back to article iPhone must-have crowd inflates UK gadget insurance claims

Apple gizmo fans are committing more insurance fraud in a move to upgrade their iPhones to the latest model, a UK insurer has claimed. Supercover Insurance said claims for iPhones would typically shoot up 50 per cent during the month in a which a new model was released. It said that four out of 10 claims made during such a …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    I don't even own one

    and it's costing me money.

  2. Jaymeister

    Simple solution

    Rather than sending the user cash or the new model, why not simply send them a replacement that's the same model as the one they just trashed?

    That way they don't get anything out of it, except of course the inconvenience of having trashed their phone and having to wait for a new one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ah, but....

      Apple don't like shops stocking old models. When a new version is launched all the old ones suddenly get recalled and destroyed AFAIK - certainly the minute of launch the Apple Store and carrier stores stop selling the old one (unless Apple keep an old one going - like the 8GB old iPhone). If there are no old models to be had then it would have to be replaced with a new one.

      1. Jerome 0

        Perfect plan

        Apple likes to get rid of all old models from the shops? That's even better then - simply take all those "obsolete" iPhones that would otherwise have been destroyed and sell them on to the insurance company at a massive discount, to be used as described in Jaymeister's cunning plan. That way everyone wins: the insurance company gets to discourage fraudulent claims, Apple gets a bit of extra cash for stock that would otherwise have been destroyed, and people who leap into two year mobile phone contracts without thinking it through get a valuable lesson.

      2. Michael C

        Apple's vs local store stocks

        Apple DOES stock replacements and spare parts, and will replace an old model with an old model so long as there's a warranty. The difference with INSURANCE is THEY don't have access to Apple stock. They have to BUY you a new one (read the policy: comparable or newer replacement up to original value).

        I've actually received written confirmation of 3rd party "insurance" terms from my insurer. I have 2 policies: 1 is loss/damage/theft rider on my homeowners policy; which has a $250 deductible per incident, covers items in my car, on my person, and anyone else with me. If something is lost/destroyed through NO ACTION of my own, I pay the first $250 and they replace everything, with comparable units, even if that means newer better models. This costs me about $40-50 a year. The other policy I buy per-device, and is a rider to the first policy. It costs about $30 per device, depending on the cost. This augments the policy for that device to include accidental and incidental damage. All i have to do is drop something, and they replace it, and the deductible is $100 instead of $250 for devices over $1,000 value, and $50 for devices under $1,000. I confirmed, in writing, I can literally destroy a device in anger, willfully, and they'll simply charge the deductible and replace it. Do that a bit too much and I risk rate changes and possible insurance termination, but it IS within my policy rights, and I have coverage this way. (never used it, btw, except for a car wreck where my car insurance didn't cover my laptop getting destroyed).

        If the policy they're bitching about "fraud" with has an accidental/incidental coverage policy, it is NOT fraud, unless you lie about how it got destroyed.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Jobs Horns


      I'd also want them to commit to extending their current contract as well - to further discourage them... normal iPhone contracts are (I believe) 2 years, so for every insurance claim they make, reset that... that way they'll be using an old model for a further 2 years as a result of trying to make a fraudulent claim!

      Any takers?

    3. Pete 2 Silver badge


      You'd hope that the premiums for an iPhone would reflect the increased dishonesty of their owners, rather than being subsidised by us more sensible (non iPhone owning) types. Just like car premiums are, for higher for more desirable or costly to repair vehicles. So long as that's the case, let 'em try to defraud the insurers as much as they like - it should only affect the cost of their insurance, not everybody else's. Hopefully now that "the trade" is aware of this behaviour pattern, we can expect to see a few more prosecutions: you don't need an iPhone in jail!

      1. Jimbo 6
        Thumb Up

        You don't need an iPhone in jail...

        ...and happily the UK prison authorities have made a move recently so you CAN'T have one ! Bring on that "inhuman and degrading treatment" for the must-have-it fraudsters...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    sales technique

    While not iPhone related directly I remember a few years ago hearing a salesdroid at somewhere like PCWorld/Currys/Dixons trying to sell an extended warranty to someone buying a new PC. He's final sales line was "if the PC breaks in the 2 years warranty then they'll replace it with an equivalent new one and as PCs will have got better by then you'll effectively get an upgrade ... so buy the warranty, wait till its almost ended then pour a cup of coffee over it and say it was an accident and you'll get a free upgrade"

  4. Jim Coleman


    If a claim for a new mobile might be phoney, does that mean insurers might think my claim for medical treatment for one of my Koi Carp is a bit fishy?

