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Airline laptop ban: insurers extend cover

Policies are changing to offer compensation for valuables in the hold

Insurance providers are reassuring British travellers caught up in the latest airline security measures that their laptops will be covered against loss, theft and damage.

Aviva and LV have extended their policies in response to the ban – which affects flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia – and prevents passengers from bringing laptops, tablets, Kindles and larger than average smartphones into the plane cabin.

Instead, travellers arriving into the UK from these six destinations will have to put devices into their hold baggage.

Lost or damaged baggage: the rules

If valuables in your checked in luggage are lost, stolen or damaged, you should be covered by the airline under the terms of the Montreal Convention. But as Which? Travel revealed last month, some airlines will refuse to pay out.

Most travel insurance firm policies don’t provide cover in this situation, sparking concern that airline passengers hit by the new measures – which include BA, EasyJet, Jet2, Monarch, Thomson and Thomas Cook – could end up out of pocket if their laptop or tablet is lost, stolen or damaged.

Insurance companies extend cover

Which? contacted the major travel insurance providers to find out where customers stood following the announcement of the restrictions, which must be implemented by Saturday, 25 March.

Most told us that they are issuing updated policies to extend cover to customers flying from the destinations involved. This extension will only apply to the devices listed under the restriction – those larger than 16cm in length, 9.3cm wide and 1.5cm deep.

Aviva told us it would extend its baggage insurance to include large electronic devices kept in the hold. A spokesperson said the extra cover – usually offered as an add-on – would be in place ‘for as long as the restrictions apply’.

LV has also widened its agreement to cover laptops, tablets and DVD players.

Similarly, Allianz Global Assistance UK will honour customer claims made because of the ban, but urged customers to read the terms and conditions carefully.

Direct Line Travel Insurance also confirmed it will consider claims for inbound flights from the six countries. Although they did warn that: ‘it may be sensible for customers to leave valuables at home.’

Saga Travel Insurance announced that customers will be covered for a maximum of £600 per item and an overall total of £1,000, as long as valuables are kept in a locked suitcase.

What to do before you travel

Given the varying rules and restrictions in place with different travel insurance firms, be sure to contact your provider before you travel. Find out which items are covered, whether the suitcase needs to be locked and if there are any other instructions you must follow to meet the terms of your policy.

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