VR accidents, insurance claims on the rise as gamers embrace the metaverse

A woman wearing a VR headset lying on the furniture
Televisions, knees and necks have all been broken by headset wearers. Photo credit: Getty Images

A UK insurance company has revealed there's been a big increase in the number of insurance claims related to people wearing virtual reality (VR) headsets.

That includes someone smashing a light, another accidentally punching a ceiling fan and a woman slamming into her furniture, The Guardian reported.

Aviva UK said there had been a 31 percent increase in home content claims in 2021, with an overall increase of 68 percent since 2016.

The average claim related to VR headsets was £650 (NZ$1330), the company revealed, with broken televisions being one of the prime drivers.

"As new games and gadgets become popular, we often see this playing through in the claims made," Aviva’s UK property claims director Kelly Whittington told The Guardian.

"In the past we’ve seen similar trends involving consoles with handsets, fitness games and even the likes of rogue fidget spinners."

One claim included a customer who accidentally threw his controller at the television after being surprised by a zombie in the game. Aviva settled with the fighter of the virtual undead.

“These devices can be a great source of fun, but we’d encourage people to be mindful of their surroundings," Whittington said.

Subreddit VR to ER contains videos and images of similar accidents from around the world.

Recent posts include one woman who accidentally punched her son while wearing Meta's Oculus VR headset and controllers and another who tore off a nail after hitting the back of their couch.

A number of people have also managed to cut various body parts open while engaging in virtual worlds.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month on the rise of metaverse related injuries, including dislocated shoulders and injured girlfriends.

One 14-year-old fractured his kneecap after playing Superhot VR and losing his balance, the newspaper reported.

"We set it up around 2pm," the teenager's mother told the Journal "and by 8pm we were on our way to the ER."

She said she fainted when she saw her son's leg.

Just a few days earlier, it was reported a German gamer fractured the C7 vertebrae in his neck after intense, repetitive movements.

The man went to the hospital with piercing pains in his shoulders, with experts from the University of Leipzig Hospital saying it was the world's first VR-related stress-fracture.