough they do) the customer ends up with a botched repair job. The home button will still work as a home button, the biometrics just no longer will. It’s a complex piece of hardware. That’s why only Apple, and not even authorised service providers, can repair a Touch ID sensor.

Now I don’t know what Assurant’s claims process is like here if it’s just Touch ID that’s faulty and nothing else (that would be extremely rare, and would normally point to a hardware defect, in which case it’s the warranty you claim on and not your insurance, so you’d go to Apple and not Assurant anyway).

Where things go wrong with Assurant is when it’s component of a larger repair job. Such as the entire front panel being broken. Assurant will repair that, but in doing so will break Touch ID (this is the work around I alluded to above). It’s this kind of Assurant cockup (usually with iPads because the phones have moved on now) that end up coming my way.

What Assurant sometimes do in this situation is replace a device with a refurbishment, but they do often try to get away with the botched repair first. Their refurbished devices will not be refurbished with genuine Apple parts either.

What they don’t do is send it to Apple themselves, nor do they allow the customer to send it to Apple for a repair. I’m also not aware of any disputed repair job resulting in any concessions on this. The policy wording permits them to do this. That is an acceptable repair does not require Touch ID to be functional, because without access to genuine Apple parts, they can’t.

In the last resort, they’ll pay you a monetary value for the device for you to source your own replacement.

A quick edit to add the reason why this is a thing at all: the Touch ID module and Secure Enclave are linked to the genuine display panel module. And no one but Apple has access to the processes to conduct such a repair. It would undermine the security of the system entirely. That’s why the only repair Assurant can do here will involve the biometrics becoming non-functional functional.

My apologies, reading the policy “you are covered for X and not Y” document, it says on page 15 in quite small text about “what you need to know about the claims process” that they “might use unbranded parts”. Cowboy insurance.

Repairs will be made using readily available parts, or we may provide refurbished products. These may
contain parts that are of similar or equivalent specification, and these may include unbranded parts. This
policy is provided in addition to any manufacturer’s warranty that applies to your mobile phone (“applicable
manufacturer’s warranty”). Nothing in this policy is intended to affect your rights under the applicable
manufacturer’s warranty or your statutory rights. If any repairs authorised by us under this policy invalidate
the applicable manufacturer’s warranty, we will repair or replace your mobile phone, as necessary,
in accordance with the terms of the applicable manufacturer’s warranty for the unexpired period of
that warranty

Although this doesn’t really stack up to their partners claim they use OEM parts… unbranded isn’t the OEM, right?

Edit: I was wrong before, It’s PocketGeek. I think these guys, who don’t actually use PocketGeek as their name.

If they were going to pick some wacky-shit non-authorised repair place and put restrictions on access, they should have done Timpsons !

1 Like

That part of the insurance document is their cureall for when the repair invalidates your Apple warranty. It means they’ll take responsibility for those issues going forward.

I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather deal with Apple for those issues!

Pocket geek don’t use genuine Apple parts! They’re a subsidiary of Assurant.

You can find your service centre and check for yourself on the tool I linked above, but they’re not in Apple’s database.

File this under ‘shit happens’. Unless insurance specifically covers continuity of some kind, assume you’ll be on the hook for that.

Only because you’re choosing to not accept their remedy. If you can’t be without your phone, you could use/buy/borrow a spare. If you want your phone to stay ‘official’ then you’re probably going to find most generic mobile phone insurance is not going to be of use to you.

They have promised to make your phone good again, which satisfies their obligations under the policy you’ve signed up for.

Sure, so long as you purchase a policy which offers this. Which you didn’t.

You’d legitimately be better off writing yourself a letter of complaint for taking a price-first approach to procuring technology insurance and neglecting to check you have the cover you feel you need.