Insurance for personal possessions is vital when travelling, and while most insurance policies will compensate very well for lost or delayed baggage, they may be slightly more limiting when claiming for personal possessions or cash. Most travel insurance policies do not provide "new for old" as is standard with most household insurance, rather, they cover the value of the item at the time it is lost or stolen.

All policies recommend you take good care of your possessions or they may refuse your claim. If, for example, your valuables are taken from your hotel room after it was left unlocked you may not be eligible for any compensation at all. It is recommended that you look after your possessions as if they were not insured.

All losses or thefts must be reported to the local police and you must get a police report. If this isn't possible one must be obtained from a representative for your trip. Not having an official report may damage your claim.

Credit cards and cash

You will be covered for loss or theft of cash up to a certain value. It is recommended that you take travellers cheques with you and carry only a small amount of cash at all times to minimise your risk.

Credit cards may be covered under your household contents insurance, and some have their own insurance policies associated with them. These insurance policies may be slightly limited when it comes to travel so be sure to check that you have adequate insurance and take out extra if you need to.

Contents insurance

Most travel insurance policies are fairly restrictive when it comes to the upper limit that you can claim for a single item. It is recommended that you do not take any incredibly valuable items with you on a trip abroad.

If you must take valuables then most household contents insurance policies will have a clause for items briefly taken out of the country. Taking out extra cover on your household contents insurance is a good plan for valuable items such as bikes, digital cameras, laptop computers and sporting equipment. This kind of insurance may also provide "new for old" cover on your valuable items.

Remember - only take valuable items if absolutely necessary, and if your hotel or room has a safe, use it!

Travel documents

Documents vital for travel such as your passport or tickets are very often covered by travel insurance policies but loss of these documents may cause severe delays to your trip or return home so be sure to take special care if them.

If you lose your passport while abroad report it immediately to the local authorities and obtain a certificate of loss. You must then visit the British Consulate to apply for a replacement passport - remember to take some identification with you as you will have to prove your identity before you will be issued with a replacement.

If you should lose your passport while abroad most policies will compensate for the extra accommodation required while you obtain a replacement.