Though mobile phone insurance is popular, most users are not aware of the caveats

It is one of the most lost articles worldwide, and in Chennai, it is no different. According to a leading retailer in the city, nearly four per cent of all smartphones they sell in a year are reported ‘missing’.

Though mobile phone insurance is becoming popular, there are caveats that most users are not aware of.

New India Insurance, on its website www.newind.co.in, while explaining the salient features of its mobile/cellular phone insurance lists ‘mysterious disappearances’ first among the exclusions for claims.

Often, those who have lost their mobile phones approach the nearest police station to report the loss. A senior police officer said immediately, a community service register (CSR) receipt is given.

“The CSR receipt is to certify the petitioner has lodged a complaint of ‘missing mobile phone’. Whether it was stolen or abandoned negligently will be ascertained during investigation. Anybody who finds an abandoned mobile phone is expected to make attempts to find the owner in the vicinity or hand it over at the nearest police station,” he said.

Making an insurance claim

In case, the smartphone owner has insured his phone and suspects theft, the police say they have to make substantial enquiries to prove the case.

In case of robbery, if the evidence is irrefutable — say, if a person is waylaid and attacked or if a bag containing the mobile phone is forcibly removed — then the police register a case since it becomes a cognisable offence. Once such a case is established, Cyber Crime police adopt various strategies to track down the mobile phone, including using the IMEI number once the phone is active under any telecom network. In such cases, an insurance claim is processed, with the FIR acting as a supporting document

However, a grey area arises when the phone goes missing and it is not clear if it was taken after the owner misplaced it or if it slipped and fell. In such cases, insurance claims are not processed.

The police say the most common places where phones are reported missing include railway reservation counters, cinema reservation counters, and coffee shops. Of late, there has also been a spike in the number of people reporting their mobile phones missing after a flight or a train journey.

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