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Misplaced, stolen, dropped, or destroyed: New Zealand’s top contents insurance claims

26 July 2022

Mobile phones, glasses, and laptops are the items New Zealanders are most likely to misplace, damage, or have stolen, according to new contents claims data from State Insurance. 

An average of 33 mobile phones are claimed for every day, earning them top spot on the list of New Zealand’s most common contents insurance claims. Over the past two and a half years, State received 36,000 claims for phones, totalling $42 million in value. 

Glasses are the second most frequently claimed for item, with a total of almost 29,000 claims over the past two and a half years, closely followed by laptops, with a total of almost 20,000 claims. 

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

State’s Executive General Manager, Claims, Wayne Tippet, says if there’s one thing we can expect in life, it’s the unexpected.

“At State, we see all kinds 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 from someone’s property. Mistakes, theft, and accidents happen to us all, and the costs can quickly add up.

“Once you calculate the value of everything you own, it can be quite surprising how much it’s collectively worth. Many people think about the things that are easy to lose or damage, but they often forget about the everyday items like kitchen appliances, bedding, or furniture. All of these could need to be replaced if there was a serious fire or flood.

“State’s online calculator, Tally, is a quick and easy way people can work out the right amount to insure their contents for. It lets you quickly add items from a list of 25 popular categories, adjust average values based on what you own, and add custom items. 

“When the worst happens, whether it’s dropping your phone or a devastating house fire, you want to make sure you have the appropriate insurance in place to absorb the financial hit and get back on your feet as quickly as possible.”

New Zealand’s most claimed for contents*:

  1. Mobile phones
    Claims: 35,899
    Value: $42 million

    On average, 33 mobile phones are lost, damaged, or stolen in New Zealand every day.

    The not-so-trusty back-pocket might be to blame, with 1,521 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.

  2. Glasses
    Claims: 28,957
    Value: $26 million 

    Shortsighted, longsighted... If only glasses gave us the gift of foresight. 6,220 of the total claims for glasses were due to accidental damage and a further 3,895 were lost or misplaced. 

  3. Laptops
    Claims: 19,813
    Value: $34 million 

    After spending so much time on our personal devices at home over the past two and a half years, it’s no surprise that laptops are one of the most frequently claimed for items. Claims for laptops spiked by 18% during the nationwide lockdown of 2020, and 845 of the total claims over the past two and a half years involved a pet. 

  4. Jewellery 
    Claims: 17,045
    Value: $48 million 

    Although fourth on the list of items New Zealanders claim for most frequently, jewellery is by far the costliest, with claims totalling almost $48 million over the past two and a half years. The potential value of jewellery often makes it an attractive target for thieves, and 1,868 of total claims were due to theft or burglary.   

    Make sure you let your insurer know about any particularly expensive items of jewellery you own. While most contents insurance policies will cover sudden or accidental loss or damage to jewellery worth up to $5,000, higher-value items need to be listed as a specified item on your policy. 

  5. Appliances
    Claims: 16,032
    Value: $33 million 

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

    Protecting our fridge, oven, or TV might not be the first thing we think of when the power goes out, but 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.

  6. Furniture
    Claims: 13,402
    Value: $33 million 

    Our couch or coffee table are some of the last things we would expect to go walkabouts, but for a surprisingly large number of New Zealanders, their furniture has done just that. Over the past two and a half years, State received 964 claims for lost or misplaced furniture.

  7. Hearing aids
    Claims: 9,796
    Value: $39 million 

    In late 2021, as mask wearing became more widespread in New Zealand, State Insurance saw a significant rise in claims for hearing aids, particularly those that involved a mask. In July 2021, 9% of all hearing aid claims involved a mask, leaping to 24% in August and 45% by September.

  8. Bicycles
    Claims: 6,665
    Value: $15 million 

    Following accidental damage, theft is the most common reason people make an insurance claim for their bicycle. It accounts for 38% of all bicycle claims over the past two and a half years and is more common in areas located close to a University.

  9. Carpet
    Claims: 4,896
    Value: $20 million

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

  10. Dentures
    Claims: 4,327
    Value: $10 million

    Dentures snuck in at number 10 on the list of items Kiwis are most likely to claim for, with a total of 4,327 claims over the past two and a half years. 

    Although the majority were accidentally damaged or misplaced, a surprisingly large number (184) were damaged by pets, suggesting it’s best to store any removable dentures well away from playful pups or curious cats.

Curious to find out how much your contents are worth? Visit state.co.nz/tally

*Based on IAG domestic contents claims data from 1 July 2019 and 31 December 2021. Item categories are ranked from highest number of claims to lowest.

About State: State has been looking after New Zealanders for over 100 years and is part of the largest general insurer in the country, IAG New Zealand.  IAG also trades under the AMI, NZI, NAC, Lumley and Lantern brands, and provides the general insurance products sold by ASB, BNZ, Westpac and The Co-operative Bank. IAG employs over 3,500 people, holds relationships with one in every two New Zealand households, and insures more than $680 billion of commercial and domestic assets. 

For assistance, please contact: IAG External Communications +64 27 405 9335 or media@iag.co.nz

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