Came across this thread while researching new phones, and I'm down to the S3 and Maxx HD, with a lean toward the S3.
I'm an engineer that works in the sporting goods biz, designing carbon fiber golf shafts and hockey sticks. Hockey is a brutal sport, and stick breakage on a high end $300 stick is not uncommon. Our official policy is to only replace sticks if there is a manufacturing defect, which is up to us to determine. We also don't cover excessive abuse, which is rarely evident, because hockey is a rough sport. So what happens in the end is we offer a one time replacement within the warranty period. Even though a stick might break through no fault of our own, we understand that if someone drops $300 and the product lasts them two weeks then a repeat sale is likely off the table. So we take care of them, no questions asked - once.
In my opinion Samsung, and other cell phone companies, should do the same thing. If a customer comes in with a cracked screen and there is zero damage other than the crack - replace it - once. If it was just something mysterious it's very unlikely to happen again, and you have a very happy customer that will keep coming back. Like my company does you can build it into the price, and I don't think most people would complain if they had to pay an additional $50 for their phone knowing that the product would be backed up and they would be taken care of.
I'm wondering if this is why iPhones cost so much. I'm not big on Apple but one thing they have is amazing customer service.
Design engineers are constantly being pushed to achieve new limits. A simple fix for this would be to make the glass thicker, but then you add an extra 0.25 millimeters or so of thickness that none of us would ever notice, except for the product designers who are being pushed for thinner phones, bigger screens, and lower costs.
My wife and I have two years with the Fascinate and no issues. We both use a Zagg SP and Seidio surface case. This won't deter me from the phone, but I am likely to purchase the insurance, at least for a few months. In my opinion if something is defective it will break quickly. If there are no issues after 3-4 months, dump the insurance, as it likely won't break for "no reason".
I'm also wondering if we get some insurance company employees in these threads trying to generate some business.