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travel insurance and unattended items- what's the catch?


Ahh long live holidays right? You’ve worked hard to get to this level of relaxation. You’re lying on the beach just soaking up the rays when you decide to take a dip in the ocean. You’re on your own and your iPhone is in your bag, but you’re only going in for a sec…no need to worry!
However, when you get back to your towel, you check your bag and your phone is nowhere to be seen. “Must be in there somewhere,” you think, still not too concerned. But after a mad ransack through your beach bag reality is starting to sink in; your phone’s been swiped!

B***er! Fudge! <Insert appropriate profanity here> You’re annoyed. Very annoyed! That’s totally understandable; having your phone stolen on holiday totally sucks.
And to make matters worse, you thought your phone would be covered by your travel insurance policy; which, thank goodness, you bought before taking off. However, in this case we’re afraid you wouldn’t be covered…

the lowdown on lost luggage

“Whyyy?” we hear you moan. After all, the potential theft of your belongings was just one of the reasons you bought travel insurance in the first place. However, leaving your items exposed or unprotected (so that they could easily be taken without your knowledge) is a commonly misunderstood clause of travel insurance.

A quick dip in the sea when your phone stays on the beach, unattended and unsupervised, is a perfect example of a case where your claim may be refused.

TINZ covers you for theft, damage and loss of your luggage and personal items when you’re on holiday, but only when you’re acting responsibly with your items close by or secured away.
Your safest bet would be to leave your phone secured in your locked hotel room, in lockers by the beach, or under the watchful eye of a close friend. In all these instances you would be covered for theft of your phone.

when are you covered for loss, damage or theft?

We’ve put together some handy examples so you can understand the limits of your cover, and more importantly, reduce the risk of your much loved belongings going astray.

When are you are covered:

Pick pocketing: You’re on a crowded bus in Mexico when your purse is pinched from your back pocket. TINZ will cover you for the theft of your cash (provided it was on your person at the time it was stolen) and the cost to replace your cards and wallet. (Depreciation may apply.)

Safe and sound: You’ve secured your passport and valuables in your hotel room safe. When you arrive back from your day trip you discover your room has been broken into, the safe vandalized and your belongings gone. Your policy would cover you for any financial losses you incur to replace these items.

Water woes: It happens to the best of us, you’re going to the loo when your phone slips out of your back pocket and into the toilet bowl. EEK! Whether you decide it’s worth salvaging your phone or not, have peace of mind that your policy will compensate you to repair or replace your wet and wounded phone to the same standard of model that you damaged. (Depreciation may apply).

Bag burglar: You’re sipping cocktails by the pool when a passer-by snatches your bag from under your sun lounger. So long as you’ve made a report to the police and resort staff ASAP, you’re covered for the costs to replace all items that were stolen.

Car crime: You’ve left your binoculars in the boot of your car while you’re out at the water park. When you come back some hours later you see that your car has been broken into. As long as your items were locked away in the boot or locked glove compartment you’d be compensated for some of your losses. Take note that often you are only insured during daylight hours.

Luggage delay: You’ve arrived at Thailand, but your luggage has not… and doesn’t look to arrive any time soon. Boo hiss! At least your travel insurance will pay you for any clothes and expenses you purchase before your bags arrive. Limits apply, so leave those Prada boots at home!

When you’re not covered:

So what does leaving items “unsupervised” or “unattended” really mean? Here’s a few examples when you are unlikely to be insured, so try to avoid them if you can!

Luggage left with the hotel concierge: You’re covered when you are a guest in the hotel, but as soon as you’ve checked out, you wouldn’t be covered for items left in the luggage store room that missing.

Items left behind: You’d be forgiven for forgetting items on a plane after a long haul flight, but know that any belongings left behind post disembarkation are unlikely to be insured. The same goes for jackets and bags left behind in cloak rooms and under tables, or phones left in the back of taxis.

Luggage conveyor belts: Still sleepy after your flight, and forgot to pick up some of your luggage off the conveyor belt? Any belongings you leave behind at the airport, train or bus station, would not be insured and you would not have provision to claim for them.

Items out of your sight: Fancy a dip in the ocean and opted to leave your valuables out on the sand? Left your phone unattended on a sun lounger? Popped your camera on the restaurant table while you went to the toilet? If your possessions are stolen in any one of these scenarios you would be out of pocket. Any items not in your sight that could be taken without your knowledge are not protected by TINZ.

Belongings lost from the hold: Lost or stolen items that were checked into the hold of ‘any transport carrier’ (such as a plane, bus or train) are not covered, as it is the transport carriers’ responsibility to ensure your belongings are delivered safely to you.

Bags left with a stranger: If you leave your items in a stranger’s trust, or someone you’ve just met, (even someone not named on your certificate of insurance), you may not have provision to claim should those items walkies.

Items left on display in a car: You are not insured for items left in the back of a car that are visible to passers-by. Your belongings must be locked in the boot or locked glove compartment for your cover to kick-in.

Items lost or stolen when you are intoxicated: Travel insurance only covers you when you are acting responsibly. If you were very intoxicated when you lost an item you are unlikely to be covered for that loss.

So there you have it! The rules surrounding unattended items can be a bit of a minefield to get your head around. But if you keep your items safely secured or within eye shot you can greatly minimise your risk of loss and theft.

Common sense prevails when it comes to cover for your belongings on holiday. Don’t treat locked compartments as suggestions, make use of them as it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If your hotel room has a safe- store your valuables in it. Similarly, if your car has a locked glove compartment– use it. And when disembarking from any form of transport get everyone to double check they have their belongings on hand – this applies to car journeys, plane rides or bus trips!

But hey, don’t be so hard on yourself if you discover your things have gone missing. From time to time holidays don’t to plan and that’s what travel insurance is for. Baggage does missing, phones do get smashed, cameras are swiped. However, if such misfortune does land upon you, be sure to report the incident to your insurer and to the police ASAP. Get evidence such as proof of purchase, or photographs of your belongings to make your claim as smoothly as possible.


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