We take our smartphones everywhere, so it’s no wonder that they end up in all manner of sorry states when we drop them, leave them in a taxi or plain old lose them. However, there are some extraordinary tales leading to some rather amusing insurance claims. Here are 10 of the best.
15 strangest smartphone deaths: water damage
Electronics’ number one enemy is liquid: water and iPhones do not mix. It’s not too surprising that gadget insurer Protect Your Bubble says that almost 10 percent of claims in 2013 were for liquid damage.
One of our very own office iPhones died when its owner (who shall remain nameless) dropped their 4S into the toilet bowl. It’s a more common insurance claim than you might imagine – the books or magazines we used to read on the throne are quickly being substituted by their electronic equivalents.
It isn’t just water that’s a problem, though. One of Protect Your Bubble’s customers claimed:
"I was decorating our living room and had my phone in my breast pocket. As I leant over to dip a brush in a five-litre pot of paint, the phone fell out and into the bottom of it."
Forgetfulness is one of the main reasons that smartphones get drenched and destroyed:
"I was on holiday in Egypt and…I decided to go for a swim in the ocean, forgetting I had put my mobile phone in my cleavage for safekeeping. I didn’t notice until I’d been in the sea for 10 minutes, and by that time my phone had stopped working."
But phones can also be trashed by distraction:
"I jumped into a swimming pool to escape a wasp, unfortunately with my mobile in my hand."
"I dunked my phone in my tea because I got distracted and thought it was a biscuit."
It’s important to put your gadgets out of reach of children and pets, too:
“I couldn't find my phone indoors anywhere. I went into the garden later on to find that my dog had put it in the birdbath.”
Beer and smartphones don’t mix, but it isn’t always the situation you’d expect. While a fair few handsets get accidentally dunked, one phones arrived in a plastic bag for inspection at US-based insurer Worth Avenue Group after someone who had too much to drink vomited on it. Urgh.
15 strangest smartphone deaths: smashed screen
Glass screens are the norm these days, which is slightly baffling given how easily they shatter when dropped. Some people use screen protectors, while others – reassured by the improved scratch resistance on modern LCDs – don’t.
One hapless customer managed to destroy his iPhone’s screen after owning the handset for just six days: "I…went to see Tottenham play at White Hart Lane. Gareth Bale scored and I jumped up to celebrate whilst grabbing my phone to text my wife, dropped it and smashed the screen."
Pets (again) are a threat to your smartphone’s health. One Worth Avenue Group customer made a claim which started with an iPhone and a cat sitting peacefully on a table. The iPhone was in silent mode. When the iPhone received a message, it began vibrating. The surprised cat swatted at the iPhone, sending it flying across the room and shattering the screen.
15 strangest smartphone deaths: total annihilation
Not everyone claims for a damaged smartphone, with plenty of people – 16 percent according to Protect Your Bubble’s data – making do with a cracked screen or a scratched or dented device.
Sometimes, though, there’s no option but to get a new phone, as was the case for these unfortunate customers:
"My grandson thought it was not right for my phone to be left out on a cold day on the kitchen table…so he put it in the microwave to warm it up. He set the microwave on full power for an hour but it blew up long before that, along with my Samsung Galaxy."
"My little brother took my mobile phone and destroyed it with a hammer."
One particularly careless owner put their phone on their car’s roof and absent-mindedly drove off. That’s happened to the best of us, but she went one better: she realised what had happened when she heard it hit the road, tried to turn the car around and promptly drove over it. Game over, iPhone.
Yet another clumsy customer was taking photos during a hot air balloon ride when they lost their grip and dropped their smartphone over the edge of the basket. Needless to say, it wasn’t a happy ending for the phone.
Returning to the dangers of pets: "I…left my mobile on an armchair. When I returned my mother’s dog had decided that he liked the taste and had eaten nearly all of it."
Finally, you should always put your phone on silent when it would otherwise be a distraction. The consequences of failing to do this can be catastrophic as another customer discovered: "I was out shooting one day when my mobile phone rang. The gamekeeper confiscated it, threw it into the air and gave it both barrels of a 12 bore shotgun!"
If you’ve got an amusing tale of smartphone destruction, let us know in the comments below.