Insurers refused to fix my daughter’s phone screen because she was ‘underage’

Losing your mobile phone can feel like the end of the world.

But with four in five Brits ­owning one, damaged, lost or ­stolen ­smartphones have become an ­everyday disaster.

The right insurance should let you keep your cool and get a ­replacement quickly. But the wrong kind can leave you raging.

A reader called Martin made a claim on his insurance after his phone was pinched. But it was rejected ­because the insurer said it was a “theft without force”.

It quoted its terms and ­conditions, which sure enough confirmed this.

So Martin, from Poole in Dorset, was left with clenched fists – and a big bill for a new phone.

Ruth bought an iPhone 6 for her 15-year-old daughter for Christmas. She took out an ­insurance policy to cover it for damage or theft.

Her daughter accidentally smashed the phone a few months later. Ruth, from Dunblane in Stirlingshire, made a claim but it was ­rejected on the basis her daughter was under 18.

Another reader, Desmond, made a claim after his mobile was stolen but was simply told it was being rejected because he had not reported it to the police.

So Desmond, from St Albans, Herts, reported it and resubmitted his claim, only to be told that too much time had passed since the theft. These horror stories show how crucial it is to read the terms and conditions on policies. They are always full of exclusions.

Also ask lots of questions about what is covered before agreeing to take out the policy – and get the responses in writing.

There is some hope with Martin’s case. It ­depends how the insurer defines “force”.

If it is not defined as “physical” force, his claim should succeed. Ruth’s issue is more difficult, though, because it is common for ­insurers to ­exclude under 18s.

She may have grounds to ­complain if it was not made clear.

Desmond’s case is absurd. I understand the first ­rejection due to the theft not being reported, but the second one, after he went to the police, is in my opinion wrong.

If, like these readers, you make a claim to your ­mobile phone ­insurer and it is ­rejected, you can lodge a ­complaint with the Financial Ombudsman Service.

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