Handbags, backpacks, or laptop bags are absolutely 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.
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.
Make sure you’re clued up on these common tricks thieves use to catch you off guard:
Kick the Bag: 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 bag 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.
“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.” commented Jon Craven, from UIA Mutual Insurance.
Insurance Edge Comment:
In a city like London it’s now almost impossible to completely guard against attack by moped muggers – if they really want your Rolex or smartphone badly enough then they’ll go in as a gang – few individuals can fight three people at once. Protect your life first, and then worry about the things you’ve lost – they can always be replaced, especially if insured. What counts is staying alert, not wandering around alone looking lost, or openly displaying wealthy status symbols.
So always carry a tablet or laptop in a battered rucksack, not the factory laptop bag. Use your Sat Nav sparingly in London and keep an eye out for `spotters’ on mountain bikes cruising past slowly, checking out which model iPhone or Galaxy you are holding.