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VR headsets cause surge in home insurance claims

VR headsets cause surge in home insurance claims | Towergate Insurance Brokers

Using VR headsets at home may be great entertainment, but new statistics from Aviva have highlighted an increase in home insurance claims caused by VR-related mishaps. Aviva reported that insurance claims linked to VR headsets rose by 31% between 2020 and 2021. In 2021, they found that the average value of claims like these was around £650.

If you think about it, it’s easy to lose awareness of where we are in the home when we’re immersed in the metaverse, and insurance customers have claimed for a wide range of accidents.

Aviva have reported receiving home insurance claims from customers who have tripped into their TVs, accidentally thrown the VR controller at the screen, and even smashed valuable objects when making swiping gestures.

Avoiding VR headset accidents

According to Statista, 2020, 5.5m VR headsets were shipped globally throughout 2020 alone. With customers owning 26m VR headsets around the world in 20201, we’re likely to continue to see an increase in the number of VR-related insurance claims. So, what can consumers do to protect their home while they’re enjoying the world of VR?

Let’s look at some of the simple ways consumers can reduce their risk of needing to make a claim:

  1. Take regular breaks when using your headset

It may sound simple, but it’s easy to lose track of time when you’re in mortal combat with a zombie. Taking a break from your VR headset at regular intervals will help to minimise side effects like dizziness and nausea, lowering your chances of losing your balance or having an accident. Tentative guidance in this area suggests users remove the headset for at least 10 minutes every half an hour.2

    2. Always read your VR headset’s instructions

Ok, so we’re all guilty of skimming instructions when we get a new gadget but do have a good read of your headset’s health and safety guidance when you open it. Most manufacturers include best practice advice to help keep you (and your home) safe when you’re enjoying the product. It’s often recommended that first-time users sit down when wearing the headset. This helps give the brain time to adjust to the sensation, helping to ensure you don’t become dizzy. 

  1. Leave yourself plenty of space

The examples of accidents Aviva have described are likely caused by customers assuming they have more space around them than they actually do. When you decide which room you’ll be enjoying your VR headset in, have a think about moving any valuable items such as ornaments and collectibles from it – even if they appear to be well away from your playing space. Make sure you allow extra room between you and your TV and encourage the kids to try and keep the space they’re using in mind too. 

  1. Don’t use your headset when you’re feeling under the weather

Cosying up at home and losing yourself in the metaverse may be a tempting prospect when you’re not feeling your best, but it’s not the best idea. Ailments such as headaches, fatigue, sore eyes and sickness can be heightened by wearing your VR headset, which can also result in an accident. It’s a better idea to curl up with a film or that book you’ve been meaning to finish.

The future of VR and home insurance claims

Aviva noted that they are already seeing fresh home insurance claims from VR headset customers for 2022 and are anticipating more throughout the year. The world of VR looks set to remain a fixture in households across the UK, so it may be wise for users to check their insurance cover still suits their needs.

For example, taking a moment to ensure your home contents insurance covers you for accidental damage cover could save you money and the need to claim in the future. If you’re unsure, contact your Towergate Insurance advisor for more information, we’ll be happy to help you check your cover is right for your lifestyle.

 Sources:

1 CNBC, 2020

2Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy: The safety of domestic virtual reality systems

This is a marketing article by Towergate Insurance.

The information contained in this article is based on sources that we believe are reliable and should be understood as general risk management and insurance information only. It is not intended to be taken as advice with respect to any specific or individual situation and cannot be relied upon as such. If you wish to discuss your specific requirements, please do not hesitate to contact your usual Towergate Insurance Brokers adviser.