Google will now replace some Nexus 5 handsets if you break the screen

Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android.

Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android.

Its fragile glass display is usually the first thing that breaks when you drop your smartphone, and getting it repaired can prove pretty costly. But some manufacturers will give you your first screen replacement absolutely free — such as HTC. Google is going one step further and offering Nexus 5 owners a replacement handset when they break their screen — but only if the device meets its strict criteria.

Google just started a new policy for Nexus 5 users today,” reports Joshua D. on Google+. “They offer one free replacement for your damaged Nexus 5, doesn’t matter if you crack the screen or get water damage. I cracked my screen today and Called Google Play Customer Service and the Rep said I was in luck and they just started this new policy today.”

Pretty generous, right? Sure — but not every Nexus 5 qualifies for this service, and there’s no guarantee you’ll be offered it.

It’s not so much a “policy” as it is an “exception” that Google’s customer service reps are allowed to make,” TechCrunch explains, “so you probably don’t want to be a jerk about it when you call.” While the company is being kind enough to offer replacement devices in some cases, then, it doesn’t necessarily have to. And there’s more.

The offer only applies to Nexus 5 handsets purchased directly through Google Play in the U.S.; those bought from carriers, third-party retailers, or from sites like eBay or Craigslist are not eligible. In addition, it’s a one-time service (if you break your replacement you’re out of luck), and you must claim within 12 months of the purchase date.

If you are offered a replacement, the Nexus 5 you receive will be a refurbished model — not a brand new unit. That may mean you receive a device with some minor blemishes, but still, at least its display will be intact.