Ahead of the summer festival season, Gocompare.com looks at how millions of Brits could be putting their valuables at risk and what they can do to protect them
New research from Gocompare.com has found that though over 2 million* (6%) UK music lovers set to spend their summer at a music festival, only half** (54%) have cover for their valuables.
It's safe to say that music festivals have changed dramatically since the days of Woodstock and the Monterey Pop Festivals. Not only does the average festival ticket cost upwards of £190***, the number of expensive items such as iPhones and tablet computers that festival goers are taking with them has also increased.
In fact, New York rock band the Yeah Yeah Yeahs issued posters to fans at a New York show this April, urging them: "Please do not watch the show through a screen on your smart device/camera" and singer Bruno Mars recently asking his fans to do the same.
But it's not just crowd courtesy that makes leaving these sorts of items at home a wise idea. Festivals are an easy target for opportunist thieves with the potential of thousands of valuables left in unsecured tents or in pockets of tightly packed crowds.
Music aficionados also risk breaking or losing their valuables in the festival crowds. Last year, there were over 700 lost items handed in during the Glastonbury festival, including 118 mobiles and 38 cameras****. Without cover for items away from home, festival goers won't be insured should their items go missing.
Caroline Lloyd from Gocompare.com has put together a list of five must-dos for UK festival goers to keep their possessions safe this summer:
Get it covered
"If you're somebody who really can't live without their smartphone or tablet, then it's worth considering adding cover for items away from home to your home insurance policy. This may increase the cost of your home insurance, but then it could prove to be a worthwhile investment should you need to make a claim. In one example Gocompare.com found that adding £2,500 worth of cover for items away from home added around £1.50 a month to the cost of a contents insurance policy*****.
"Before going to a festival, check your insurance documents to make sure you're aware of the level of cover that you have. For example, though most home insurance policies with cover away from home will protect your items if they are lost or stolen whilst you're carrying them, some will class anything you leave in your tent as ‘unattended' and will not foot the bill if they are lost or stolen, even if your tent was locked.
"It's also important to consider that the amount your insurer will pay out for your lost or stolen phone can vary. For instance, some insurers will cover the full value of your mobile, while others may only pay up to a fixed amount, such as £150. So it's worth checking to make sure that you have the right cover for any of the valuables you're considering taking with you."
Do you really need it?
"Though it sometimes feels like we're joined at the hip to our gadgets, it's worth considering if you really need to take them with you in the first place. You could even invest in a cheap mobile phone so that you can temporarily downgrade from your smartphone to one that is less attractive to thieves. Also, it's worth noting that using apps and features like 3G will drastically reduce your smartphone's battery life, so unless you want to spend your weekend queuing to charge your phone, a model with less frills could be a better fit for you."
If you're in a tent, lock it
"If somebody is looking to get into your tent, they'll probably be able to regardless of whether there's a padlock on the zip or not. But it's worth considering that a proportion of crimes at festivals will be opportunistic and thieves will be looking to take advantage of unsecured tents. By putting a lock on your tent you're making it more difficult for somebody to gain access to it without drawing attention to themselves. As a result, would-be criminals will be more likely to move on to one of the thousands of other tents in the campsite than spend time cutting into yours."
Spread your valuables out and lock them away
"For things that you absolutely have to take; like your wallet, ID, cash or keys, it's worth considering getting a locker to house them. Most UK festivals offer locker facilities for a fee. The lockers available are usually quite small, but should be large enough for things like money, wallets and phones. For the times where you're carrying cash, or if you decide not to opt for a locker, hide your money in small amounts around yourself and your tent. This way you'll make it harder for thieves to find should they try to pickpocket you or break into your tent."
Going abroad? Get travel insurance
"Overseas festivals are becoming increasingly popular amongst Brits, with European festivals like Benicassim and Optimus Alive offering music lovers a chance to see their favourite bands in sunnier circumstances. But if you're planning on heading abroad for a music festival this year, travel insurance and an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) are just as important as your tent and your ticket.
"Though you might not consider a festival as a traditional holiday, you'll still need travel insurance should you get ill or injured, or if for you need to cancel your trip. Without travel insurance ill or injured festival goers could face running up thousands of pounds in medical bills with no way to return back to the UK
"When taking out travel insurance, it's important that you remember to read your policy documentation carefully as there will usually be conditions, such as not leaving your items unattended or certain alcohol-related exclusions to consider before deciding whether the policy is right for you. For instance, most policies will accept that you're likely to drink alcohol while away, but will not cover you if the police or a doctor believe your alcohol consumption was a major factor in an incident."
Caroline added, "Festivals can be a great way to spend a long weekend with friends and family this summer, but it's important to remember to take care of your valuables. Unfortunately, there are people who look to take advantage of us when we let our guard down to have fun, and although security staff usually do an excellent job at these events, it's important to stay vigilant.
"It's worth making sure you are insured for any valuable items you're considering taking. Better yet, really consider whether you need to take any valuables with you at all, as having to foot the bill for losing or breaking any expensive items is a sure fire way of turning a festival to remember into a festival you'll want to forget."
Notes to editors:
*In May 2013, Gocompare.com surveyed 1,571 actual customers on what their summer plans this year were. 6% of participants answered ‘going to a music festival(s)'. According to the ONS in the 2011 census there were approximately 48,088,000 people living in the UK aged 19 and over. 6% of 48,088,000 is 2,885,280
**In May 2013, Gocompare.com studied actual customer data from home insurance quotes completed in Jan - April 2013 for contents and building and contents cover. 54.6% of customers selected cover away from home for a least one item (specified or unspecified).
***Gocompare.com used the mean average of the price for a weekend camping ticket from 9 major UK music festivals. Download Festival £195, Glastonbury £205, £202.50 Reading and Leeds, £185 Isle of Wight, £190.50 Latitude, £194 T in the Park, £185 V Festival, and £190 Bestival. Average is £194.30. Face value of the tickets was used so booking fees are not included.
****Source, Glastonbury festival website available
*****Gocompare ran two quotes where the only change was the addition of cover away for up to £2,500 for a 27 year old account living in Bath on a contents only home insurance policy. Cheapest quote returned without cover away from home was £41.22 from Endsleigh and the cheapest quote returned with cover away from home was £59.40 from Legal & General. Total difference £18.18, divided by total amount of months in the year (12) is £1.51 per month