Brits jetting off on a foreign holiday pack around £1,000 worth of clothes, accessories, toiletries and valuables, including jewellery and electronic gadgets, according to new research by Gocompare.com Travel Insurance.
But, if their luggage is lost or stolen, many could find themselves hundreds of pounds out of pocket if they've checked-in their baggage without first checking-out their travel insurance.
The company asked more than 1,350 people who holiday abroad to estimate the collective value of the items they take with them. The survey revealed that while holidaymakers typically travel with £967 worth of possessions, many are packing far more: 29% estimate that they take more than £1,000 worth of possessions on holiday and 18% thought the contents of their luggage was worth more than £1,500.
The company is warning that if holidaymakers don't check their travel insurance small print, they could find themselves hundreds of pounds out of pocket if their bags are lost or stolen.
A comparison of more than 1,000 travel insurance policies found an enormous variation in the cover limits available.
As examples, in terms of baggage cover, the majority of travel insurance policies provide cover for luggage but the overall limit for the value of possessions varies hugely - ranging from £200 to £10,000. Typically the total cover limit for baggage is £1,500, but 7% of annual and 6% of single-trip polices don't provide any cover.
For baggage excess, depending on the policy you buy, the amount you will have to pay towards each claim for lost or stolen baggage is typically £50 or over - but can range from £25 to £250. Just under a quarter (24%) of annual and 27% of single-trip policies have an excess of £100 or more. And pay-outs for lost or stolen valuables - such as photographic equipment, electronic gadgets, computers, iPads, jewellery and watches - are limited to between £100 and £2,500 depending on the policy bought. The highest amount of cover under the policies reviewed was £2,500 for annual and £1,000 for single-trip policies, but most only provide £100 to £450 worth of cover.
The company's travel spokesperson, Caroline Lloyd, said: "While travel insurance primarily covers the cost of unexpected medical treatment and repatriation if you fall ill or are injured abroad, most policies also include cover for lost or stolen possessions. However, cover limits, excesses and exclusions for holiday baggage vary widely from policy to policy, so it's essential that you read the policy terms and conditions to find a policy with the level of cover you need - rather than just opting for the cheapest.
"When you're choosing which items to pack, bear in mind that most travel insurers don't pay-out baggage claims on a new for old basis. They make allowance for wear and tear and will only pay-out the amount the item was worth when it was lost or stolen. And most limit the amount that they will pay-out for a single item - typically in the range of £200 to £300. Cover for valuable or ‘high-risk' items, such as jewellery or small, high-value electronics - which are particularly attractive to thieves, is also restricted. You usually need cover for these items all year round - not just when you go abroad on holiday, so they are usually insured by home contents or other specialist insurance, not travel insurance. So if you're planning on taking valuables on holiday, it would be wise to check your existing insurances to make sure these items are covered away from home and top-up your insurance as necessary."