Making a Claim Through Nationwide’s Flex Plus Current Account Mobile Phone Insurance

Written by Karen Bryan

sonyexperiaWhen I decided to spend £240 on a Sony Xperia Z Ultra phablet (a mobile phone with a large screen), I thought it wise to take out mobile phone insurance.

The best option appeared to be to open a Nationwide Flex Plus Current Account, which for a £10 monthly fee offers various insurance policies including both lost and damaged mobile phones. However, as you earn 3% interest on balances up to £2,500, you can use the interest to offset some of the monthly fee. The gross interest earned if you keep £2,500 in the account is £6.25, which is £5 after deduction of basic rate income tax.

Around four months after purchasing the phablet, I managed to drop it in soapy water with the charging flap open, in a train toilet after a food spill. This happened on my way to London, which was very inconvenient, as it was painful using my old phone to check emails, upload photos etc during my stay in London.

I couldn’t start the insurance claim until I returned home, as I needed to download and print both a claim and a damage report form. Nationwide’s mobile phone insurance is administered by a company called Lifestyle Services Group based in Northumberland. I had to send the claims form to then and the phone to a workshop in Kent.

On the evening of my return from London, I printed and completed the forms and packaged the phone ready for posting. I was annoyed that I had to post the claim form, I didn’t see why that couldn’t have been sent by email.

It cost £7.15 to send the phone to the repair centre by Royal Mail Special Delivery. The insurance company recommended this method of delivery as it included insurance of up to £500. Now, in my opinion, the insurance company should insure the phone in transit, so that you don’t need to pay for Special Delivery. It cost £1.72 to post the claim form by first class Recorded Delivery.

That meant that by that stage my accident with the phone had already cost me £33.87, a £25 excess and £8.87 in postage. Never mind not having the use of the phone during my five days in London, the time spent filling out forms and going to the Post Office.

According to the Nationwide Flex Plus phone insurance webpage, the claim would be assessed with 2 working days and the phone repaired or replaced (which could be from re-manufactured stock, rather than brand new) within another three working days. As I posted the claim form and the mobile phone on a Thursday, I was hoping that it’d all be sorted by the following Friday.

When I logged on to follow the progress of my claim, it just said “claim in progress”. I’d have liked to see more details, e.g. had the claim been accepted, had the repair started on the phone.

By the Wednesday, I decided to phone up to ask what was happening. I was informed that the claim had been accepted and that the phone was in the workshop.

Later that afternoon, I received an email and a text message from DPD couriers telling me that my phone would be delivered by them the following day.

As soon as I unpacked the mobile phone, I thought it was a different phone. There were no superficial scratches on either the back or front of the phone. Before sending the phone in I’d taken out the sim tray. The phone which I received had a sim tray inside. When I checked the phone’s IMEI number (a unique reference number given to every mobile phone) this phone had a different IMEI.

It said in the letter “As part of the repair process it was necessary to exchange some parts of your phone. As a result, your phone will now have a different IMEI number.” I didn’t think that it was possible to legitimately change a phone’s IMEI.

What’s important to me is that I now have a working mobile. The repair has a 6 month warranty and Lifestyle Services Group have taken responsibility for managing the remaining 8 months of the 12 month original manufacturer’s warranty.

Overall, I was happy with the service provided by Nationwide’s Flex Plus Current Account mobile phone insurance. The matter was resolved within five working days. But the service could be improved by providing insurance for the phone when it’s being posted to the repair centre and more detail of the claim’s progression being available online.

The moral of the story is look after your phone, one moment of carelessness will give you lots of hassle and expense, even if you do have mobile phone insurance.