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Sunday, July 03, 2011, 09:45 pm PT (12:45 am ET)

AT&T adding iPhone to standard insurance plan on July 17

AT&T has announced that, effective July 17, newly activated or upgraded iPhones will be eligible for the company's standard mobile insurance plan, which costs $4.99 a month.

The wireless carrier has done away with its iPhone-specific insurance plan, folding optional coverage into its standard insurance offering, as first noticed by MacRumors.

"Effective July 17, 2011, the Apple iPhone (all models) will be eligible for coverage with the AT&T Mobile Insurance program (formerly Wireless Phone Insurance)," the company said. "Enrollment restrictions apply. Customers can only enroll within 30 days of a new activation or upgrade, prior activations or upgrades outside of 30 days are not eligible."

AT&T's Mobile Insurance program carries a $4.99 a month premium and covers loss, theft, accidental damage and mechanical or electrical failure after the manufacturer's warranty period has expired. The plan's deductible runs $50 or $125 per approved claim, depending on the device, and only two claims are allowed within any consecutive 12 months.

As Apple's original carrier partner for the iPhone in 2007, AT&T chose not to offer wireless insurance on the device. In 2010, AT&T added a separate insurance option for iPhone customers, though the plan was nearly twice as expensive as third-party warranties.

Rival carrier Verizon Wireless, which began carrying the iPhone 4 in February, also offers insurance for the iPhone, though the handset's plan is more expensive than those of other devices. The company's Total Equipment Coverage for the iPhone costs $10.99 a month per device, with a $169 deductible for the 16GB model and $199 for the 32GB model. Standard wireless insurance from Verizon costs $6.99 a month for non-iPhone devices, with competing smartphones from HTC, Motorola and Research in Motion carrying a cheaper $99 deductible.