Theft Abroad - Startling Statistics


If you're fed up with our awful British summer and are planning a holiday in France or Spain this year, you should make sure you take extra care of your belongings. According to, more than 1 in 3 of us who have had belongings stolen whilst on holiday in Europe were in Spain at the time, and almost 1 in 5 were in France.

Swiftcover's Director of Underwriting claims that nearly 1 in 6 Brits (14%) have suffered from theft in Europe. Moreover, if you think lightning doesn't strike twice, you should think again. 13% of us have been unlucky enough to have been the victim of theft twice on holiday. This is more likely to happen in France (20%) than Spain (17%), even though Spain heads the thievery 'league table'.

We may be doing all the right things when we lock our front door to head for the airport (putting lights on timer switches, and cancelling the milk and newspapers) but it seems that common sense deserts us when we reach our holiday destinations. Whether this is because we just want to relax on holiday it is hard to say, but we are certainly not sufficiently conscientious about taking care of our belongings on holiday. Simple precautions like wearing a money belt, using the hotel safe, removing valuables from cars and keeping our wits about us where there are crowds could make all the difference.

23% of thefts happen on the street or at tourist attractions, 30% are carried out by pickpockets without us even being aware, and 17% involve items taken practically from under our noses. Handbags dangling on the chair back in restaurants, providing rich pickings for thieves. The only good news in this otherwise depressing array of statistics is that only 6% of thefts involve violence.

Favourite items for thieves include cash and wallets, cameras and video equipment, clothes, handbags and jewellery. Those of us between 45 and 54 are particularly vulnerable, with 25% of thefts being from that age group.

Surprisingly enough, not all of us who have insurance bother to claim. Whilst 27% of us make a claim, 25% let the insurance companies off the hook, with men being the worst offenders (34%) compared to only 19% of women. It may, of course, be that we are deterred from claiming because of the excess on our policies, with 28% of all thefts amounting to less than £50 and the excess frequently being of a similar order.

All this underlines the importance of having adequate insurance cover. If you're going to travel, take the time to protect yourself and your belongings.


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