Ah, yes, the element of surprise; the element that nobody expects yet we all know is sitting there, lurking around the corner. Unfortunately in this industry, the element of surprise is no stranger to our friend the smartphone whether it be in the form of liquid damage, cracks, scrapes, vehicular phoneslaughter, theft and yes, even just straight up dying for no apparently good reason. There are plenty of ways that the element of surprise can get you when it comes to your smartphone, and if and when it does you should always be prepared and know what to do in case such an unfortunate event happens to you.
I've had to replace my phone on short notice several times throughout my life, all due to different reasons. Although insurance has always been my first option, there have been times where I didn't carry coverage (okay, maybe just one time) where I had to resort to other means of getting a working phone. You have your obvious solutions such as using an old phone stowed in some dark drawer somewhere, purchasing a new phone outright, or asking a friend if they have a spare phone you can buy off of them for a while. However, if none of those are options for you, there are other means of obtaining a phone on short notice, or for cheap.
The idea of shelling out $500+ for a brand new smartphone doesn't appeal to me, or if I had, I would have definitely carried insurance on it. If buying a brand new phone isn't your cup of tea, but don't really mind waiting a few days for a phone to come to you, I would highly recommend swappa.com. I've personally been using Swappa for a while not just for replacement device, but also as a means of switching my phone up. If you don't care about getting a phone in mint condition, you can find all kinds of used devices here for a discounted price. Best of all, you don't have to deal with people face-to-face. I don't mind doing Craigslist sales, but I don't recommend it as a first choice if you're able to wait. I'm a very skeptical person, so I have a hard time trusting local meet-ups for things, especially for phones. Since Swappa deals specifically with phones, it's easy to find exactly what you're looking for. Some sellers are even willing to trade for other devices if you're able to offer them.
If you're not really big into trusting third party sites, I don't blame you. Fortunately, most carriers also offer another option for those who are in desparate need of a phone, and that's having a small selection of certified pre-owned or refurbished devices that you can choose from. Most carriers only offer these online, but sometimes you can get free express shipping so you can have the phone at your door in one to two days at most. They might not be the newest or best phones on the market, but it's something to get you by until you can get something different, and it's a lot cheaper than buying a new phone outright. Also, with it coming straight from the carrier themself if there's any issues you're most likely going to have an easier time getting it replaced or fixed.
I mentioned that I'm not a huge fan of Craigslist before, but sometimes you just can't wait one or two days to get a replacement phone. The most effective way to find a cheap phone locally is through Craigslist, although I strongly recommend taking safety precautions on how to go about getting your replacement device. I always recommend going with somebody if you can (buddy up, buttercup!) and also meet in a public place - preferrably at your nearest carrier location. Not only does this help your personal safety, but it's also a good way to make sure that the phone you're buying works and is able to be activated before you pay the person you're buying it from. If the person you're buying it from has ill intentions, they probably won't agree to meeting at the store. However, most people are very understanding and would also rather meet in the store in order to buy or sell a device. I've never had an issue with the couple of times that I've used Craigslist, but I never don't meet in a retail store.
Again, if you don't mind waiting for a device there are plenty of websites out there that sell used phones for cheap like Amazon, eBay, etc., but the two options that I recomment most are going to be Swappa and your carrier's refurbished selection. Hopefully you don't ever have to worry about dealing with an emergency phone replacement, but sometimes you just never know what will happen and it's always good to know ahead of time where you can look to remedy the situation.
Readers, what resources have you used in order to find a replacement device on short notice? Do you typically have something laying around just in case, purchase a new phone, or go searching for something else? Let us know in the comments below!
Image via Liquipel