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: So...

      Oh dear. I was rather planning to claim for the TV that got smashed in a blazing row with the wife the other day. Now I realise that may be considered a bit moody.

  5. Tim Croydon

    Only turn down a quarter of suspected false claims?

    No wonder insurance premiums are on the up.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    This definitely happens, I have friends who have done it.

    I don't own an iPhone, and wouldn't do this anyway personally.

  7. Richard 120
    Jobs Horns

    bad Apple

    They're probably doing it because the lifespan of the device is only about the length of a release cycle anyway?

    1. Michael C

      Seriously misinformed FUD

      C'Mon man, if you;re gonna make false claims, at least have a BS link to back it up.

      I have an iPhone 2G that's over 2 years old, has been dropped enough times to have scratches and dings all around the metal, not a scratch on the screen, for which i don't even use a screen protector, and it's still getting 90% or better it's advertised battery life. My 3GS which was bought mere days after release is in pristine condition, and also gets 90+% of it's battery life. These things are near bullet proof, unless you torque the screen by sitting on it. No moving parts, hermetically sealed, solid metal construction, few build a hardier device, and I've never met ANYONE who argues that until you. The LiPo batteries that have 5000+ life cycle charges in the iPhones are far superior to the Li-Ion in most phones, and don;t have explosive risks either (2G had Li-Ion). Also, the connector ports are metal in-cased, not plastic, and you;re FAR less likely to damage it by dropping it with headphones or a charging cable attached.

      I've had a number of PDAs and Smartphones. The Palm devices rarely lasted 18 months before needing warranty service. RIM were not much better. Any device with a removable battery would break the connector that held it in after a few hard drops and I'd need to buy a new one (not to mention ejecting the battery across the room/road). The keyboards would gum up and need cleaning regularly too.

      I've owned and serviced a lot of Apple product. Short of common component failures beyond their control (A Western Digital HDD in a Mac is as likely to fail in a PC), they build with higher durability and quality from day 1, include heartier power supplies and superior motherboards that handle voltage irregularities better, and overall QUALITY is what Apple is KNOWN for.

      Apple devices hold as much as 50% of their retail value 4 years in, and are priced nearly identical and often CHEAPER than competing class equipment; and currently undercut Dell's price in every model from the Mac Pro to the mini with the exception of the 17" MBP. No there's not $400 Mac, with good reason, NO ONE sells a machine with a GPU and this build quality at that price, not a single vendor. The "Mac Tax" has been a forgotten myth for years, and assholes like you refuse to accept that.

  8. Edwin

    Hardly new...

    Presumably people do this all the time. Only with jPhones the numbers are big enough to be measurable, right?

  9. Anonymous Coward

    No surprises..

    Scum+Technobling = Fraud

    mind, it makes spotting scum easy though, they like the labels.

  10. Thomas Whipp

    unfortunatly thats how it works....

    for an insurer to turn down a claim they have to have some reason - I've worked for a motor insurer in the past and because of the sums involved they would occassionally spend a lot of effort investigating certain claims.

    for a lost mobile the most you would reasonably want to spend checking a claim is £60 (above that you're probably costing more money than you save) - which realistically means a couple of hours of someones time in an office and maybe a check on a database.

    as far as apple goes I suspect they remove old models to avoid them being dumped and becoming cheap - its how they preserve a premium brand.

    About the only solution here would be for the insurance company to talk to apple direct and see if they could hold some back for claims - even then that might not be in Apples interest.

    1. Chris Pearson


      Last time I checked a 2G was £180 and a top end 3GS was more like £800. I have had cars cheaper than a 3GS....

      Just because O2/orange only charge you £60 initially doesn't mean you can replace the phone for that.

      1. Apocalypse Later


        60 quid is what the insurer spends CHECKING an average claim (the guy said), not what they pay out, nor what the premium is. You need to read more carefully.

    2. Edwin
      Thumb Down


      The only solution here would be to charge a decent premium for jPhone coverage.

      It works the same with cars, right? If you're 18 and have totalled your previous Golf/Astra/206/xr3i, then insuring the new one is going to be a little painful to say the least.

