Phoenix, Arizona (NAPSI) - Owning a digital device such as a smartphone or tablet has quickly gone from being a luxury to a necessity.

Consumers use these devices to record and share everything from family videos to priceless pet moments. They also use them to check the weather and keep up to date with sports scores. We rely on them for staying in touch, whether it’s sending texts and e-mails, updating our Facebook page, or just talking on the phone.

Simply put, smartphones go everywhere we go. And the more places they go, the greater the chance they can be damaged.

Smartphone and tablet accidents happen to millions of Americans every day and it’s estimated that Americans have spent almost $6 billion on damaged iPhones alone. To help keep your devices safer, the experts at SquareTrade offer these tips:

• Be careful in the kitchen—boiling pots of water and sticky sauces are not friends of your device.

• Check your pockets before you do the laundry. No sense putting your phone through the rinse cycle.

• There’s no such thing as a “safe” pocket in the bathroom. Almost one in 10 Americans have dropped their iPhone in the toilet. Leave it behind if you can.

• When eating out, don’t leave your phone on the table.

Added Protection

While events such as these can’t always be prevented, many consumers have found it’s helpful to purchase a protection plan that covers the unexpected: SquareTrade’s protection plans cover mobile devices, laptops and tablets, and other consumer electronics and appliances from malfunctions, accidental damage and life’s frequent mishaps.

The coverage offered by each plan is tailored to the device it covers. For example, SquareTrade’s plan for the iPad tablet covers damage due to spills and dropping the device as well as a cracked screen, damage to the antennae and Wi-Fi connection, a broken dock connector, all mechanical and electrical failures, touch-screen failure display and a failure to power on.

If you need a replacement, SquareTrade sends out your new device within two days with a postage-stamped mailer for your broken device. If your device is an Apple product, you can take it to an Apple Genius Bar for repairs instead.

With SquareTrade’s plans, a device can be repaired or replaced up to four times on one protection plan.

You can check out SquareTrade online at or on Amazon and eBay. And you can also buy SquareTrade for your devices in stores such as Costco and Sam’s Club.