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Going without travel insurance

Open and shut case: what's not in your holiday bags

  • Almost £1,400 – average value of a holiday suitcase
  • Jewellery least likely to be taken on holiday, followed by cameras and books

Bling and books are left at home

New research among over 16,000 holidaymakers reveals that the value of the average person's holiday baggage is almost £1,400 – with a typical man's baggage worth £244 more at £1,548, than women at £1,304.

But if a customs official were to open the cases they would find that a lot people leave valuables at home. However, women are more likely to take jewellery (75%) than men (54%), according to the AA-Populus study.1

Cameras – once a holiday essential – are second most likely to be left behind, perhaps given the quality of smartphone photography. A quarter of men (25%) and more than a third of women (37%) leave them behind.

Young travellers (18–24) are least likely to take a camera, with less than half (47%) doing so. Those aged 65 and over are most likely to hang on to their camera (81%). The average value of a camera taken on holiday is £271, a fifth (20%) taking a camera worth over £500.

Young travellers are least likely to want to sink into a good book while away, over half (55%) saying they wouldn't bother with one. Overall a quarter (25%) don't bother taking a book; men are less likely to do so (26%), compared with 2 out of 10 women (22%).

And a fifth (21%; 20% of men, 23% of women) wouldn't take electronic devices (other than their phone) such as a tablet, laptop or e-book reader,

Seven per cent go without travel insurance

According to the research, 7% of adults overall, rising to 1 in 10 of those aged between 25–34, admit that they don't take out travel insurance before they go on holiday.2

And two-thirds of those (64%) believe that the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is a free substitute for insurance. Other reasons include forgetfulness, cost of cover, and age and health issues precluding affordable cover.

Janet Connor, director of AA Insurance, says: "You do wonder what people take on holiday with them when you see some burdened with bulging cases and others clearly travelling light. But it is welcome news that the majority of people do think about travel insurance before they go.

"Even so, it's alarming that two-thirds of those who don't take out cover believe that the free EHIC is a substitute for insurance. The EHIC provides reciprocal basic state health care in European countries either free or at a discounted cost. But it won't cover the cost of bringing you home if you suffer a serious injury, for example."

Connor points out that although the research shows the average baggage value is £1,362, it hides wide extremes with some travelling with possessions worth up to £5,000. She advises travellers to check the limits on their insurance, noting that AA Travel Insurance can cover baggage up to £2,500, and if you're an AA Member there's no excess to pay in the event of a claim.3

She adds: "If you have home insurance it may include cover for your personal possessions anywhere in the world. If so, that could save some money on your travel insurance cost by excluding baggage cover, because your luggage property would already be insured.

"Nevertheless, a lot of people don't take jewellery, cameras or electronic devices, which brings the overall value down, and these are the kinds of things most likely to be lost or stolen while away, apart from passports, cash or loss of all baggage en route.

 "Everyone takes clothing of course, but a significant minority, 9%, will have more than £1,000-worth packed. And 10% of women will take cosmetics costing more than £500.

"Regardless of what property you take with you though, you should make sure that your trip is covered."


1 Populus online poll of 16,328 AA Members, 17–24 May 2018. Populus is a founding member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

2 Acccording to the Office for National Statistics, there were 72.8 million visits overseas by UK residents in 2017. 7% of adults in the Populus poll go abroad without travel insurance.

3 AA Travel Insurance is rated 5 Stars by Defaqto. Gold cover provides £2,500 cover for personal property. AA Travel Insurance is sold, administered and underwritten by AXA Insurance UK plc.

21 August 2018