That’s the premise behind Cell Helmet, new from CellPig.com. To be clear, the protection isn’t necessarily in the case, which is your standard polyurethane. The protection is in the “insurance” you are buying with the case.
Yes, you read that right. The case is pretty standard. But the insurance recovers unlimited repairs and unlimited replacements within the year’s warranty you receive. There are limitations, of course. Moisture damage is not covered. “Deliberate” damage is not covered (whatever that means). Accidental damage is what is covered. Drop it or step on it, it’s covered. Spill a drink on it at the bar, that isn’t covered.
The cost of the case is $44.95. If your iPhone 4/4S is damaged, you send it in, include a $50 “handling charge,” and they will ship it back to you, either repaired (or replaced if unrepairable), in three days.
Now, I did the math, and let’s say I’m pretty hard on my iPhone. I buy the case, and end up dropping my phone one too many times the first few months. I send it in, with my $50, and they repair it. Maybe a few months later, I drop it and then step on it. I send it in, with my $50, and they repair it. I’ve now spent $150 having it repaired. On the other hand, I could have insured the same phone for even more problems (lost/stolen in addition to damage/break) for about $5 a month through my cell phone carrier. That’s only $60 a year.
Hard to say whether a plastic case and “insurance” is worth the price of the Cell Helmet, but if you’re pretty hard on your iPhone, this might be worth looking at.