The most common contents insurance claims

4 minutes

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From lost laptops to spills on the carpet – we know things can go wrong whether you’re at home or out and about. Find out the most common contents insurance claims and discover how Flow Renters can keep you covered.

  • Men are more likely to drop phones down the toilet, for women it’s baths and hot tubs 
  • Laptops are frequently left on trains, while one was lost at a zoo
  • Claims for smart speakers have risen by 167% in a year

Contents insurance claims – the lowdown

That wine glass you nudge just enough to spill its contents over the cream carpet. The brand-new phone you somehow manage to drop down the toilet (best not to ask). Let’s face it, life is full of mini domestic disasters.

If you’ve ever been on the wrong end of one of these mishaps, then take comfort in the knowledge that you’re not alone.

Latest figures from Be Valued, who work with LV= and other leading UK insurers to value and settle insurance claims, show we’re a nation that’s forever falling victim to clumsy calamities.

Read on to find out the most common incidents that result in contents insurance claims.

Thrills ‘n’ spills

Whether it’s a mug of coffee or cheeky glass of Merlot, carpets can sometimes feel like they’re a magnet for stains.

Red wine is particularly stubborn to remove due to its high acid content and rich colour. Your type of carpet can also be a factor, with more porous natural fibres soaking up more liquid than synthetics. 

Be Valued has sent out 682 instructions for flooring spills over last the last two years – an average of 29 per month. The peak months tend to be January (perhaps it’s all those New Year parties) and February.

Top tip: Speed is of the essence to tackle stains, so act fast. Use a white cloth or paper towel to blot (never rub) the area and then pour cold water onto the stain to dilute it. Mix one tablespoon of white vinegar and one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid with two cups of warm water. Sponge the stain with this solution, blotting as you go.


A whopping 36% of all phone damage claims are due to them being immersed in water. Of these, 45% are due to being “dropped down the loo” – mostly by males. Meanwhile, 17% are through phones having “slid into bath/hot tub”, with most being reported by females.

That sinking feeling

There’s nothing the modern smartphone can’t do. Looking to stream the latest must-see box set? No problem. Want the weather update for Beijing? Sure thing. But just as Superman’s only weakness was kryptonite, so smartphones and water really don’t get along.

So what do we do? We take them to places where there’s water. Lots and lots of water. It’s like we can’t help ourselves.

It’s why a whopping 36% of all phone damage claims are due to them being immersed in water. Of these, 45% are due to being “dropped down the loo” – mostly by males. Meanwhile, 17% are through phones having “slid into bath/hot tub”, with most being reported by females.

Top tip: If your phone does end up in water try removing the case, SIM, and (if you can) the battery. Use a cloth (not tissue) to dab away the water you can see. Then place everything in a bowl of uncooked rice for at least 12 hours to soak up any moisture that’s left. After that, place one finger over the other and hope for the best.

Lost laptops

Ah, the trusty laptop. Where would we be without it? That feeling you get when you finish an epic four-hour meeting, jump on the train and settle into your seat… then start piling through all the unread emails and leftover bits of work you should have been doing while you were sitting in that meeting.

Our laptops travel with us wherever we go – which only goes to increase our chances of leaving them somewhere we shouldn’t. Cue a cold sweat as it dawns on us that a password made up of our first name followed by 1, 2, 3, 4 might not be enough to keep the more determined hacker at bay.

It’s no wonder then that a little under half (42%) of all laptop claims dealt with by Be Valued are due to them being left in public. Usually public transport – the bus or train – is to blame, some are left at airports and one laptop was even mislaid at a zoo.

Top tip: Yes, you are going to have to make that difficult call to Terry in IT. You should also report the lost item to the relevant train operator who will hopefully be able to track it down.

Smart speaker claims

There’s no clearer signal of the sea change in technology than claims for gadgets. The 2000s saw thousands of contents insurance claims for damaged iPods. In 2020, Be Valued received just two.

The highest increase in claims this year for a single product has been for an “Alexa”. The funny thing is there’s no such product. The product is officially an Amazon Echo smart speaker, but nearly 85% of users who make a claim refer to it as their “Alexa”, which is the name of the virtual assistant.

Whatever you call yours, claims for the smart speaker have risen from 145 to 387 in a year – a whopping 167% increase that shows how much they’ve become part of everyday life.

Keeping your stuff safe while you’re renting or in a house share is important, but a lot of us forget to sort it. So, for flexible, monthly subscription contents insurance designed specifically for renters, check out Flow Renters.

Flow covers the belongings in your home that you own such as furniture, electrical items, clothes and other personal items like jewellery, musical instruments and bikes. You can even add up to 10 specified items to cover you when you're out and about.

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