"Let me ring you back. You've actually, don't laugh, caught me when I'm just, er, in the loo, no, no, I'm just washing my hands." You end the call, but your hands are wet and you know how slippery smartphones are. So down it goes, plonking into the wash hand basin (or worse, some other bathroom receptacle).
If this feeling, your spirits sinking as the phone does, is familiar, you're not alone. Dropping your phone into water is a very common thing. Very few phones are waterproof and some manufacturers even have indicators inside which change colour on contact with liquid, thus invalidating the warranty, no matter how much you protest.
Of course, you needn't be in the bathroom for calamity to strike. Knock that cup of tea, glass of wine or can of beer over and you may be worrying about more than just carpet stains. Act quickly and if you're lucky your phone may have escaped liquid damage – this time. Less likely to end well is the wash cycle where your phone has found its way into the washing machine. This is one of the most common, not to mention most embarrassing, ways to ruin your gadgets. One recent survey put this about as common as dropping it in water.
More than just phones that get broken
It's not just phones that are susceptible to water, of course. Although most fitness bands and smart watches are splashproof, plenty specify that they shouldn't be used for swimming, though this doesn't stop everybody.
Some surveys suggest that more than half of the damage we do to our gadgets happens at home. With mobile phones, much of the problem lies with the fact that they are mostly screen, usually flush with the front glass for extra svelte slickness. Which looks great, of course, but means it's more susceptible to damage if dropped. A case will help, usually, but if it's the garage floor that you've rather rapidly introduced your phone to, it may not.
Or if you plonk yourself down in the car a little too heavily, that crunching sound may remind you quite suddenly that your phone or MP3 player is in your back pocket.
You might be surprised just how many use the roof of the car as a shelf while fumbling for car keys, say. You might not be surprised how many forget they've put their smartphone, camera, tablet or wallet there as they drive off. Only the wallet is likely to bounce.
And the world is full of hazards – plenty of people have broken their phone because it's fallen out of a bag or pocket (a survey shows this is a particularly prevalent thing to happen in Australia, apparently).
We haven't even touched on one of the biggest reasons people find themselves without their gadgets – they leave them behind in a taxi, a pub or a restaurant. And whether they then get stolen or simply kicked across the floor of a cab by the next, unsuspecting traveller, the result is the same: you're one gadget down.
Action and adventure
Even more rugged gadgets, like action cameras, say, still need to be treated with a degree of care, even if that's just making sure the helmet mount is secure before cycling down that challenging hill.
Headphones are no stranger to damage with long cables being easy to catch on your arm, leg, whatever. Plus, if there's a mobile phone on the other end of the cans, a misstep can lead to both gadgets suffering.
Insuring your tech, from laptops to cameras to iPads to GoPros, can be a good way to give yourself peace of mind, however clumsy or forgetful you are, or however slippery, fragile or water-unfriendly your gadgets are.
This content is brought to you in association with Gadget Cover, Pocket-lint’s favoured UK partner. Visit Gadget-Cover.com and receive a quote for your mobile phone and gadget insurance in under 10 seconds.