'Inside a cow': the 10 oddest mobile phone claims

cowA3999 Malte Christians/DPA/Press Association Images

A farmer in Devon was helping one of his cows to give birth in the middle of the night, and struck on the clever plan of using the torch on his mobile phone to get a closer look. Unfortunately, in the process the phone disappeared inside the cow - and when it later emerged it was worse for the experience. His sorry tale was reported to insurers, and made it to number one on the list of the ten weirdest mobile phone insurance claims.

So what else made the top 10, and how do a seagull and a Victoria sponge feature?
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The list, revealed by www.MobileInsurance.co.uk examined all claims for the last 12 months, and produced the top ten:
  • A lady in her early 40s from Nottingham claimed that she'd baked her Nokia 6303i into a Victoria Sponge she'd been making for her daughter's birthday. It didn't endure the heat of gas mark 5. %VIRTUAL-ArticleSidebar%
  • A lady in her 30s claimed she'd been walking her Cocker Spaniel on Barry Island beach, Wales, when a seagull swooped down and took her Samsung Galaxy from her hand.
  • A woman in her late 20s from Bristol claimed the vibration function on her BlackBerry Bold 9900 phone had stopped working whilst she was using it as an adult toy.
  • A 40 year old construction worker said his iPhone 4S had fallen out of his back pocket when he pulled his jeans down before sitting on the toilet. Not realising, he went about his business and flushed the chain. The phone didn't flush, but underwent serious water damage.
  • A man in his 30s claimed he'd been filming monkeys from the car window in Longleat Safari Park with his HTC One X when a monkey climbed on the roof and snatched it.
  • A couple re-enacting the "I'm King of the World!" scene from Titanic lost their phone over the side of their cruise ship, whilst trying to take a photo of themselves.
  • A pyrotechnician was setting up a show for the National Fireworks Championships in Plymouth, and having left his iPhone 3GS within the "blast zone", it was nowhere to be found when he returned post-show, having been fired 3,000 feet into the air before exploding in a stunning display.
  • A lady in her 20s from Liverpool admitted she'd thrown her HTC Desire X at her boyfriend, whom she'd discovered was cheating, but it missed him and hit a wall; breaking the handset.
  • Rather than paying £60 for a ticket to see Blur at their sell-out Hyde Park shows, one customer tried to film the event on his iPhone from up a nearby tree - he got a little too excited as the band came on stage though, and dropped his phone onto the ground below.
Each of the claims were fully investigated, and only three rejected: the pyrotechnician, the Blur fan and the lady using the vibrate function.

Are you covered?

The insurer behind the list highlighted that it was vital to ensure your mobile phone is insured for whatever you throw at it. It doesn't have to be a cow or a firework, a simple slip and a dropped phone could leave you hundreds of pounds worse off if you don't have cover.

However, before you buy insurance, it's worth weighing up the risks - and whether you are the sort of person who runs the risk of losing or damaging your phone.

If you are, check whether you have personal possessions on your home insurance - which covers items taken outside the home. It can often be added at a low cost - although check the excess. If you have a packaged current account there's also a good chance you have cover included.

If you are not covered by any of these things, it's worth shopping around for cover, which can cost as little as £40 a year. This is worth considering if you have an expensive phone and you are likely to lose or damage it more than once every three years.

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'Inside a cow': the 10 oddest mobile phone claims

Using a mobile phone to make and receive calls, send texts and browse the web while abroad can be extremely costly – especially if you are travelling outside the European Union (EU), where calls can cost up to 10 times as much as at home.

To avoid high charges, Carphone Warehouse suggests tourists ensure a data cap is in place, use applications to check data usage, turn off 'data roaming', avoid data-intensive applications such as Google Maps and YouTube and use wi-fi spots to update social networking sites.

Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) is supposed to help people to continue meeting their loan, mortgage or credit card repayments if they fall ill or lose their jobs. However, policies are often over-priced, riddled with exclusions and sold to people who could not make a claim if they needed to.

At one point, sale of this cover - which was often included automatically in loan repayments - was estimated to boost the banks' profits by up to £5 billion a year.
Now, though, consumers who were mis-sold PPI can fight back by complaining to the bank or lender concerned and taking their case to the Financial Ombudsman Service (08000 234567) should the response prove unsatisfactory.

It could be you, but let's face it, it probably won't be. In fact, buying a ticket for the Lotto only gives you a 1 in 13.9 million chance of winning the jackpot.

With odds like that, you would almost certainly be better off hanging on to your cash and saving it in a high-interest account.

No-frills airlines such as EasyJet may promote rock-bottom prices on their websites. But the overall fare you pay can be surprisingly high once extras such as luggage and credit card payment fees have been added - a process known as drip pricing.

Taking one piece of hold baggage on a return EasyJet flight, for example, adds close to £20 to the cost of your flight, while paying by credit card increases the price by a further £10.
It may therefore be worth comparing the total cost with that of a flight with a standard airline such as British Airways.

Cash advances, which include cash withdrawals, are generally charged at a much higher rate of interest than standard purchases.

While the average credit card interest rate is around 17%, a typical cash withdrawal of £500, for example, is charged at more than 26%.
What's more, as the interest accrues from the date of the transaction, rather than the next payment date, costs will mount up even if you clear your balance in full with your next payment.

Supermarkets such as Tesco and Asda often run promotions under which you can, for example, get three products for the price of two.

However, it is only worth taking advantage of these deals if you will actually use the products. Otherwise, you are simply buying for the sake of it, which is a waste of your hard-earned cash.
To avoid paying over the odds, it is also worth checking the price per kilo to ensure that larger 'economy' packs really are cheaper than the smaller versions.

Buy a train ticket at the station on the day of travel and the price is likely to give you a shock - especially if you are travelling a long distance at a busy time of day.

However, you can cut the cost of train travel by 50% or more by going online and making the purchase beforehand - especially if you book 12 weeks in advance, which is when the cheapest tickets are on sale.
Other ways to reduce the price you pay include avoiding peak times and taking advantage of so-called carnet tickets, which allow you to buy, for example, 12 journeys for the price of 10.

Most High Street banks offer packaged accounts that come with monthly fees ranging from £6.50 up to as much as £40, with a typical account charging about £15 per month.

Various benefits, such as travel insurance and mobile phone insurance, are offered in return for this fee. But whether or not it is worth paying for them depends on your individual circumstances.
Before signing up, it is therefore essential to check that you will make use of enough of the benefits, and that you cannot get them for less elsewhere.

Overseas money transfers or travel money purchases attract the same high rate of interest as credit card cash withdrawals.

Worse still, most credit cards – and debit cards – also charge you a foreign loading fee if you use them to make purchases while abroad.
You can, however, avoid these charges by using a Saga Platinum or Nationwide Building Society credit card.

Numbers starting 0871 cost 10p or more from a landline, while those starting 09 can cost more than £1 a minute from a mobile phone.

And the operators of these high-cost phone lines, some of which are banks, often get a cut of the call charges.
Most 09 numbers are linked to scams and should therefore be avoided at all costs, while 0871 numbers can often be bypassed by searching for an alternative local rate numbers on the saynoto0870.com.
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