By Dale Western on 03 June 2013

For many of us, the need to stay connected, even on our holidays, has become increasingly important. The latest technology allows us to be in contact constantly, and many people already wonder how they ever managed in the dark ages before the tablet and the omnipresent smartphone.

Of course, all of this technology comes at a price, and even if you leave the laptop at home and just travel with your tablet and smartphone, you are likely to be packing up to £1,000 worth of technology into your travel bags.

Travelling can be a high-risk activity when it comes to your personal belongings, and when adding some expensive items to your luggage, your risk of being out of pocket should they be damaged, lost or stolen increases exponentially.

One of the main problems with travelling is that there is so much to think about while heaving your luggage around. Are you on the right platform? Where is the check-in desk? What gate is your flight leaving from? Have you got your passport? We can all empathise with that slightly 'out of control' feeling that busy travel terminals of any description can bring on. All of this means that we are not as focused as we should be on our possessions, and therefore become easier pickings for unscrupulous individuals.

Risk of theft

Looking at mobile phone theft alone, the BBC recently reported Metropolitan Police statistics showing that between April and September last year, 56,680 mobiles were reported stolen in London and of these, 28,800 were expensive iPhones. So if your new iPhone 5 were stolen en route to the airport, you would be looking at a loss of at least £350 for this one gadget alone.

Risk of Loss

Of course mobile phones are not just stolen, they are easy to misplace too. If you are focused on travelling from A to B, the chances are that you are at increased risk of misplacing your smartphone. In a recent study from the USA, it was reported that people lose their mobile phone at least once a year and some as many as three times. Of course, if you lose something on holiday, there’s no chance of it popping up several weeks later either!

Risk of Damage

Airports are very busy places. Planes arrive, passengers disembark, and before they are even through the terminal building, the plane has been refuelled and is ready to take off again. In the meantime, baggage handlers are working furiously to get luggage out of the plane and onto the luggage carousel in the shortest time possible. This frenetic activity is not conducive to gentle handling of luggage and many people would get a shock if they had a peek behind the scenes at a busy airport baggage handling operation. For that reason, all valuables should always be carried in hand luggage and kept near you at all times – it seems common sense but, if not, your travel insurer will turn your claim down and you’ll face a monster replacement cost.

Unfortunately, our expensive gadgets and communication devices are not the most robust of objects. They inevitably have glass screens that can and do get broken. You may be surprised to know that the quote from Apple for replacing a broken iPad screen is currently £249, and for an iPhone £169. What normally happens is that the complete device is replaced rather than a screen repair, but whatever the outcome, screen damage can get very expensive.

So, having established that our expensive gadgets are exposed to increased risk when travelling, should we really contemplate leaving them at home? No of course we shouldn’t! But what we should do is make sure that we take care of them and check that they are covered by insurance if the unthinkable were to happen.

In most cases, either your home insurance or your travel insurance will provide the level of cover you need to replace most gadgets. What you need to establish is whether your home policy provides adequate cover for items taken on holiday, what excesses are applied and what the cost will be.  Adding cover for a specific gadget when away from the home to your home insurance is not as expensive as you might think.

As for travel insurance, there is unlikely to be sufficient cover for your valuables if you’ve taken them all with you as the majority limit cover to no more than £300, often with an excess of at least £50. For those that do need cover for more than this amount, you can sometimes take out additional gadget insurance, such as that offered by Columbus Direct, to give you extra cover for the time you’re away. Often with a limit of £1000 and for less than £10 for 2 weeks, this is a cost-effective solution if you don’t have other cover in place and lets you surf, stream and sunbathe this summer.

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