Handbags, backpacks, satchels, totes… bags are an absolute essential in the modern world as we carry more and more things with us on a day-to-day basis. With people carrying more technology, bank cards, keys and extra work items than ever before, the risk and cost of having your bag stolen is much graver.
New research, commissioned by UIA Mutual Insurance, reveals that the average Brit actually carries £2,636 worth of valuables on them when they leave the house. Whether you’re on the train doing your daily commute or out in the car over the weekend, Brits are now worth more than ever to possible thieves. The most common items being those already mentioned as well as expensive sunglasses, jewellery, travel cards and e-readers. Not to mention the cost of replacing stolen ID such as driver’s license and passport. Even losing keys can be a costly affair, getting locks replaced or new keys cut.
One of the main problems that follows having your bag stolen is the massive task of replacing all the items you’ve lost. The survey found that a fifth (20%) of people have had their bag stolen while outside of the house and of those, 41% said they only asked about insurance after they’d been robbed.
Further, 37% of people that had had their possessions stolen admitted they knew they didn’t have insurance and only 21% were sure they were covered on all of their items. Even worse, 14% ‘couldn’t be bothered’ to get insurance.
Make sure you’re clued up on these three common tricks thieves use to catch you off guard
Kick the Purse: When the victim sits down at a table or bar they will usually put their bag down on the floor. In this situation, the thief will simply get close to the victim and kick the purse out of their view so it can be easily taken without their knowledge. A variation on this theme is that the thief may even say “oh pardon me” reach down to slide your bag back into place while simultaneously helping themselves to your wallet from your unzipped bag.
Solution: If it’s small enough, place your bag on your lap, or if it’s hold all- put it on the floor in between your feet. Key thing is to make sure you can feel it at all times. So not on a chair or bench, and definitely don’t hang it off the back of a chair either. If the table has hooks, use them!
What time is it? This is a common distraction which requires a team of thieves to execute. One thief engages you in a conversation by asking you the time or how to get to a certain location. As you get involved in the conversation, the second thief will usually be behind you and steal your purse while you’re distracted by the kind tourist or local engaging you in a chat.
Solution: If a stranger asks for the time, of course you don’t want to be rude, but if caught off guard, keep your wits about you. Feel free to tell them the time but make sure you move your bag from your side or shoulder to hold it in your hand in front of your body, where it is in full view.
Street ruses: People setting up a box and doing card or other ‘magic’ tricks may be part of a gang the remainder of which may be circling the audience dipping into bags and pockets.
Solution: Street entertainment is great fun, just make sure your bag is in your hand and held in front of you where you can see it and close to your body.
“In a world in which we don’t leave the house without our mobile phones and we often need to carry around a laptop or tablet and an additional mobile phone for work, it’s inevitable that Brits are now taking more with them than ever. We can forget how easy it is to lose belongings and how hard it can be to get them back. I urge people to check their household insurance policies to make sure that they’re covered for loss or theft of items outside of the home, and whether items over a certain amount need to be listed on the policy to make sure you’re covered for all eventualities.“ – Jon Craven, UIA Mutual Insurance
Further, 37% of people that had had their things stolen admitted they knew they didn’t have insurance and only 21% were sure they were covered on all of their items. Even worse, 14% ‘couldn’t be bothered’ to get insurance.