As embarrassing as smashing your TV while playing a game in VR might be, you can take solace in the fact that you are, according to British insurance company Aviva, very much not alone.
Aviva told The Guardian that they saw a 31 percent increase in VR-related claims in 2021, and a 68 percent increase since 2016. Kelly Whittington, property claims director at Aviva, tells The Guardian that they often see this with new games and gadgets that lead to customer claims.
“In the past we’ve seen similar trends involving consoles with handsets, fitness games and even the likes of rogue fidget spinners,” Whittington says. But unlike the fad that was fidget spinners, VR is probably going to stick around for much longer, considering every company’s desire to get into the metaverse.
That’s a lot of damage — According to Aviva, most of their customers’ claims related to virtual reality had to do with broken TVs. Aviva tells The Guardian that the average claim for virtual reality damage in 2021 was around £650, or roughly $879. Aviva even provided several examples of these claims, including where a customer threw a controller at the TV after being scared by a zombie in-game and where a child destroyed two designer figurines on a mantelpiece after doing a swipe move.
Not surprisingly, Aviva recommended that its customers add accidental damage cover to their home insurance plans. But instead of reactive measures, you should also be taking preventative steps when first getting into VR. There’s no shortage of videos online where someone inevitably breaks something in their home while trying VR for the first time. And it almost always looks like they just slapped on their VR headset without any sort of preparation.
I totally get it, we all want to play with our new toy as soon as possible, but taking some precautions may save you from having to go through the headache of filing an insurance claim. Not to mention, your TV. It’s generally good practice to clear out a designated play area that’s free of fragile things, even before you put on the VR headset. Then, you should really add an additional layer of virtual protection that will alert you if you go beyond that play space, like setting up the Oculus Guardian.
More metaverse, more problems — It makes sense that we’re seeing more insurance claims related to VR since it’s still a relatively new technology that’s bound to have some growing pains. But VR has definitely been picking up momentum, with reports of Meta selling 10 million units of its Quest 2 headset and Steam seeing 1.7 million first time users for SteamVR in 2020. The general safety around VR headsets will probably improve as it continues to get more popular, but I don’t doubt we’ll keep seeing more people break stuff as they desperately try to maintain that Beat Saber combo. Well, at least the insurance companies aren’t complaining.