I left it right here – and now it’s gone!

Diya visited a campsite with some friends. During the day, she decided to go for a swim in the river nearby.  Diya left her phone with her clothes on a camping chair and headed down for a swim.

When she returned from her swim, Diya noticed that her phone was missing. She looked for it but realised someone had taken it. Diya had mobile phone insurance, so once she got home, she made a claim.

Diya’s insurer declined her claim because Diya had left her phone ‘unattended’ in a public place. Diya’s insurer also told her that her policy doesn’t cover theft if reasonable precautions to prevent theft aren’t taken.

Diya wasn’t happy with her insurer’s decision, so she complained to FSCL.

Dispute

Diya thought her claim should be accepted. She argued that her phone wasn’t unattended – she said it wasn’t visible on the chair, and that she could see the chair from where she was swimming. She also argued that her policy wasn’t valid because she wasn’t sent her policy document.

Diya’s insurer considered the phone was unattended, and that Diya also hadn’t taken precautions to safeguard it, so they declined the claim. They also said that they had sent Diya her policy document.

Review

We considered that Diya’s phone had been left ‘unattended’ when she left it on the camping chair to go swimming – because it was out of her possession and control, and probably out of her sight for some of the time she swam.

Therefore, we thought it was fair for Diya’s insurer to decline the claim, because her policy didn’t cover her if the phone was left unattended in a public place.

We also thought Diya’s insurer could have relied on the other exclusion to decline the claim – Diya did not take the reasonable precautions to keep her phone safe (like locking it in her car whilst she swam).

Diya’s insurer showed us records of when they sent Diya her policy document, so we were satisfied Diya had been given a chance to review it.

Resolution

We issued a decision explaining to Diya that we thought her insurer’s decision to decline her claim was fair. We recommended Diya discontinue her complaint.

This was the final step in our process.

Insights for consumers

This case shows that even if you have insurance, you still need to take care of your belongings. Insurance policies always have limits that mean you won’t be covered for everything that could happen.

If you aren’t careful with your belongings and they are stolen or damaged, your insurer may not be required to pay your claim.