Holidaymakers fall victim to theft before even boarding the plane

06 Jun 2018 With over 23.8 million Brits jetting off on holiday this summer, Policy Expert warns holidaymakers to be vigilant, even at the airport, as more than one in ten (11%) say they have fallen victim to theft before even boarding the plane, or know someone who has.

The study of over 4,700 people showed that almost half (46%) will be going away this summer and this number may rise, as 13% are still undecided. For some, this holiday will be one of many this year, as almost a third (32%) of Brits have at least two holidays, while one in seven (14%) have three and a lucky 9% jet off more than three times. 36% have one holiday a year.

While travellers will no doubt be excited prior to their getaways, Policy Expert is warning holidaymakers to be cautious of pickpockets, particularly at the airport. The study found that more than one in ten (11%) have or know someone who has fallen victim to theft before even boarding the plane. Money/currency is the most common stolen item, followed by mobile phones, sunglasses, purses/wallets and cameras. One in 20 (5%) also say they have actually found a lost item themselves and handed it in before taking off.

The most common items stolen at airports:

  1. Money/currency
  2. Phone
  3. Sunglasses
  4. Purse/wallet
  5. Camera
  6. Hand luggage bag
  7. Jewellery
  8. Passport/travel documents
  9. Tablet/iPad
  10. Laptop

When it comes to going away, the average traveller takes luggage worth almost £400. A third (31%) state they pack valuables worth between £201-£500, while a fifth (20%) pack items worth up between £501-£1,000 and 6% carry items valued between £1,001-£2,000.

The study also found that Brits aren’t always protected when going abroad, particularly as more than one in ten (11%) admit they don’t take out travel insurance, while a quarter (25%) of Brits don’t have away from home cover included in their home insurance policy and more than a third (37%) aren’t sure. For those falling victim to theft at the airport, many can potentially claim on their home insurance policy if they have away from home cover, however almost half (45%) are unaware of this.

Adam Powell, Operations Director at Policy Expert, commented: “For many holidaymakers, going away begins at the airport. The issue is that airports are busy and with the holiday excitement taking off, it’s easy to get distracted. But unfortunately, thieves are on the lookout for victims. So keep an eye on your luggage, currency and any items purchased at the airport and be vigilant around others. Also check whether your home insurance policy includes away from home cover – this will reimburse you should a personal possession be lost or stolen while out of the house at the airport. The last thing you want is for thieves to spoil your holiday before you’re even up in the air.”

Top tips for protecting your valuables at the airport this summer

  1. Consolidate your items before going through security. While you’ll need to remove some electronics such as tablets and laptops from your bag, you can keep your purse, money/currency, jewellery and your travel documents in your bag or jacket – as long as you put them in the bins provided. This will help to prevent any items being snatched or left behind.
  2. While you may feel pressured, don’t put your items through the x-ray machine before you’re ready to walk through the security scanner. Every moment you leave your items unattended is another moment that thieves have to steal your valuables.
  3. Be cautious of leaving small valuable items unattended, such as a phone or purse. Valuables left on table-tops at airport lounges, restaurants and coffee shops will be both easy and tempting to snatch and leave behind.
  4. You should never leave your bags unattended, particularly at the airport, so whatever you do, keep your bag where you can see it. Whether you’re having a pre-drink before take-off, grabbing some food or sitting at the gate, if you can, place your chair leg through a bag handle to make it harder to move.
  5. If you’re using a cash machine or purchasing currency, be wary of who is around you and make sure your pin is covered at all times.
  6. Thieves often work in groups, so try not be distracted by commotion or attention which could be a ploy.
  7. If you do notice a missing item, report it immediately. Theft at the airport is not uncommon and reporting it means that airport security can potentially catch the thief and recover your personal items.
  8. Check whether your home insurance policy includes away from home cover, so that if the worst does happen, you at least know you’re covered financially.
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