Smartphones make travelling so much easier, as they enable you to perform several tasks at once, such as making hotel reservations, booking flights and taking cute holidays pictures with your travelling buddies. However, most smartphones are not shatterproof or even waterproof, which means that all your precious images and itinerary documents could be lost in an instant due to a sudden accident like dropping it on the ground or down a toilet.
While seemingly unlikely, these types of accidents do happen, and once the heart-sinking feeling that all of us get in the face of such an event dissolves, perhaps you’ll see a light at the end of the tunnel. For instance, most travel insurance policies include cover for electronics, including your smartphone, and are more than willing to replace your damaged phone and even retrieve the lost data. A research from Cover-More shows that there were more than 11,000 smartphone related claims from 2013 to 2016 alone, while 2016 saw over 2,800 phone-related claims.
When your memories go down the toilet
Travel insurers like Cover-More receive many smartphone claims per year that you won’t believe some of the stories they come across. For example, one of their customers was travelling with a relative to Europe for the first time, and had taken thousands of photos within the first couple of weeks. Then disaster struck.
All of those images were lost when the customer accidentally dropped her smartphone down a toilet. Amidst all the excitement of being in Europe for the first time, the phone had slipped from her hands, so she immediately contacted the Apple store to report the incident. She was told that her phone was beyond repair and that it would require the services of a data recovery specialist to get her images back.
Some friends with whom she’d shared the experience advised her to check if the travel insurance policy covered smartphone damage, and as it turns out; it did! She then called Cover-More and after submitting her claim along with supporting documents such as the data retrieval specialist quote and reference number, her claim was processed within a few weeks and she got all her photos back.
As any Cover-More consultant will tell you, stories like this one are quite common, and most of the time a phone replacement isn’t even needed. Usually, the claims are related to damage of some kind, which are handled differently by the insurer. For example, damaged phone claims require the customer to submit a claim for the repair costs instead of the cost of purchasing a new one smartphone. Whereas, a lost or stolen phone will require that you submit a proof of ownership receipt that shows when you bought the phone, which is then processed according to your level of cover.
How to Make a Successful Phone Claim
- Don’t purchase an expensive phone before your trip – Refrain from purchasing a new phone ahead of your trip in hopes that you’ll be covered to buy a new one if it gets damaged, lost or stolen. Oftentimes, insurers will not cover a new phone purchase, so rather carry a cheaper phone with you so that you can use it in the event of losing or damaging your phone. This way you won’t be left without a communication device for the duration of your trip.
- Keep your proof of purchase with you when making the claim – One of the first things that a consultant will ask for when you call to make a claim is a proof of purchase receipt which shows the phone’s date of purchase. So, always make sure to have the receipt of ownership, which can be obtained from the original owner even when buying second-hand. If it’s not possible to get a proof of purchase receipt from a second-hand purchase, make sure that you pay for it using your credit or debit card, so that the purchase can be validated through your bank statement.
- Consider your phone’s depreciation – A smartphone is a depreciating asset whose value starts to decrease from the moment you purchase it. This means that it may cost less now than it did when you bought it, so do a valuation of your phone before you leave your home to find out how much it’s worth before you insure it. If its value is above the insurance amount provided, then you should consider leaving it behind and travelling with a cheaper phone instead.
How Mobile Phone Claims Are Calculated
Before paying out a phone-related claim, travel insurance providers will typically factor in the following aspects:
- The level of damage and amount of loss or liability
- The policy’s excess amount
- Any absolute and sub-limits that apply to the maximum benefit
- Practical depreciation
The policy’s terms and conditions
One of the most important things you should do before and after you take out cover is to read the Product Disclosure Statement to find out what exactly is included in the policy as well as the calculations that go into specific claims.