Not you too...! Scrolling on your phone in bed could land you with a hefty dentist’s bill[Dagmar Gilden | 13.11.2023 :]
According to Dagmar Gilden, the Head of Property Insurance at Seesam, the company deals with hundreds of cases every month where mishaps occurring in the course of the most mundane activities leave people unfit for work (often for lengthy periods) or lead to significant treatment costs.
“A lot of these cases are linked to falls at home, in the garden, on the street or in car parks, but from time to time we’ve paid out on accident insurance claims that surprise or raise a laugh among even our most experienced claims handlers,” she explains.
Gilden says such cases include actual trauma arising from people lying in bed scrolling through their phones and then dropping them on their face. “In some cases the damage has been limited to broken glasses, a bruise or two and some minor pain,” she recalls. “But others have resulted in eye damage and chipped teeth.”
Most of the claims submitted to Seesam, however, are for incidents whose risks most people are able to foresee.
“Back in spring we surveyed 500 people to find out what sort of accidents they dread most,” Gilden explains. “More than a third said slipping or falling over on an even surface, particularly in bathrooms, while a quarter said falling while climbing up or down stairs.”
Gilden notes that although more common during colder weather, falls are not restricted to winter – people also take tumbles on wet grass in their yards, when going swimming in lakes, while cleaning, when stepping out of cars onto muddy patches of ground and, of course, on wet bathroom floors. Falls on stairs and from ladders are slightly less common, but insurance statistics show that they often lead to more serious consequences. “The amounts we’ve paid out for falls from ladders have been 23% higher than those for falls on even surfaces,” she says.
Gilden says that falls involving bicycles are becoming more frequent: in the first nine months of 2023, Seesam indemnified 30% more cases of this kind than it compensated in the whole of 2022. Self-inflicted injuries, she adds, continue to occur as commonly as ever.
“These include things we’ve all done in our lives, like stubbing our toes on door frames, knocking against furniture or missing the nail with the hammer and hitting our thumbs instead,” she explains. “Unfortunately, we’re also still seeing plenty of incidents where people are injuring themselves – sometimes less seriously, sometimes more so – in the course of their work, because they’ve gone about it the wrong way or due to carelessness on their own part or that of a colleague.”
Gilden notes that sports-related injuries are also on the rise. “It’s great that so many people are leading active, healthy lives, going to the gym or out for a run or working out at home,” she says, “but you ought to insure yourself against accidents occurring in the course of exercise as well. We’ve seen cases where people have hurt themselves when using dumbbells and other equipment at home, from hitting the floor when doing aerobics, from tripping over when out running on dedicated tracks and a host of other causes, all of which can result in pain and time off work. There’s been an almost 40% rise in the number of sports-related claims we’ve received compared to last year.”
Gilden says the Seesam survey revealed that people are also concerned about injuries arising from dog attacks. “Thankfully we haven’t seen too many such cases, but accident insurance covers a variety of incidents caused by pets as well,” she notes.
“For example, if a dog suddenly pulls on its leash it can cause quite serious injuries, including torn ligaments. We’ve also dealt with cases where overexcited dogs have jumped on their owners with such force that the people have fallen over and damaged their coccyx. Compensation can be of great help in such instances, not only in recovering from injuries, but also in restoring good relations between dog and owner!”