The Cost of Handbag Theft and How to Avoid it

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It amazes me how little men carry around with them!  The idea of relying merely on pocket capacity to see me through the day is unfathomable. I carry a large bag, a very full large bag, with me wherever I go. Admittedly,  I may not use its contents every day – but I take a certain amount of comfort in knowing I’m equipped with any item that I might need when out and about.

I know I’m not alone in this; I’ve spotted many a large bag bigger than mine being hauled about the streets.

However, although I love it, should my heavily laden handbag be lost or stolen – it could lead to financial losses and even identity fraud.  It’s a scary thought and according to national statistics a very real possibility. Around a fifth of all women in the UK have experienced bag theft.

Just think about the costs lurking at the bottom of your bag. If you totted up all the contents you carry around with you, you might be quite surprised at the total amount. With items such as I-pods, phones and cash –  the contents of an average handbag often add up to over £100. Some more so, according to insurer Direct Line – nearly 1 in 10 women carry a handbag worth £250 or more.

If you carry a make-up bag with you, think about the total cost of its contents. These cosmetic products alone could be very expensive to replace. Also, with the popularity of designer labels, the actual bag itself could be worth hundreds. For example, a Chloé bag can cost anything up to £2,500 – possibly even more (not that I’m going to be buying one of these any time soon!).

Even more worrying, most handbags also contain at least one item that can be used to steal the owner’s identity. Cheque books, utility bills, passports or even diaries containing personal information can all be used by fraudsters for identity theft.

So, what can we ladies do to keep our valuables (and our identities) safe? Here are a few pointers:

  • Make sure your bag has a secure fastening – like a buckle.
  • Utilise zipped internal compartments. They make it harder for a thief to access items.
  • De-clutter your bag and try to only carry what you need.
  • Don’t unnecessarily carry around documents containing personal information.
  • Keep your bag close to you. Choose one with a strap that can be worn diagonally across your body.
  • Keep your bag out of sight when driving. If you leave it on the passenger seat, with your doors unlocked – it could easily be snatched when your vehicle is stationary.
  • Use secure lockers where possible  e.g. at the gym or at a festival.
  • Use handbag clips where available e.g. under the tables in bars and clubs.

Also, remember to get adequate insurance for your handbag.  When buying home insurance, make sure you include sufficient cover for any items you regularly take outside of the home. This is normally called personal possessions cover.

You can also get handbag cover with insurance for whatever vehicle you drive. This may be included in your policy (particularly if you’re buying specialist women’s car insurance) or may be offered as an added extra. Handbag cover could help protect you financially if your bag and its contents are stolen from your car.

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The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Policy Expert.