They may appear unexpectedly. They’re stealthy; quiet. They’re out in force day and night. And we’re not talking about the Pokémon!
Since launching in New Zealand in early July, it seems almost everyone has jumped on the Pokémon Go craze. If you haven’t heard about it, Pokémon Go is the revival of an old 90’s game that’s been re-launched for the smartphone. It’s taken the world by storm, but this time around it’s not only kids who are enthralled; nowadays people of all generations are keen to get in on the catch ‘em all action.
The game involves GPS-tracked walking (or driving, we won’t judge – as long as you’re not the one in the driver’s seat), where people amble around at all hours of the day and night in hopes of coming across a Pokémon. As exciting as the game is, there are a few things to take into consideration when playing, or avoiding people who are playing, Pokémon Go.
If you’re playing Pokémon Go:
Take heed of the opening screen’s instructions – “Remember to be alert at all times. Stay aware of your surroundings.” In a survey carried out last year, 11% of people admitted they’d bumped into someone or something when texting or talking on the phone in the last six months, 10% admitted to unknowingly walking out in front of a car they hadn’t seen coming, and 3% had almost been hit for the same reason*.
Did you know: If you’re too busy looking at your phone and accidentally walk out in front of a brand new BMW, causing it to swerve into a power pole – you could be held accountable for the costs of the repairs to not only the car, even if the driver is insured, but to the power pole too. It’s standard practice for many insurers to send you the bill under “the right of subrogated recovery” – because you’re legally liable for that damage.
So how can you protect yourself from this happening? First of all, don’t walk out in front of cars – look up from your phone and look both ways before crossing the road. Secondly, if you have contents insurance part of this includes legal liability cover, which can cover you for situations like this **.
For many insurers, even the most basic contents policy provides up to $1million of personal liability cover and with AMI you can get a contents policy that provides this cover for no more than $26 a month***. So for just a little more than the cost of a cup of coffee per week we’ll not only cover your stuff but we’ll also cover you for any damage you may accidentally cause to someone else’s property, which is probably an easier financial sacrifice for you to swallow than a repair bill for tens of thousands of dollars.
Here are some tips on staying safe while trying to catch ‘em all:
- Don’t forget to look up from your screen every few seconds to watch where you’re walking, or more importantly use the vibrant function on your phone to alert you a character is approaching rather than staring at your screen. Be aware of your surroundings and who may be around
- If you’re walking at night, stay in well-lit areas and hunt with at least one or two other people
- Never Poké and drive – it’s both illegal and very dangerous to be using your phone while driving
- Take care not to run out of battery, or data for that matter, so you’ll still be able to make phone calls, navigate out of unknown territory or order an Uber
- Be vigilant – many police (like those in Rotorua) are now utilising Pokémon Go players as an extra pair of eyes and ears. Especially if you’re walking at night, if you see anything suspicious, report it immediately but do not get involved unless absolutely necessary.
- On the flipside, stay out of private residences and anywhere else not openly available to the public. You won’t find many Pokémon in the back of police cars!
- Take care when posting photos of your captures that identify you, your property or location.
- Download the official app only – there have been reports of fake apps that could compromise your information and security.
For those of you who spend your time avoiding Pokémon rather than playing – though you may find yourself having to be extra vigilant for those glued to their devices, or see roving hordes out in the dark of night – these trainers and team members are usually a harmless group. Think of them as silent ninjas that protect your neighbourhood in the night.
One thing’s for sure, Pokémon Go is encouraging people to get out, get active and be social. So whether you love it or hate it, play it yourself or know someone who does – remember safety first, yours and those around you. Happy hunting!
*Survey carried out by AMI’s parent company IAG New Zealand Limited in October 2015.
** Subject to the terms conditions of your policy. Please check your policy details carefully, or talk to your insurer.
***AMI Renters Insurance can provide up to $10,000 contents cover for no more than $26 a month for the first year.