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NEW YORK, July 13, 2016 — Pokémon Go, a mobile app that allows users to hunt virtually for Pokémon in the real great outdoors, has taken the world by storm, amassing more users than Twitter in just a few days. However, like most cultural phenomena, Pokémon Go has also spawned unintended consequences, such as injuries and property damage resulting from distracted users—fortunately, most of these are covered by insurance, according to the Insurance information Institute (I.I.I.).
Even if you don’t know what Pokémon Go is, you’ve probably already seen it in action as there are few places immune from hordes of players scouring the neighborhood, smartphones in hand, hoping to “Catch ‘Em All.” Better still, these players are stepping outside for fresh air, exercise and to experience their world in new ways (or maybe not). Unfortunately some of them are also walking, biking, or skating into signposts, sewer grates and even each other—not to mention even more serious issues.
“We think it’s great that people are getting outside and enjoying Pokémon Go,” said Loretta Worters, vice president with the I.I.I. “But it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and be sure you’re adequately protected against risk.”
So, even if you fall hard chasing a Charizard, know that you’re covered if you have the right types of insurance, including:
While you’re out and about pursuing those elusive pocket monsters, rest assured that your possessions are covered if thieves break into your home. And, if someone runs off with your mobile phone, you’re in luck if you have cellphone insurance—though it might not reimburse for your lost Pokémon!
Also, if you accidentally trample somebody’s flowerbed while hot on the trail of a Bellossome (or a fellow player is injured in your home and decides to sue), most homeowners and renters policies have coverage for damage you cause to other peoples’ property and possessions as well as liability for mishaps on your property. Lastly, your Pokédex may be in good order, but you might also want to consider creating an inventory of your real possessions, which can make filing a claim easier in the event of an insurable loss.
Hit while running down a Rotom? Depending on who’s at fault (and local statutes), you may be able to file a claim against the driver's auto liability insurance policy. Almost all states require that vehicle owners and drivers carry liability insurance to cover personal injuries to third parties. Or your own uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage may pick up the tab if not.
Sure, the game’s called Pokémon Go but it’s really your data that’s in play. If thieves make off with your information, many insurers will cover identity theft, either as part of a homeowners or renters policy or as a stand-alone policy. Identity theft insurance reimburses victims for the cost of restoring their identity and repairing credit reports and related expenses.
Video: The I’s On Insurance
THE I.I.I. IS A NONPROFIT, COMMUNICATIONS ORGANIZATION SUPPORTED BY THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY.
Insurance Information Institute, 110 William Street, New York, NY 10038; (212) 346-5500; www.iii.org