Aviation

Will travel insurance cover checked-in electronics?

Hannah Edensor

The electronics ban onboard flights to the US is causing a right kerfuffle amongst travellers, and with nine airlines and 10 countries affected, it’s drawing mass criticism and concern.

The ban applies for travellers if:

  • You’re flying to the US from Istanbul, Turkey; Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates; Doha, Qatar; Amman, Jordan; Cairo, Egypt; Casablanca, Morocco; Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia; Kuwait City, Kuwait
  • You’re flying non-stop to the U.S. on one of these nine airlines: EgyptAir; Emirates; Etihad Airways; Kuwait Airways; Qatar Airways; Royal Air Maroc; Royal Jordanian; Saudia (Saudi Arabian Airlines); Turkish Airlines.

But now the major question remains, will travel insurance grant claims of broken or stolen electronics that have been checked in to luggage?

Typically, this is a grey area of insurance, with many travel insurance companies claiming they would not cover checked-in luggage that is lost or stolen as it’s out of sight of the traveller.

Compare Travel Insurance released a statement which said, “Generally checked-in electronic devices such as laptops and tablets would not be covered by travel insurance. Unlike carry-on belongings, laptops or electronic items stored in the hold of an airplane are considered the airline’s responsibility, not your insurer’s.”

However, given the recent ban, Natalie Ball, director, commented, “What we do know is that insurers are already in talks to revise their policies in light of this ban. Travellers should not be held to ransom by these stringent security measures and insurers are well aware that they must adapt to redress the situation.”

Her advice?

“Shop around and know the details of your policy. Check limits and any excess that may apply; the cheapest isn’t always the best option for your trip.  Assess what items you’re taking away with you and specify any high value items you must take.

“If possible, consider leaving your more expensive electronics behind or if you must, make sure your travel insurer is up to date on these new reforms.”

Speaking to Travel Agent Central, Business Travel Coalition (BTC) said in a written release, “TSA has implored travelers for years not to put valuables in their checked baggage because of theft and damage from handling.

“Now in addition to $1,000 laptops, tablets, E-readers, portable DVD players, electronic game units, travel printers/scanners and cameras will have to be checked.

“Photojournalists traveling on business will have to check equipment worth tens of thousands of dollars. No doubt leisure and business travelers will now have to take risks in checking these valuables.”

Travel Agent Central shared its six tips for travel agents speaking with clients in light of the ban, which specify:

  1. Write down what you packed in your checked baggage or take a picture, so if something gets lost/stolen, it’s easier to prove it to your travel insurance provider.
  2. Try and keep an eye on your bags as they go down the conveyer belt when checking in, and try be first to the baggage claim on arrival. This limits the time that someone could take your bag or tamper with it.
  3. Be kind to your electronics devices and give them proper padding. You can even use your clothes to cushion the impact should they be jostled around in your bags.
  4. Utilise a luggage forwarding service for events where key electronics are critical (eg, business events, trade shows).
  5. Consider using a luggage tracking device, such as CSA Travel Protection’s sister company in Italy, which offers Lugloc as a service:
  6. If you can, consider leaving your electronics at home if your travel insurance policy doesn’t cover lost, stolen or damaged electronics, or try bringing older versions for travel. And if you do decide to bring them, then back everything up before you go.

Meanwhile, Fairfax today reports that Emirates intends to let passengers take their laptops past security gates at Dubai International Airport, and then collect the devices and store in cargo prior to boarding.

But this doesn’t exactly help for the 14+ hour flight time, does it?

 

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

One response to “Will travel insurance cover checked-in electronics?”

  1. This will burn the ME/Arab Airlines. Shame!, was great while it lasted, but into Europe with the Asian airlines will be the way round it. I take 2 Ipads, one netbook style laptop and several cameras & lenses with associated chargers. Would be a real joy to have these things stolen or damaged – not!.
    So for now, I shall stay off ME carriers. I do understand the potential situation, but some workarounds are needed, cameras? Tablets?(very difficult to take apart & very thin) … laptops can understand that though. And yes the insurance situation must be sorted out asap.

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