Australians urged to take more care of personal belongings

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

New research from leading insurer GIO1 has found that Australians are putting their hi-tech gadgets and other valuables at risk, with two in every five Australians admitting they could take better care of their personal belongings when outside the home.

Despite regularly carrying around expensive items – such as mobile phones, designer sunglasses, cameras and jewellery – Australians are not doing enough to protect their belongings against loss or theft with statistics showing:
  • Two in five Australians (39 per cent) have lost a personal item when they've been out;
  • Almost one-quarter of Australians (22 per cent) said they've had a personal item stolen while in a public place;
  • Another one in four Australians (24 per cent) have also left a personal possession visible in the car while unattended.

However, Australians are switched on when it comes to protecting their laptops, cameras and jewellery, with these items found to be insured the most when compared to how often they are carried (more or less matching exactly). Clearly, these items are top of mind and valued highly by Australians.

This also supports recent GIO claims data2, which shows that the most commonly claimed portable cover items include:
  • Digital cameras, video cameras and accessories – 21 per cent
  • Jewellery – 17 per cent
  • Sunglasses and prescription glasses – 11 per cent

So for any Australian for whom the saying “I carry my life around in my bag” rings true, it’s time to get savvy with your prized possessions when on the go.

As GIO spokesperson Rebecca Aley said, “In the current economic climate, it’s wise for people to consider where they might be leaving themselves open to financial risk – and what happens to your personal belongings outside the home is one area that’s often overlooked.”

“It’s concerning to think that people could lose a lot of money by failing to insure expensive personal valuables that they regularly carry with them when they’re out and about, “Ms Aley added.

And what personal belongings are most neglected? Surprisingly, mobile phones, MP3 players and expensive sunglasses or reading glasses are the items most people neglect to insure.
  • Mobile phones are regularly carried by 92 per cent of Australians, yet only 27 per cent protect this seemingly indispensable device against loss or theft, which could be costly if a premium model handset is carried.
  • Expensive sunglasses/reading glasses are regularly carried by 32 per cent of Australians, yet only 11 per cent have this item insured, which is surprising given the high price point of most designer sunglass brands.
  • MP3 players or other audio equipment – this is an item 16 per cent of people regularly carry with them, yet only a small percentage (10 per cent) insure this item – something to keep in mind, especially if a more expensive model is at risk!

Indeed, the research found that more than half of the Australians surveyed (54 per cent) said they do not have cover for personal belongings when away from the home. The research suggests that even for those with home insurance, many people are unaware that once they leave the home with their personal (and often expensive) items, they’re open to risk by not insuring them against loss or theft outside the home.

“As the research shows, it’s well worth people taking a few moments to check and, if necessary, update their insurance policy for portable cover so they can be assured their mobile phones, latest hi-tech gadgets, designer fashion accessories and jewellery will be fully protected while they are on the go,” Ms Aley concluded.

For more information on home and contents insurance, visit

For media enquires or to arrange an interview please contact:
Rebecca Aley
GIO Communications Advisor
02 8121 0054 or 0411 405 270

1 Based on an independent telephone and internet survey of 2503 Australian drivers in all States and Territories by Sweeney Research. 2 Based on a review of GIO’s claims data for the period July 2007 to August 2008.
2 Based on a review of GIO’s claims data for the period July 2007 to August 2008.