Biggest (and oddest) mobile phone threats

mobile conversationDave Thompson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A naked bedroom raider, and a man unable to fight for his phone as he was holding a takeaway: the claims for lost or stolen mobile phones come in many guises including the weird and wonderful.

So what are the strangest, and what are the biggest risks to your mobile?

The phones

We are now more wedded to our mobiles than ever, and would be more likely to leave the house without our keys than our ever-present phones.

However, as more of us carry increasingly expensive gadgets, there is more chance that we make an expensive mistake while we are out. Specialist insurer says that the number of claims for mobiles has doubled in the 12 months to January. So it's worth being aware of the risks we are taking with our phones, and protecting ourselves against them.

The risks

According to uSwitch, there were over 1 million mobile phone insurance claims in 2010. The lion's share is for accidental damage. uSwitch says that by far the most common damage is when the phone falls out of your pocket - closely followed by it falling down the toilet (which happens to 101,000 people a year).

Next in line for claims were those left in shops, bars, restaurants and taxis. Many of these were at the tail end of a night out, when it may seem vital to make a call, but callers may be in too advanced a state of refreshment to remember to put the phone back in their pocket.

In fact, just 11% of claims are for phones that are stolen - which puts it fractionally ahead of the risk of dropping the phone down the toilet or leaving it in a taxi.

It seems, therefore, that the biggest risks can be avoided if we take a little more care, leave our phones alone when we are on a night out, and have somewhere sensible to keep our phone, which means it isn't going to fall out whenever we use the loo.

Strangest claims

However, you cannot prepare for all eventualities. Gadget-cover raked through its archives and found some particularly unusual claims. Two (which were eventually rejected as fraudulent) stand out for their eccentricity.

Carmi Korine says: "One attempted claim arose when a customer's son went on holiday with a friend and his friend's parents. The phone was alleged to have disappeared one night when, whilst they were all in bed, a naked guy came in to the parents' room and got in the bed with them.

"The father then awoke and kicked the naked guy out of their room, but before leaving, the naked guy put on the customer's son's trousers, which were on the floor, and left. The phone was said to be in the trousers which were taken by the naked guy. The parents did not think the incursion was strange, and carried on with their sleep. There was no sign of forced entry.


"The second incident is also alleged to have involved a loss of trousers. The claimant's son was coming home from a takeaway shop. He said he walked into a back street in order to wait for a cab, which he had called for earlier.

"Whilst waiting for the cab in this back street, a woman, who he described as looking like a prostitute, walked up to him and began touching him and pulling down his trousers. The customer says her son tried to push the 'prostitute' away but was ineffective in his efforts as he was carrying his takeaway in one hand.

"The woman managed to pull his trousers all the way down to his ankles and, after a while, she left and he later realised his phone was no longer in his pocket. The customer's son was so traumatised he did not leave his room for three days."

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