back to article Publicity Stunt of the Week: Ten bizarre phone insurance claims

Here, apparently, are the UK’s ten oddest insurance claims made regarding mobile phones. We offer them without comment on their veracity, though the mobile phone insurance go-between that sent them to us in the hope of some free publicity* insists the claims “were investigated fully”, presumably by the insurer it represents. …


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  1. Robert E A Harvey
    Thumb Down


    If this is the oddest behaviour of the british public, we have become a very dull lot indeed.

    And that insurance office must really be a bundle of joy to work in.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

      Re: Tedium

      Tedium? Well yes, I suppose. "Inserted into a cow's vagina" might well be the result of near terminal boredom (but not on the part of the cow, I presume)

      I am somehow torn between to emotions, i.e.:


      2. I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW how it got there

      1. frank ly

        @Michael re. 1.

        The cow sat down and some idiot had dropped their mobile phone at that exact place in the field.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: insert in cow

          found a use for winpho7s

          1. Bassey

            Re: insert in cow

            I can all too easily imagine how it got there - hugely overworked vet dealing with umpteenth calving of a late night forgets to swap his phone to his other hand before reaching in to check the calf is in the correct position. It is how he realised where it was that interests me;

            VET: Damn, I seem to have misplaced my mobile. Can someone just ring it for me please?

      2. MJI Silver badge


        A vet.

        Must not make a call while rearranging a calf.

      3. paulc

        Re: Tedium

        sounds a bit like the scene in the film "Man Of The House" where Tommy Le Jones rings the suspects phone and the cow starts ringing...

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Tedium

          Or even that Jasper Carrot sitcom 'The Detectives' in which one of the characters loses a loud wristwatch inside a horse.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Dropped over the side of a cruise ship

    Why is that odd?

    Phone in top pocket, leans over, falls out.

    1. MrT


      ...phones fall out of pockets etc a lot.

      I've only claimed once, but it was for driving over my own handset. I explained to the insurance company that I was trying to bump-start one of my cars, but that the phone popped out or my pocket as I jumped into the driver's seat, to feel the back of the car bump over it as the car rolled forward.

      There was a pause, before the insurance guy did his best Victor Meldrew, checked with someone further up the line and then came back to say they would accept the claim, especially since it was only a cracked screen and it was working well enough for me to ring in on it to talk to him...

  3. TeeCee Gold badge

    I followed that link to the past excuses.

    I was quite surprised to find so many finding it difficult to believe that someone could leave their phone on a car roof, especially as I have actually done that. That was back in the days of outrageously expensive analogue ones too. Ouch and my employers were none too impressed.

    For "thing on a car roof" nothing beats a mate of mine. I was driving a carload of people to Glastonbury and we'd stopped for coffee and a wee at the M'way services. Once back on our merry way, he went to roll a fag and couldn't find his tobacco and papers. Then, on poncing a cig off someone else, he couldn't find his zippo lighter.

    After puzzling a bit he had a "lightbulb moment" and remembered putting them on the roof of the car as we'd been standing around it at the services. He then proceeded to wind the window down and feel on the roof.

    "Damn. They're not there!"

    "As we're currently doing 70mph on the motorway, I'd be a bit bloody surprised if they were.........."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I followed that link to the past excuses.

      Hehe, many years ago a friend of mine managed to leave his then girlfriends A-Level art coursework on the roof of his car when leaving college; what didn't get destroyed by being on the road was soon smashed to fuck by some scrotes from the Secondary.

      He was in the doghouse for a while after that one.

    2. frank ly

      Re: I followed that link to the past excuses.

      The roof of the car is a convenient place to put small things when you're sorting out your possessions in preparation for a journey. I once lost a packet of cigarettes and a lighter that way.

      1. Rob

        Re: I followed that link to the past excuses.

        "The roof of the car is a convenient place to put small things when you're sorting out your possessions in preparation for a journey." - I'm surprised no-ones left a small child on the roof of a car yet then ;-)

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Car roofs

          Some cars have a boot that can be unlatched from the keyfob.... I would really like a car that has a shelf near the driver door that can be accessed from both inside and outside the vehicle, so that possessions or shopping can be organised. No idea of how it would work, but I for one would find such a thing convenient.

          'Jackass' had a candid-camera routine in which they leave a dummy baby in a chair on a car roof and then drive around, causing members of the public to run after them. I don't mind those lads injuring themselves (or horseplay in general), but I can't approve of that kind of 'boy who cried wolf' stunt. Make fools of the vain and greedy, by all means, but don't mock people's good nature.

      2. Richard Altmann

        Re: I followed that link to the past excuses.

        Yup,the lighter Dad once gave me and he´d gotten from his Dad.

        Car roofs suck. Lesson learned.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I followed that link to the past excuses.

        I once left a set of church hall keys on the roof of my car after locking up and putting a load of stuff in my car. Got home and realised said keys weren't in my pocket. I resigned myself to looking for keys along over a mile of country roads, but on approaching my car in the driveway I noticed the keys still on the roof of the car.

    3. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      Re: I followed that link to the past excuses.

      ".....I was quite surprised to find so many finding it difficult to believe that someone could leave their phone on a car roof...." Best claim for company Blackberry - plonker A left an extra large McDonalds coffee on the roof of plonker B's car, plonker B opened the sunroof as they drove away from the McDs and the coffee fell into the car, dousing the BB belonging to plonker B (which was plugged into the car system) and the BB of plonker A (which was in his trouser pocket!) in hot coffee. The claim was for two BBs and the car stereo, and I'm told plonker A had scalds to his groin!

      1. RainForestGuppy

        Re: I followed that link to the past excuses.

