I’ve been a Vodafone customer for a very, very, very long time. I’ve also been a customer of their phone insurance product for a very long time (around 1999 from memory, not long after the product was launched). In that time I’ve made two claims, and the whole process in both cases was extremely simple and something I was very happy with.
In December 2011 Vodafone* made some significant changes to their phone insurance policy, cleverly hidden in a letter that made no mention of the key changes. The most significant change was that handsets that were not supplied by Vodafone were not covered, something you would have only picked up on if you’d read the fine print and ignored the big bold “nothing else has changed” that was mentioned in the letter.
I blogged about this issue at the time and spent a number of hours dealing with people from Vodafone and Marsh to gain clarification on these changes and whether existing customers who did not have Vodafone supplied handsets would suddenly find their insurance was worthless should they ever attempt to lodge a claim. It became very clear to me dealing with them that the relationship between both companies could really only be described as dysfunctional, with neither really wanting to take ownership of the product or answer the tough questions. In the end Vodafone ended up adding a comment to my blog clarifying the changes
The changes indicated in the policy document do not apply to existing customers who purchased their policy before 5 December 2011
For new policies purchased on or after 5 December we are no longer intending to provide cover for phones that are purchased from an unknown source.
And that was that. Everybody lived happily ever after.
Fast forward to November 2013 and I decided to change phone plan. I haven’t been on a contract with Vodafone for many years, and simply moved to a new on account plan with no contract term. Yesterday in the mail I received a letter from Vodafone welcoming me to Phone Insurance, something that struck me as strange as it was something I was already part of, and in my 14 or so years of having this insurance (and multiple plan changes) I’d never received such a letter before.
Being fully aware of the changes and conditions in December 2011 I wanted clarification as to whether I would be covered under my existing policy conditions, to which both Vodafone and Marsh have advised that I would not, and that I will be covered under the new post December 2011 terms and conditions.
As I do not have a Vodafone supplied handset this insurance is now worthless, which is something I’m extremely unhappy about through no fault of my own. I was happy to pay this monthly fee to be covered, but it seems I’m now stuck without insurance.
Vodafone did not advise me when changing plans that my insurance would be affected, and the only mention in the insurance terms and conditions that comes remotely close is the following condition:
Your insurance cover will also terminate on the date:
• The On Account contract for your mobile is
terminated for any reason;
I have never had a contract period for my existing plan, nor a handset that was purchased at a subsidised price as part of an On Account term contract so see no reason under which this would apply to my scenario.
Clearly this whole situation is something that has the potential to be affecting many others with Vodafone insurance. If you’re a long term Vodafone insurance customer who has changed plans and do not have a Vodafone supplied handset your insurance could quite likely be invalid. It’ll pay to check that you’re actually covered!
*While Vodafone brand and sell the insurance it’s actually a product backed by ACE Insurance and provided to Vodafone by Marsh insurance brokers.
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Comment by Sounddude, on 28-Nov-2013 11:30
Most house the contents insurance will cover phones now. So if you have one of those polices, I would suggest looking into if its covered and canceling the VF insurance.
Comment by Satch, on 28-Nov-2013 12:09
Agree with Sounddude. Seems pointless paying extra for insurance which you should already be covered for under your contents insurance (assuming you do have contents insurance). I fail to see what the issue is?
Comment by Satch, on 29-Nov-2013 13:00
How much per year do/did you pay for Vodafone handset insurance?
Comment by wazzab, on 29-Nov-2013 16:59
Our business was caught up with this 2 years ago - we went to claim on an iPhone (purchased from Apple) and said we weren't covered even though we were merrily giving them $9.95 per connection per month on over 100 connections. We canned the lot in the end, and run an inhouse insurance scheme - $10 per month per user/contractor, and can afford to replace a high end phone (iPhone usually) per month.
I argued at the time with my account manager that we not alerted to this, and kicked up a fuss, and got some credit back for the months in which we had a phone on a plan which was not actually covered by insurance even though we were paying.
Comment by ajobbins, on 3-Dec-2013 15:36
wazzab, good to see you got some money back - and by law they have to refund you. You cannot collect insurance premiums from someone when you are not actually covering anything.