5 strange iPhone deaths Insurers hear the worst stories of mobile torture Tom Kaneshige September 20, 2010 CIO US Share Twitter Facebook LinkedIn What do toilets, beer and elevators have in common? They all send many iPhones to their death, says consumer electronics insurer Worth Ave Group, which shared some unfortunate tales of iPhone disaster. 1. Lately, Aaron Cooper, marketing director at Worth Ave Group, a company that insures consumer electronics against accidental damage, theft, vandalism, fire, flood and natural disasters, has seen some odd cases come through the door. Two-thirds of all claims fall into three categories, says Cooper: Liquid damage, cracked screens and theft. But exactly how iPhones get wet or why screens crack can be, sadly, entertaining. 2. Flushing the iPhone Public enemy number one of the iPhone is water. I ruined an iPhone after accidentally putting it in the washing machine. But perhaps the most odd form of liquid damage is when people drop the iPhone in the toilet. Cooper has seen a rise in this type of claim. He figures people are using the iPhone while they're, um, unavailable. They're reading the newspaper or a book on the iPhone, or maybe texting. 3. iPhone and Beer don't mix Many of Worth Ave Group's customers are college-aged kids, and their iPhones don't mix well with their habits. A night of hard partying can easily lead to a missing or damaged iPhone, Cooper says. iPhones often get stolen, he says, when someone plugs their iPhone into a stereo system at a house party. The unattended iPhone goes missing after the music stops. 4. Call of the Wild Many broken iPhones come to the insurer with shattered screens. One of the reasons, says Cooper, is that Apple no longer sells screen protectors. Starting with the iPhone 3GS and now the iPhone 4, Apple says that it has made the iPhone highly scratch resistant. Thus, there wasn't a need for a screen protector, in Apple's opinion. A screen protector could have spoiled a feline attack, says Cooper. He recalls a recent case that a customer explained, starting with an iPhone and a cat sitting peacefully on a table. The iPhone was in silent mode. When the iPhone received a message, it began vibrating. The surprised cat swatted at the iPhone, sending it across the room and shattering the screen. 5. Down the elevator shaft The iPhone has proven to be a great travel companion. Travel apps such as FlightTrack and Kayak are some of the most popular in the App Store. It's no wonder that people often leave iPhones inside hotel rooms, bars and restaurants. It seems iPhones can be lost anywhere, even in hotel elevator shafts. Cooper says he's had a few claims where iPhones slipped out of people's hands and through the small gap between the elevator door and floor. That is, down the elevator shaft. 6. A series of unfortunate events When I realised I had ruined my own iPhone in the washing machine, I admit I couldn't think clearly. In one fell swoop, I had lost something that I use perhaps a hundred times a day (which probably shows an unhealthy attachment to a tech gadget). That's why I wasn't surprised to hear Cooper's recount of a woman customer who left her iPad on the top of her car and drove off. The iPad crashed on the cement. The woman, he says, realised what had happened and quickly turned the car around to retrieve it. In her zest, she ran over the hapless iPad.