Insurance and iPhones ....... It's a Weary Path

Sometimes I can be a bit clumsy. When I say a bit clumsy, that is probably a bit of an understatement thinking about it.

Cast your mind back ten years, when there was mass hysteria about the millennium bug wreaking havoc on the world. It was predicted that computers would explode, aircraft would plummet to the ground, radio alarm clocks would start blinking, and the whole planet would be plunged into darkness because of power outages. Oh yeh, allegedly the 'bug' was going to result in dead people littering the streets. And if that wasn't enough, the pundits then said that mob looting would be commonplace, and therefore the remaining populace would be machine-gunned by trigger happy cops. Not in the UK of course, that would be uncivilised. Us mobbers would be truncheoned to death.

Ok, in reality, the millennium bug was a bit of a wash-out, but if you had factored me into the equation, it would have been a very different matter. I could easily have wreaked havoc on a comparable scale, and without putting too much effort in to boot.

Let's fast forward ten years to my cottage in Oxford. In the last year and a half alone, I have managed to lose or destroy the following items:

  • Two Sony Vaio laptops
  • A Denon S302 Home Theatre System
  • A pink Casio Exilim camera
  • 76 wine glasses (to be fair my friends helped me considerably with this one)
  • A 32GB iPhone 3GS
  • The kitchen ceiling in my London house (water leak)

As a result of the above, I am on first name terms with most of the people at the Insurance Companies; so much so, that a number of them would be invited to my wedding if I were ever to suffer a 'mind blip' resulting in me dressing as a meringue.

Anyway, I digress. The most recent casualty in my arsenal of dead gadgets was my iPhone. I killed it in late June whilst using the bathroom. Without going into detail, the iPhone was in my back pocket and as soon as I heard the 'plink' of it hitting the water in the pan, I knew it was a goner.

The insurance claim started off badly because they weren't one of my regulars. The insurance company said that they weren't going to pay up because I hadn't submitted the form within 48 hours of the damage happening. So then the email scrap started:

Me: "Dear Mr Insurance, I refute the fact that you are deeming my claim as invalid because, as you say, it was not submitted within 48 hours. As soon as the damage occurred, I contacted the Apple store directly and they said I should let the phone dry out for 3 days in order to see if it could be saved. This means that your policy of submitting claims within 48 hours is unreasonable."

Mr Insurance (two weeks later): "Dear Dr Dickens, we have reviewed your appeal and agree to replace your damaged iPhone. Please print and fill out the enclosed claim form (yep, it was all done on paper - how 'Ancient Egypt' is that? Pass me the papyrus and feather pen...) and send your damaged phone to the following address........."

Me (three weeks later): "Dear Mr Insurance, I sent you the completed claim form and the damaged phone three weeks ago and have heard nothing from you. Please advise when I will receive a replacement because I am currently using an old mobile phone donated by a friend, and to be quite frank, I am embarrassed to be seen using it in public because it is bigger than a dead badger."

Mr Insurance (another week later):  "Dear Dr Dickens, we seemed to have experienced some delay in booking your damaged phone onto our system, which means that our engineers have not yet had chance to look at it. It will be a further ten working days before we will be able to ascertain whether the phone is a write-off or not, and therefore determine whether or not we can replace it."

[Note to self: Ten working days? "Working days" is a measure that incompetent companies use to try and make their lead times seem shorter than they actually are. Grrr, they have touched the bone.]

Me (one day later): "Dear Mr Insurance, it has now been over two months since I submitted my original insurance claim. Your service is bloody awful, and even worse than that, I am still forced to use an ancient mobile phone that teenagers laugh at, and it is causing me mental distress. I demand that my £30 policy excess is refunded, and that I get my replacement phone within two days. If this doesn't happen, I shall be contacting the Financial Ombudsman. And I might launch a protest march outside your office, with a banner saying 'Towergate Insurance have turned me mental'."

Mr Insurance (5 minutes later): "Dear Dr Dickens, I would just like to confirm that a new phone has been sent out to you today. As requested, we have also refunded your £30 policy excess. It will be paid into your account within the next hour. Please contact me if you have any problems. Warm regards Daniel."

So it was with a certain amount of glee, that this morning, I received a parcel containing this ......


Pic.No.1 My shiney new iPhone. The Bridget Bardot of digitalness

I have no idea what spurned the insurance company into such immediate action, but suffice to say, I once again have a decent phone. And £30 in my bank.

But then something to sprung to mind. I never actually paid the £30 policy excess in the first place. That means that I am £30 better off than when I first submitted my claim.

So here is a question: If I keep the money, does that make me a criminal?


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