Friday, December 5, 2008

The Never Buy Insurance Policies!

I got a call this week from a sales rep at O2. You see back in July I bought an iPhone, or as one of my friends calls it, the Jesus phone. I am fairly happy with it, the GPS comes in handy when I am lost as I was last weekend...there are a few problems such as texting and I understand from a friend that integrating it with blue tooth in his car is a problem.

Anyhow the sales rep from O2 wanted me to buy insurance to cover my phone in case it was stolen, lost or broken. Basically for €9 a month I could insure my phone if I lost it, or if someone stole it and made loads of calls to Australia. My response was why? Insurance in basically there to cover substantial loss, i.e. if my house burned down, I wouldn't have a home and would still have a big mortgage, so it makes sense to pass the risk to my home insurance company in return for an annual premium. The same applies to motor insurance in that if you cause or are in a serious car collision, the costs could be exorbitant. Indeed motor insurance is unique in that we are required by law to have it if we have a car.

The "Never Pay Policy" sounds good!

But the idea that I should pay €108 a year to insure a phone which I could buy if it was stolen or lost for between €129 to €229 is mad. And even if someone steals my phone and makes calls I would like to think I will know soon enough to be able to cancel it with O2. A few years ago when I bought my mp3 player in Scotland for £50, I couldn't believe it when the assistant almost insisted I take out an insurance policy on it.

These policies are all the rage, because on one hand the providers whether they be telco companies, white goods retailers or airlines make a nice profit on these worthless policies and they also then of course try to fob people off if they have a problem by telling them to make an insurance claim even if they are responsible for dealing with the consumers problem. Thats bad news because the insurance industry is notorious for anti-consumer practices, as someone once put it they will insure you if you fall out a window, but not when you hit the ground.

Consumers should run a mile from these dubious policies, they are expensive and of little value in my humble opinion.


Ciaran said...

I think the €129 or €229 price is subsidised by the network, and is only for new contract signups. To buy a new phone, I assume one would have to pay for an unlocked device, which retails for €500-€700. I may be wrong though. I gave in and got the insurance with my iPhone, but I think it's €6 per month.

irishconsumerist said...

Ciaran, thanks for comment, will check that out...perhaps I was getting a good deal after all....just my natural suspicion kicked in. James

Unknown said...

Insurance can be relatively confusing. It's helpful to have information from a lot of different sources that can help.