Every iPhone owner should have two things: a protective case, and a warranty that covers accidental damage. You know, the kind inflicted by toddlers, car tires, and sudden bursts of gravity.
Don't believe me? A post I wrote two years ago -- "Shatter your iPhone 4 screen? Here's how to fix it" -- has been viewed more than any other post I've ever written. In other words, iPhone damage happens all...the...time.
You can buy a case, yes, and you can buy accidental damage protection from the likes of Apple or SquareTrade. Or you can kill two birds with one stone: CellPig's Cellhelmet iPhone case includes one year of accidental damage coverage. Update: Cellpig.com has officially been replaced by Cellhelmet.com.
It works like this: you buy the Cellhelmet for $44.99 shipped, a price that includes your choice of two interchangeable backplate colors.
Then, if your iPhone gets broken (busted screen, won't turn on, etc.) anytime in the next 12 months, you can send it in to CellPig for repair. If they can't repair it, they'll replace it. Either way, they'll overnight it back to you within three business days.
Caveats? A couple. First, there's a $50 handling fee when you file a claim. (Incidentally, Apple charges the same as part of its AppleCare+ warranty.)
Second, CellPig's coverage doesn't include water damage, so if your iPhone goes for a swim, you're outta luck. (Or maybe not: Here's what to do if your iPhone gets wet.)
On the plus side, you're entitled to unlimited repairs (though just one replacement) within the coverage period -- each one costing you another $50, of course. Still, that's likely to be less -- possibly much less -- than what you'd pay a repair shop.
The case itself consists of a "dense polyurethane rubber (TPU) shell" and measures 4.9 x 2.7 x 0.49 inches. It's made entirely in the United States.
What do you think: deal or no deal? Is this a reasonable ounce of prevention, or would you prefer to take your chances with a different case and more traditional repair options? Personally, I think the case itself is a bit overpriced (something closer to $30 would make me more likely to jump at it), but I love the peace of mind that comes from breakage protection. Because, as I've seen firsthand, gravity happens.
While you're mulling that over, check CellPig's rather amusing Cellhelmet promo: