Aussies heading overseas for the summer holidays are being urged to read the fine print of their travel insurance, as comparethemarket.com.au reveals the top five situations where holidaymakers are left without their belongings, and worse still, with no right to claim.
The popular comparison website – that features 29 travel insurance brands – sourced feedback from Fast Cover on the most common situations where Australian travellers have their belongings stolen and are unable to turn to their insurer for help.
Abigail Koch, spokesperson for comparethemarket.com.au said, “The crux of the issue is whether or not your possessions were considered ‘unattended’ when they were lost or stolen. ’Unattended’ means you have left your belongings unsupervised, creating an opportunity for thieves where you aren’t able to prevent them being stolen. If they are deemed to have been ‘unattended’, then the theft will not be covered by your travel insurance.”
Comparethemarket.com.au reveals the top 5 situations when Aussie holidaymakers are left without their belongings or insurance cover:
- The Beach – No one wants to miss out on a swim so you ‘hide’ your belongings under your towel and go for a quick dip. Unfortunately, not everyone at the beach is there for a good time, and thieves will use any opportunity to get their hands on your personal possessions. This isn’t just an issue abroad; there’s been a recent spate of car thefts on the Gold Coast, where would-be thieves are watching beach-goers head off into the surf, before rifling through their belongings and armed with their keys, taking off in their car.
- A Restaurant – You’ve hit the shops and have armfuls of bags when you head to a restaurant to refuel. Trying not to take up too much room, you place your bags down by the side of your chair and grab something to eat. When it’s time to leave, you grab your wallet, and completely forgetting about your shopping, march out of the restaurant onto your next destination. Unless some kindly waiter puts your bags behind the till, by the time you rush back to retrieve your belongings, some opportunist has made off with your purchases.
- Your Car – When you’re out and about exploring in your hire car, make sure you lock any valuables in the boot or in a locked storage compartment. Your travel insurance will likely provide cover for your belongings if they are locked away and someone forcibly enters your car during the day to steal your belongings. But if your wallet is sitting on the backseat or even in the glove compartment, your insurance will consider your wallet unattended. Never leave any belongings in your car overnight – even locked in the boot – as they will be deemed unattended and therefore not covered if there is a break-in.
- The Airport – Trusting souls assume that as they’ve been through airport security, everyone around them must be law-abiding citizens. Unfortunately this isn’t the case, as a common travel insurance claim comes from people who have had their possessions stolen when they “left them on their seat quickly while they popped to the toilet”. It doesn’t matter that there’s CCTV all over the place, airport thefts happen and as your belongings were unattended, they won’t be covered by your insurance policy.
- A Friendly Person – You’ve bonded with a friendly person you’ve met on your travels, perhaps swapping stories with them on the plane or train. It feels perfectly natural to ask them to guard your luggage while you go to the toilet. Only when you get back your new ‘friend’ as well as your belongings are nowhere to be seen. And to make things worse, your insurance won’t cover you, no matter how trustworthy the person seemed originally.
“If something of yours is stolen or is lost while you’re travelling, attempt to make a report of the theft or loss as soon as possible and contact your insurer,” said Mr Dean Van Es, the CEO of Fast Cover.
“In many cases going to the police is the best option. If your belongings are lost by an airline or hotel, or stolen on a flight or in your accommodation, make a report with them. Getting a written report will be vital for assessing your claim.
“As an extra precaution, you might consider taking photographs of your belongings before you leave. If you buy anything new while overseas, you can also keep receipts to identify the stolen items as yours.”