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Unattended items and travel insurance

Just picture it, you’re enjoying your frozen daiquiri at the hotel swim up bar, when you decide it’s definitely time for a holiday selfie. After all your summer vacay wouldn’t be complete without proof to make everyone back home totes jealous. You swim over to your lounger where you left your phone and dun dun dun, it isn’t there!

So you’re annoyed. Very annoyed! That’s understandable; having your phone stolen on holidays totally sucks. To make matters worse, you thought your phone would be covered by travel insurance but alas- not this time! Double bummer!

Leaving your items in a position where you couldn’t prevent them being taken is a common, yet misunderstood clause of travel insurance.

A quick dip in the pool whilst your phone rests on a lounger in a public and non-secure location would fall under this clause. Your safest bet would have been to leave your phone secure in your locked hotel room or in a locker.

Similarly, you wouldn’t be covered if you forgot something and left it behind or if an item could be taken without your knowledge.

Luggage and personal belonging cover

Travel insurance covers for theft, damage and loss of luggage and personal items when you’re on holiday, but only when you’re acting responsibly.

We’re not trying to be the fun police…after all holidays should be all about relaxation and letting go; not tense vigilance and constant scanning for thieves! At the end of the day it’s all about a reasonable level common sense. It can also help to be armed with some cover facts before you go.  

So unattended items and travel insurance…what’s the catch?

Keep reading for some examples of when you’re covered (and when you’re not), tips to prevent lost and stolen items, and how to ensure happy holiday claims!

When you’re covered

  • You’re on the subway in NYC when your wallet is pinched from your jeans pocket. Your policy will cover you for the theft of cash and the cost to replace your cards and wallet. (Depreciation may apply.)

  • You’ve locked your passport and camera in your hotel room safe for the day. When you return you realise the safe has been broken into and your belongings are nowhere to be seen. Your travel insurance policy will cover you for any financial losses you incur to replace these items.

  • While trying to take the perfect shot of that gorgeous sunset, you accidently drop your smart phone into a puddle of water. Doh! Lucky for you the photos are not lost as your SD card was salvageable, plus your policy will compensate you to repair or replace to the same standard of model that you damaged. (Depreciation may apply.)

  • You’re having dinner al fresco at a swanky seaside restaurant when a passer-by snatches your bag from under your table. So long as you’ve made a report the theft to the police and restaurant ASAP, you’re covered for the cost to replace all items that were stolen.

  • You’ve left your day bag locked in the boot of your hire car whilst taking a short walk to a mountain lookout. You return to find the car has been broken into. Provided your bag was locked away, travel insurance will cover the cost to replace all your stolen items.

  • You’ve just arrived at Bali, but your luggage has not and won’t arrive for another 48 hours. Urgh! Don’t worry, your policy will reimburse you for any clothes you need to buy in the meantime (limits will apply, so perhaps best to skip Gucci and Prada!)

When you’re not

So what does leaving items unsupervised or unattended really mean? Here’s a few examples. You’re unlikely to be covered for items that are;

  • Left in a hotel room, or with the concierge after you have checkout.
  • Forgotten and are left on board an aircraft post disembarkation.
  • Not picked up from the airport conveyor belt once you’ve landed.
  • Left on the beach while you go swimming.
  • Lost or stolen items that were checked into the hold on ‘any transport carrier’ such as a plane, bus or train. This includes items left in the back of a taxi, including Uber taxi's.
  • Given to someone to look after who you didn’t know, or to anyone not named on your certificate of insurance or anyone who is not a travelling companion or relative.
  • In a car unless they are stored in a locked compartment and forced entry.
  • Left behind in a restaurant, whether they are on or under the table, or in a cloak room.
  • Lost while they were being sent unaccompanied by freight- it’s the airlines responsibility to get your belongings back to you.
  • Lost or stolen while you are intoxicated.

How to prevent a pocket-picking

You’ve switched off from the 9-5, and holiday mode has well and truly set in. That being said, you should remain alert to avoid any nasty surprises mid holiday. Follow our tips for trouble free travels:

- Use common sense: Don’t treat locked compartments as suggestions, rather, make use of them as it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If your hotel room has a safe, or your car has a locked glove compartment– use them! The same goes for those beach or swimming pool lockers. If there are obvious ways to keep your stuff safe, do so.

Be alert: Tourists can be easy-targets. Try not to wander into any dangerous areas that are prone to pick pockets and bag snatchers. Do you research and speak to local experts before you head out somewhere new. If they wouldn’t wander around with expensive jewellery or wads of cash then neither should you.

Only take what you really need to: Do you really need to take the whole kit and caboodle out with you? Consider the contents of your day pack and what you can reasonably do without. Not only will light packing be kinder on your shoulders, you’ll spend less time worrying about the valuables you could lose. Only take the essentials.

Use sensible bags: You’ve probably got your holiday wardrobe down to a T, but safe travelling isn’t about making a fashion statement!  Ditch that dainty, designer purse and opt for secure backpacks or cross-body bags with multiple compartments. Remember, the closer to your body, and the less visible to others, the better.

Double and triple check: It’s easy to forget items after a 14 hour night flight when your senses are less than razor sharp. Make sure you and all your travelling companions do a sweep check before you disembark any form of transport (or restaurant, bar etc.)

Lost or stolen items claim tips

From time to time holidays don’t go to plan. Baggage goes missing, phones get smashed, cameras are stolen, all of which mean it’s time to claim on your travel insurance policy. Here's some tips to make sure your claim runs smoothly.

Report the incident quick smart: You must report your loss, theft or misplacement to police within 24 hours (or as soon as possible). Same goes to the service provider where the loss or theft occurred (for example, if you were travelling by bus when you misplaced your camera, the bus operator must be notified. They should also provide you with a letter of confirmation).

Get evidence: Proof of purchase must be provided to your insurer too, this can be in the form of receipts, bank statements or pictures.

Know who to call: Keep your insurers emergency helpline number and your policy number on you at all times.

Be honest: It’s important to mention that $1,000 SLR camera or those $2,000 golf clubs you’re planning to take away with you when purchasing your travel insurance. By not doing so and later trying to claim on these missing items, you may find yourself upset and out of pocket. Be truthful when you buy your policy about any high value items you are taking away on holidays.

Find out where you’re due compensation:  You might not be entitled reimbursement from your travel insurer if you’re due compensation from your transport or accommodation provider. However, if they do not reimburse you the full amount owed, your travel insurance may pay the difference. Check with your specific insurer on this one as policies may differ.

All the rules surrounding unattended items can be a bit of a minefield to get your head around. But if you keep your items either safely secured or within your sight and reach at all times you can greatly minimise your risk of loss and theft.

As well, a solid understanding of what is covered and what is not, paying particular attention to the exclusions detailed in this guide will set you on the path of successful claims.

If in doubt, we’ll sort you out! Contact our helpful staff and we’re happy to help with any of those tricky to understand questions.

Doh! Where'd my bag go!?
unattended items

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