What would happen if you were to lose your smartphone today? The hard truth is, many of us have become dependent on this device – from important contacts to memorable photos, our smartphones are what leaves us connected.
Be sure to protect it, by avoiding its use in these places:
1. In the toilet
A recent study in the UK showed that half of all water-damaged phones were dropped in the toilet. Closer to home, a survey mentioned in The Straits Times found that more than one-third (34 percent) of all smartphone users damaged their phones in the toilet. This makes the loo a leading “danger zone” for phone use.
The main reason to avoid “toilet-phoning” is that there’s water everywhere, and what’s basically a giant bowl of liquid just waiting for your phone to fall into. It’s also by far the grossest place to have to retrieve your phone – you had the best hope the toilet bowl was flushed before your phone falls in, or that the liquid on the floor really is just water.
But now, there’s a new reason to avoid using your phone in the toilet as well: they’re called hemorrhoids. Sitting on the toilet for long periods, while reading through emails or playing Candy Crush, can cause blood vessels around the anus to swell. This could create painful lumps, that might become severe enough to require medical attention. Everything about this is gross – so make it a habit to use the toilet for “business” and nothing else.
2. On the kitchen table when there are food and drink
Another study by warranty provider SquareTrade (not conducted in Singapore) asserts that kitchens – not toilets – are the main places where smartphones get damaged. To be precise, a kitchen where the smartphone is placed on the table with food and drink.
The risk is most obvious when you’re preparing food: Powdery ingredients (like flour or salt) can get into the phone’s microphone or power jack. Even if you’re not cooking however, kitchen table surfaces tend to hold liquids, such as cups of coffee or cans of soda. When these are accidentally knocked over, they can seep into the phone and cause water damage.
If you must use your phone while cooking (e.g. you are using YouTube tutorials or interactive cookbooks), be sure to keep it in a watertight protective case.
Note that most smartphones are only water resistant, which is different from being water-proof (getting the phone wet can still damage it). Otherwise, it’s best to keep your phone off the table, when plenty of cups and drink cans are on it.
3. While driving, even if you use a hands-free kit
A recent survey by Samsung revealed that a shocking 83 percent of Singaporean drivers use their phones while operating the vehicle. This is often due to the belief that a hands-free kit makes it safe to drive while using the phone.
However, studies have shown that using a phone can increase accident risk by a fourfold (400 percent) factor in some situations. The statistics remain the same with or without the use of a hands-free kit. The simple fact is that, when you’re talking to someone, you’re paying less attention to the road.
This decreases your reaction time, so you’re more likely to get into an accident if the vehicle ahead brakes unexpectedly, or someone dashes across the road.
4. While walking (on the road or pavement)
In the study mentioned in point 1, another common location for smartphone damage is on the road or pavement. The main form of damage here is through dropping. The pavement or road is a hard surface, and it can crack your phone even if you use a protective case. This is because energy transfers through the case and onto the phone, upon impact.
For example, you may find that your phone screen cracks, even if the protective layer on top of it remains intact. On busy pavements, it’s not uncommon to be jostled or bumped into (in fact, it’s more likely to happen if you inconvenience everyone, by stopping in the middle of the pavement to check your phone).
This raises the odds of your phone flying out of your hand. Always find a corner to duck into, if you need to use your map, answer a text, etc. On roads, using your phone can cause accidents.
For example, if you’re not paying attention, you could find yourself crossing at a red light. Your response time will also be slower: don’t forget that a driver can accidentally miss the red light too, just when you’re crossing. You’ll want to be alert enough to spot it.
5. On public transport in certain countries
Note that, in many parts of Europe and in Japan, it’s considered rude to use your phone on the bus or train. If you must do so, it’s important to keep it down – quietly playing a game on your phone (with the volume off) is acceptable, but not loud conversations about your trip. In Japan, for instance, commuters are likely to be annoyed at any conversation other than “excuse me, I’ll call you back”.
There’s another reason besides etiquette, however. Not all countries are as safe as Singapore – by taking out your phone, you allow pickpockets and thieves to see where you keep it. Note that this can cause other property damage too – thieves have been known to cut backpacks with a razor, for example, to remove wallets and phones.
Protect your phone with a low-cost policy
Phone Protect360 pays out up to $1,000 for your phone’s repair cost. If the phone is damaged beyond repair, you’ll get a complete replacement. On top of that, Phone Protect360 sends a qualified repair team straight to your door – there’s no need to bring your phone down yourself.
Apply right now from Hong Leong Assurance Singapore, and you’ll get a 25 percent discount on premiums (limited time only).
By Ryan Ong
Disclaimer: All info contained herein is intended for your general information only and is not a substitute for insurance advice. If you have a specific question, please consult our insurance experts at 6702 0202.