Rising popularity of VR headsets sparks 31% rise in insurance claims

Metaverse gamers crashing into furniture behind increase in home contents claims, says insurer Aviva

A man landing an upper-cut on the ceiling fan, a woman slamming into furniture, a guy smashing through a lighting fixture: gamers are learning, virtual reality headsets can often cause havoc at home.

The trend of crashing into furniture while in the metaverse provoked a 31% jump in home contents claims involving VR headsets last year, insurer Aviva said, marking a 68% overall increase since 2016.

“As new games and gadgets become popular, we often see this playing through in the claims made by our customers,” said Kelly Whittington, Aviva’s UK property claims director. “In the past we’ve seen similar trends involving consoles with handsets, fitness games and even the likes of rogue fidget spinners.”

Aviva said the average VR-related claim for accidental damage in 2021 was about £650, often from broken TVs smashed by overenthusiastic gamers.

Claims to Aviva involving virtual reality headsets can get wacky. One customer launched a controller at his TV when a zombie jumped out during the game. Multiple people reported cracking TV screens. One child smashed two designer figurines – perched on the mantelpiece – when his game demanded a “swipe” move.

All three claims were accepted and settled, an Aviva spokesperson told the Guardian.

“These devices can be a great source of fun, but we’d encourage people to be mindful of their surroundings and take a look at their home insurance to make sure it suits their needs,” Whittington added, urging people to add accidental damage cover to their home insurance plan.

Aviva said that, with many people in the UK receiving VR headsets over Christmas, claims in 2022 are already coming in and the company expects more.

The Reddit forum “VR to ER” features of videos of people using VR headsets falling over, bumping into furniture or accidentally punching loved ones.

While those with damaged homes may not see the funny side, commenters are finding humour in the trend. Commenting on the upper-cut video, one person said: “Looks like the guy knocked its lights out.”

Another person, writing under a video of a woman body-slamming furniture, commented: “Never heard a house scream like that before.”


Jem Bartholomew

The GuardianTramp

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