Mobile phone users paying for insurance they forgot to cancel

CONSUMERS are taking out insurance on their mobile phones but then forget to cancel it when they get a new device.

This means they end up paying for cover on something they no longer use.

Central Bank research also found that people are confused about what is covered by gadget insurance, often leading to claims being denied.

Almost half of those who take out gadget insurance mistakenly believe it will cover wear and tear on their device.

Some 440,000 people have gadget insurance which is mainly sold to them after they purchase a device, the Central Bank found.

The research, which included a consumer survey and a thematic inspection of gadget insurers, found the majority of people did not understand the cover and thought it covered more than it did.

Some 45pc expect wear and tear to be covered, with 77pc expecting to be offered a new device when it needed to be replaced.

And one in five failed to cancel a previous policy after taking out a new one. This means they are paying for cover they no longer need.

Few people surveyed were familiar with the exclusions and excess on the policies. Exclusions list out claims that will not be covered, while the excess is the amount the consumer has to meet before a claim will be paid.

People felt the policy terms were unfair as the excess was often a higher figure than the cost of the repairs.

Device owners were also unaware that there is sometimes no cover for under 18s, and restrictions on the age of the gadget and the place of purchase.

Many people have a claim turned declined after having a mobile phone stolen. This is because they have failed to report the loss of the handset to the gardaí or to the insurer within the timeframe specified in the policy.

Central Bank inspectors also probed the three main providers of gadget insurance.

This found product information provided to consumers was inadequate.

Insurers, brokers and retailers selling gadget insurance need to do more to ensure that consumers are made aware of the key product features, benefits, exclusions, how to make a claim, and the total cost of the product, the Central Bank said.

Director of Consumer Protection Gráinne McEvoy said: “Sellers of gadget insurance must also be very clear to consumers about the product terms, cost, conditions and limitations and inform consumers that they have a cooling off period if they subsequently decide that they do not want to keep the insurance product.”

A letter has been send to sellers of the product by the regulators.

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