I’ve read, more than once, that there are more Louis Vuitton bags lost abroad than there are sold in the UK. Either those Louis Vuitton fans are a scatty bunch, or someone’s being creative with their travel insurance claims. But losing your handbag, luggage or laptop abroad can be a traumatising business.
If you are anything like me, half of your life may be carried around in your bag: keys, iPad, phone (complete with irreplaceable photos), notebooks and, of course, money and credit cards. And if my laptop went, well, that would be a royal pain for both me and my clients.
If you travel regularly for business, the chances of something being lost or mislaid do increase. Apart from chaining your bag, luggage and laptop to your wrist, what can you do, travel insurance wise, to ensure that you are covered if the worst does happen?
Check what your ordinary travel insurance policy covers
You may think that your ordinary travel insurance will be fine, and it should cover your handbag. But many straightforward travel insurance policies won’t cover equipment such as your laptop, iPhone, Kindle, company credit card or even cash. A dedicated business insurance should give you more cover, especially for these type of items.
If you are only travelling with hand luggage, Essential Travel do a hand luggage only policy that is cheaper than standard insurance.
Tips on Buying Good Business Travel insurance
Don’t just buy on price alone, as many of the cheapest policies not only have large excesses but also many exclusions. If you come to claiming on your policy, you may actually find that it is useless as your excess may be almost as large as your claim, or the items you want to claim for may be excluded.
It’s old fashioned common sense, but do read the small print.
You may be able to save a little by buying joint or family travel insurance to cover both you and your partner or family. You don’t all have to travel together to make use of it.
What can I do to keep within the requirements of my insurance?
Never leave your luggage or business equipment unattended and make use of the hotel safe. If the worst happens you must get a Police report as you will need to submit this when you claim.
You should also try to keep receipts for everything from your laptop to the contents of your handbag and luggage. Even your makeup bag and its contents could well add up to a substantial amount if you have a bit of a Dior thing going on.
What can I do to minimise the risk of loss or theft?
- Use suitcase locks on your luggage, and implement the combination codes to create another barrier for thieves
- Keep all valuables and documents with you at all time, or use the hotel safe while you are there
- Ideally choose a handbag that hangs across your shoulder, not on it, as it is much less of a target for thieves
- Many policies won’t cover you for large amounts of cash so it’s worth both checking the small print for how much to carry at any time, and withdrawing money as you need it, and perhaps putting as much as possible on your credit card
- Photocopy essential documents and keep another copy handy
- Copy your photos to Dropbox or Picassa so that they, at least, won’t be lost
- Be most vigilant on long business trips when you are tired and more likely to misplace a laptop bag or handbag.
Paula Gardner is Press Officer at www.essentialtravel.co.uk, one of the UK’s leading online travel insurance providers, also offering priority access to the most sought after car parks, hotels and lounges at all major airports across the UK. Paula’s worst travel loss was a camera which contained every photo of her four week trip through Indonesia.