        It was amazing how many devices happened to get left on the roof of cars, in pubs, on trains etc, whenever IT changed the corporate standard to the latest model.

        Another coincidence was that it was usually the same people who would come down to IT the week before requsting (and most of the time getting refused) an upgrade because their device was 6 months old and Fred has the latest version.

      2. Dave Walker

        Second Shower of the morning!

        I did it myself *once*. With a ceramic mug to boot!

    4. Gazareth

      Re: I followed that link to the past excuses.

      Lost a 2-week old pair of Raybans once this way.

      Funnily enough, I've not done it again since!

    5. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      "For "thing on a car roof" nothing beats a mate of mine."

      You mean you know Mitt Romney?

      You see - well -

      Is it as bad as it sounds? I suppose that depends how bad you think it sounds.

      1. Kobus Botes

        You mean you know Mitt Romney?

        Mitt Romney is a Pink Floyd fan?

        Well, what do you know?!

    6. Jedit

      "For "thing on a car roof" nothing beats a mate of mine"

      He couldn't have been a very good mate if you left him on your car roof.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I followed that link to the past excuses.

      Four years ago. New Dell laptop picked up from Elsevier IT that day. Put it on the roof and drove off. Remarkably it stayed put until I braked at the car park exit. It flew across road, hit kerb, case cracked badly. CD drive came out. Lost a couple of keys. I thought - OK, I'll go home, and in a couple of weeks time I'll say I dropped it at an airport or something, I'll live on the vpn. Remarkably enough, it worked. Gaffa taped it up. Still working now. (Not well, it was a piece of c--- when they gave it to me, but other than that... just don't pick it up with one hand, that's all)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We can add a new one here - courtesy of Junior

    11. "Chewed up by the city council lawnmower after falling out of a pocket onto the school lawn".

    By the way - it is impressive how much was left intact from the N95 after being through this. Unfortunately they do not make them that bombproof any more.

  5. Richard 8
    Thumb Down

    So dropped in the toilet has gone from being a most-common claim to being a "wackiest" has it?

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      Oh those wacky Register funsters

      I suppose 'wacky' should mean something like 'sent into space by accident', 'stolen by angry trolls from 4chan' or 'destroyed in a freak Morris dancing accident.'

      But no. Dropped into the bog.

      Even I've done that - left an old Nokia on the cistern with vibrate on, received a call, buzz, tremble, buzz, plop, kapow.

      The hilarity.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh those wacky Register funsters

        I'd gotten halfway home before I realised my mobile was still sat on the bog roll dispenser.

        I went back for it, mainly to avoid an awkward moment with the receptionist should it be handed in, if it was on my desk I would've waited until morning.

  6. MJI Silver badge

    Car roof

    Am I the only person more worried about paint damage than dropping a phone?

    Put something on the roof?

    What!!!! you might scratch the paint!!!!!

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      Re: you might scratch the paint!

      Yes, quite.

      I will cheerfuly put my laptop bag on the roof of a hire car while lifting things out of the boot, but would never do it to mine!

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon

        Re: you might scratch the paint!

        I don't usually make comments about people, but..

        "I will cheerfuly put my laptop bag on the roof of a hire car while lifting things out of the boot, but would never do it to mine!"

        makes you an arsehole.

  7. Mattjimf

    Down the bog

    My dad had something similar happen to him, but the bog was a whole in the ground, and his phone wasn't discovered missing until after said hole had been filled in and he had moved away from where the hole had been, so no way to find hole or phone.

  8. aui

    Doesn't surprise me

    Having observed a hospital doctor trying to examine my wife's throat with an iPhone - by using it as a torch - I can believe the veracity of the cow story.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Doesn't surprise me

      DIY endoscope?

  9. ElNumbre


    Anyone know what an "inconstant boyfriend" and if my premiums are at risk because I am one?

    I did giggle at the agreesive animals one, but Id of thought an aggressive monkey would be more bizzare than an aggressive seagul. After all, Id of thought the non-native monkey would be more unique than the 'seen even miles from the sea' guls.

  10. Crisp

    The most important information is missing from the article

    Did the insurance company actually fulfill their contractual obligation and pay out on the insurance policy?

  11. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    Not that I don't believe that these are some of the ways people have broken things, but I *don't* believe that that's what they'd tell the insurance company.

    Seriously? They honestly told them they were using it as a sex toy when they're trying to make a claim on the insurance? Because that would immediately invalidate any insurance I've ever used - user misuse - before you even started. Why would you bother to even phone them up in those cases because if you lie, this list would be boring, and if you don't they won't be covering you anyway?

    I don't doubt that the insurance company might *suspect* what's happened to it in certain cases but what's more shocking is that there are (allegedly) idiots who will tell the insurance company what they were doing with the phone to break it even when that's something as outrageous as these? Really? How about just sucking it up and buy a new phone that you don't break by shoving it somewhere you shouldn't?

    1. Magnus_Pym

      There is an American story about a woman who called the police to arrest her drug dealer for ripping her off in a deal.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "1.Inserted into a cow’s vagina"

    This is an old one - I believe it was used for an advert for Carphone Warehouse (or simillar supplier). Vet is rung up on farm and doesn't want to be seen with his old, clunky phone; Farmer walks in to barn and is puzzled by the fact that his cow appears to be ringing.

  13. Gr0nk

    I once broke a cordless handset throwing it against the wall trying to get through to them back when I was with Tiscali broadband (briefly the only option besides Tesco at a previous address. And I'd already ditched Tesco). Satisfying as it was, I've resisted the temptation to do it again, which given that the phone side was still provided by BT...

    Gee it's been a satisfying few years since being free of that bunch of showers of bastards! And my various handsets thank me daily.

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