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Phones to dentures: insurer shares top 10 contents claims

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Mobile phones, glasses and laptops are the items New Zealanders are most likely to misplace, damage or lose to thieves, contents claims data shared by IAG brand State Insurance NZ reveals.

Rounding out the list of New Zealand’s most claimed for contents were jewellery, appliances, furniture, hearing aids, bikes, carpets - and dentures.

“Dentures snuck in at number 10 on the list of items Kiwis are most likely to claim for. Although the majority were accidentally damaged or misplaced, a surprisingly large number were damaged by pets,” State Insurance said. "It’s best to store any removable dentures well away from playful pups or curious cats.”

The data reveals an average of 33 mobile phones are lost, damaged, or stolen in New Zealand and claimed for every day. From July 2019 to December 2021, State received 36,000 claims for phones, totalling $NZ42 million ($37.96 million) in value.

Glasses are the second most frequently claimed for item, with a total of almost 29,000, followed by laptops at 20,000 claims.

EGM Wayne Tippet says State Insurance staff see all manner of situations that have led to people lodging a claim, including “peacocks rampaging through living rooms or large quantities of expensive house plants going missing”.

State offers an online calculator, Tally, to help work out the amount to insure contents for, allowing people to select from a list of 25 popular categories, adjust values, and add custom items.

Here are the most claimed contents, based on IAG domestic data from July 2019-December 2021, ranked by number of claims:

1. Mobile phones

Claims: 35,899

Value: $NZ42 million

“The not-so-trusty back-pocket might be to blame, with 1521 phones accidentally dropped in toilets over the past two and a half years. At least five phones were lost in porta-loos, including two at music festivals,” State said.

2. Glasses

Claims: 28,957

Value: $NZ26 million

6220 of the total claims for glasses were due to accidental damage and a further 3895 were lost or misplaced.

“Shortsighted, longsighted... If only glasses gave us the gift of foresight,” State said.

3. Laptops

Claims: 19,813

Value: $NZ34 million

State’s claims for laptops spiked by 18% during a nationwide lockdown in 2020. 845 claims involved a pet.

4. Jewellery

Claims: 17,045

Value: $NZ48 million

1868 claims were due to theft or burglary, and jewellery took top spot as the costliest contents claims category.

5. Appliances

Claims: 16,032

Value: $NZ33 million

817 claims were due to sudden or accidental electrical faults, and 432 were as a result of lightning, suggesting power surges are a common cause of damage.

“Taking the time to simply turn the appliance off at the wall will help prevent a potentially dangerous and damaging electrical surge when the power comes back on,” State says.

6. Furniture

Claims: 13,402

Value: $NZ33 million

964 claims were for lost or misplaced furniture.

“For a surprisingly large number of New Zealanders, their furniture has gone walkabouts,” State said.

7. Hearing aids

Claims: 9796

Value: $NZ39 million

In July last year, 9% of all hearing aid claims involved a mask. That leapt 24% the next month and 45% by September.

8. Bicycles

Claims: 6665

Value: $NZ15 million

Accidental damage and theft are the two most common reason people make an insurance claim for their bicycle. Theft accounted for 38% of all bicycle claims, and was more common in areas located close to a university.

9. Carpet

Claims: 4896

Value: $NZ20 million

Accidental damage and pets, followed by flooding are the most common causes of loss or damage to carpet.

10. Dentures

Claims: 4327

Value: $NZ10 million

184 denture claims were for damage by pets