As you pick the shattered remnant of your life from the pavement — that is, the smartphone you just dropped — your mind races. You didn’t have insurance on your handset. You can’t afford to spend $800 on a new one. How will you check your work email? Who will send your friends Snapchats at 2 a.m.? How will you play Crossy Road?
But take a deep breath and know that this can be fixed. You have options. Life will go on. Here are some of the things you can try if you break your phone.
Try repairing it yourself
Smartphones are held together with screws and pins, which means in many cases, if you’re handy enough, you can easily fix them. In fact, there are entire websites dedicated to helping you repair your own phone.
One site in particular, ifixit.com, offers guides for replacing and fixing nearly every part of a wide variety of smartphones, ranging from the very first iPhone all the way to the iPhone 6 Plus.
It’s important to know, however, that as soon as you crack the seal on your phone and start tinkering with its insides, you’ll void its manufacturer’s warranty. So you’ll want to make sure your phone doesn’t have some kind of manufacturer’s defect that you can get repaired before you open it yourself.
Bring it to a repair shop
Smartphone repair shops and kiosks are all over the place these days. So why not see if one of these stores can fix your busted handset?
Depending on the damage to your phone, the price for repairs can range anywhere from $29 to more than $250. If you break the screen on your Samsung Galaxy Note 4, for example, you could end up paying $190. If you need to replace the LCD underneath the phone’s screen, it’ll cost you $250.
National chains, including Best Buy, also offer repair services for smartphones.
Take your iPhone to Apple
If you’ve got an iPhone, you’ve got an advantage over your Android-loving brethren: the Apple Store.
If you break your iPhone 6’s or iPhone 6 Plus’s screen and don’t have Apple’s Apple Care service, you can still get it repaired at the Apple Store. Max prices for replacing a broken screen: $109 for an iPhone 6 or $129 for a 6 Plus.
Try selling your busted phone
So your phone is busted, and you don’t want to spend the money to get it fixed. Why not try selling it? Even if your smartphone has a smashed screen, busted buttons, or cracked chassis, you can still sell it to any number of services willing to pay for broken handsets.
How much you get for your damaged phone depends on the model and what kind of issues it has. Gazelle, for example, will pay you $40 for a 16 GB iPhone 5s with a broken display, while Glyde will pay you $142 for an iPhone 6 with a cracked screen.
EcoATM kiosks, which are available at malls across the country, will pay between $10 and $100 for a Galaxy S5 depending on its condition.
The point is, there are plenty of places that are more than willing to pay for your beat-up smartphone. And if they don’t want your phone and you want to make sure that it’s at least recycled, they’ll do that too.
Buy a refurbished phone
So you’ve sold your broken smartphone and now you’ve got some extra spending cash, but it’s still nowhere near enough to cover the full cost of a new smartphone, which can run more than $600. What can you do?
Well, if preowned phones don’t bother you, you can buy a refurbished handset from any number of carriers or stores at a modest discount.
Verizon, for example, sells a refurbished Samsung Galaxy S5 for $420. A new S5, meanwhile, would cost you $500. Similarly, a refurbished 16 GB iPhone 6 for AT&T costs $570 on Amazon, compared with a new iPhone 6, which costs $700.
If you do buy a refurbished phone, though, you’ll have to make sure it works on your provider’s network. So if you broke a Galaxy S6 for Sprint, you’ll want to get a phone that runs on Sprint’s network.
Get insurance next time
You broke your phone, and now you’re cursing yourself for having skimped on insurance way back when. Hindsight is indeed 20/20.
So what kind of insurance should you buy when you inevitably get your next handset? If you’re going for an iPhone, your best bet is to purchase AppleCare+.
Sure, it costs $99, but it will cover at least two instances of damage to your iPhone. And though you’ll have to pay an additional $79 fee whenever your phone is serviced, it beats having to fork over $600 for a completely new phone.
You could also opt for insurance through your carrier. Verizon sells insurance for $11 per month, but you’ll have to pay a hefty deductible — up to $150 for a smartphone and up to $200 for an iPhone — for each incident. Fortunately, Verizon will cover up to four incidents over the course of two years.
T-Mobile charges $8 per month for its Premium Handset Protection plan, which also requires a deductible of between $20 and $75 for each incident, depending on the type of phone you have, plus a $5 processing fee.