      Oh - and insurance companies aren't authorised apple resellers, so Steve won't like that.

  11. Peter Clarke 1

    Is there an App ....

    ... for trashing you iPhone so the Insurers think it's a genuine claim? Or one for the insurers to spot bogus claims?

  12. OFI

    @ AC Sales Technique

    Yep i've heard that one in Dixons before too. Friend was looking to buy a £2000 Plasma TV and the sales guy tried to sell him the extended cover for it which covered accidents etc.

    "The plasma will start to wear out by 4-5 years so at three years have it fall off the wall and get a replacement"

  13. LinkOfHyrule

    Saying nothing

    If I do I'll get accused of being mean to the sad, vacuous, shallow, selfish iPhone fanbios again. HAhaha get it?!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Same shit, different decade

    exactly the same thing used to happen with RAZRs back when they were the only phone worth being seen with

    1. Shades


      Only phone worth being seen with? I hope you jest! 5Mb of memory anyone?

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Addicted like heroin junkies

    I work with a guy who used the same technique to acquire an updated version of his one year old Mac Book Pro. Seems these apple nuts can't get off the juicy apple once they've had their first bite, no matter what the cost.

    Mines the one with the fraudsters hand in my pocket.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The question is

    What percentage of 16GB iPhone 3G owners, who have accidental cover, didn't put a brick to their phone?

    I certainly considered it. Not quite sure why I didn't arrange an accident - perhaps it is my inherent honesty, perhaps I just couldn't stand to see the waste, perhaps the upgrade wasn't that appealing or maybe it is just that I have a toddler who will probably, eventually, save me the bother.

  17. Damian Skeeles

    18 month contract

    This could perhaps be considered very relevant to the longer contracts that operators moved to a few years back.

    When the standard term was 12 months, it meant that you would buy the latest and greatest, and then a phone with genuinely new and useful features probably wouldn't appear until your contract was up anyway.

    These days, with most consumers taking 18- or even 24-month contracts, it means that while they are watching Steve prancing up and down the stage in San Fran the following year, they will be regarding the remaining 14 months of their existing contract with disdain.....

  18. Nebulo

    So, insurers -

    Any chance of a discount for those of us who aren't insuring the very latest tat, then?

    ... Thought not.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't think of a solution

    I've been reading and thinking about these posts for a while and I can't actually think of a serious, workable solution that would prevent my premiums going up as a result of some upgrade-addicted junkie.

    The only think that hits my mind is that if the insurance companies talk with each other, then the individual with too many claims gets a, "legal requirements only," flag against their name, which means that they can only get insurance for things they are legally required, like car insurance. Until there is some punishment mechanism, this stuff will just keep happening.

    Like-for-like does seem the best way to go, though. I broke my phone when up a mountain; I fell on it when the weather closed in. The rain soaked through the backpack and wrecked the backup mobile as well. Didn't think I had insurance. Rang Voda prepared to beg for a low cost handset but it turned out I had insurance; replacement of the same model was with me the next day. Glorious; and boy was I glad of it even though it was the same model.

    i'm with jaymeister all the way.

    There is only one other possibility I can think of ... which is that people who don't make a claim in two years, get free insurance. That's a loyalty bonus for honest people as well as punishment for those that use their claims for an upgrade.

  20. Daniel 1

    Well, I suppose this answers the question...

    "What would a Jesus Phone user do?"

  21. Apocalypse Later


    Third party only.

  22. Andy Dent 2
    Thumb Up

    Is there a slump when new models expected?

    I was wondering if there is a corresponding slump in cases when a new model is expected? How many of these are people who have trashed or lost their phone who decide to hang out a few months until the new model is shipping.

    Not sure if that counts as a minor fraud or not, unless they are signing a declaration as to the date of the incident.

    This effect comes to mind because my wife's iPod was nicked and replaced under insurance the week before the new model came out with camera :-(

  23. No, I will not fix your computer
    Thumb Up

    Maybe the real reason is....

    When a new improved model comes out the old one realises actually how shit it is, the fact that it's "just a phone" when it thought it was an "important life choice" and commits suicide?

    I can hear them now, little "plops" as the iPhones fall off bridges only punctuated by the larger splashes of the iPad while their owners mumble "what was I thinking? I looked such a cock, I'm a Dom Jolly of the iPhone world".


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