It may seem obvious, but the best way to make a successful claim of any kind is to make sure there is comprehensive cover. But not everyone has or even thinks to purchase the top-of-the-range insurance policy when buying a new phone. This is a natural thought as many of us believe that we will not need that extra cover whilst abroad, or that we will not be that person who drops their phone down the toilet.
Should you need to make a claim on your mobile phone insurance, though, it is worthwhile knowing how you can be successful. We all know the stereotypes of insurers being extremely tricky.
Here are a few key points to know and follow when making a claim that we have fact-checked with an insurance claim handler:
- Check if and how your mobile is insured
- Read through your policy coverage
- Check the age of the phone
- Have the receipt, Serial, and IMEI number to hand
- Report the loss/ damage as soon as possible.
- Be honest
- Do not skip any detail
- Record all conversations with the Insurer
Check if and how your mobile phone is insured.
Before you can begin to make a claim against your mobile, you should first check if you have insurance. You may find that you are covered in more than one way, where they all follow a similar claims process.
Home contents policy cover
There will be limited coverage under a home contents policy without any action required, just as for any other personal items you buy. The policy covers these things in the home for the usual range of household perils – fire, storm, flood, burst pipes, theft, etc. Some policies offer cover for portable electronic devices up to a pre-set value, but they may require such items to be declared, or for a small additional premium to be paid.
If this wider cover is available, it will apply when the device is away from the insured home and it may include loss. An extended cover like this will usually be subject to policy excess – often £25 or £50. It’s worth checking with your home contents insurer whether your policy covers mobile phones, and if so, where and against what perils. This cover may be sufficient for lower-value mobile phones.
Bank perk protection
Another possibility is that mobile phone cover is offered as an extra with your bank account. Travel insurance, breakdown cover, and mobile phone insurance are common account perks, therefore are worth checking before buying or making a claim through your stand-alone cover.
Upsold mobile cover
Mobile phones can cost many hundreds of pounds, and the thought of losing one or damaging it plays on everyone’s mind. You may have thought about insuring it at the first opportunity when you were buying your phone.
The salesperson probably knows about these thoughts and will likely have offered extras like an extended warranty or insurance cover. So, you may have purchased one of these, but simply forgot. Therefore, you should double-check your original purchase receipt or email.
In most cases, these extras bought in store tend to offer poor value, although the cover may be adequate.
If you have more than one of the above types of cover, make a claim on the one that covers you for your circumstance and offers the most comprehensive cover. Also, take into consideration the excess costs of each.
Read through your policy coverage
If your mobile is covered under your home contents policy or is covered as a perk from your bank, check what is covered, where cover applies (eg will it apply if you take your phone abroad on holiday?), and more importantly, what is excluded.
When shopping for a separate policy for your phone, check the geographical limits of the cover, the amount of any policy excesses, and any warranties. Policy warranties are undertakings that the insured item will or will not be used or stored in particular circumstances. For example, a policy may require that the phone is not left in an unattended vehicle. If it is and it is stolen, the policy will not apply.
Check the age of the phone.
Insurers often have an age limit on phones being insured, so it is worthwhile checking the age of the phone when you insured the device. It may be difficult to find an insurer prepared to cover a mobile phone older than, say 12 or 24 months*, although once in force, the policy will continue for as long as you have the phone.
*Gadget Cover will only cover if it is up to a maximum of 18 months. Protect Your Bubble will only cover if under 6 months old. Find out more here.
Have the receipt, Serial, and IMEI number to hand
Once there is insurance in force, there are still pitfalls for the unwary when they need to make a claim. If a phone is lost or stolen, it can be difficult to prove to an insurer that you ever owned it. Get a printed receipt, ideally showing the serial number and IMEI number. Keep or photograph the packaging which usually shows these numbers.
Report the loss/ damage as soon as possible.
Insurers expect policyholders to behave as if they did not have insurance, so if your phone is lost or stolen, report it as soon as possible to the venue (if applicable) and the police. Check with bus, taxi, train, or airline if lost whilst travelling.
Get a ref number, or at least the name or title of the person you spoke to, and a crime ref number from the police. Don’t delay reporting the loss or damage to your insurers. Check the wording for any time limits on reporting losses.
If you find yourself tempted to tell a little “white lie” when filling out your insurance claim, we suggest that you change that thought. Insurers have been reviewing, approving, and denying claims for years and they will likely have seen and heard it all. This means that the likelihood that they will pick on your falsehoods is extremely high.
One of the most common lies is overinflating the phone’s value, either intentional or unintentional. If you are caught telling extreme lies, you may even be put under investigation fraud.
Don’t skip any detail
This goes for any insurance claim, but do not skip over any detail, no matter how small when making your claim. Describe what happened, how, where, and even the time (if possible) that the incident happened. If your phone was stolen, ask the police officer for a ref number, their name, and a crime ref number. When filling out your claim, be clear and straight to the point with the above details.
Record all conversations with the insurer
We do not mean going to the extreme of voice recording everything – just make notes of all conversations, what was said, who you spoke to, and the date and time of each call.
We suggest doing this as mistakes can happen, paperwork can be lost, and it allows you to keep track of your claim progress. These notes can also be used if you feel your insurer has made a mistake and you want to raise a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman.
If you follow these tips, you should be able to successfully claim for that lost, stolen or damaged mobile phone.
James is a Senior Account Manager who graduated from the University of Kent in 2014. His background is in eCommerce and SEO (working with clients such as HSBC UK and Nestle) and he has a keen interest in money-saving advice.