I have had no luck backing up my phone's contacts to iCloud. Only a few contacts seem to get there. I read somewhere that it has something to do with groups and it may be something to do with the fact that our two phones were on the same Apple ID at one time. So instead, each phone syncs to a gmail account.
Oh yes hard-drive crashes are very very common. I had my playstation hard-drive got crashed and believe it or not local ony tech support people couldnt get it fixed too. How pathetic... But we just googled how to fix a crashed hard drive of PS3, bought one from the market and fixed it ourselves.
I had aother extrenal storage drive that too got crashed when I moved between countries. But hard luck no data could be got back. YOu cannot have back ups of backups and back ups. There has to be an end to backup and may there is some storage that doesnt crash :-)