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Essential Travel Issues Warning To Christmas Shoppers Abroad

Following a hike in personal effects claims, travel insurance specialist offers advice to consumers planning an overseas spending spree this Christmas

Shopping for Christmas presents abroad can be an inspired cost-saving measure but only if consumers avoid the pitfalls, travel insurance specialist has warned.

The leading travel essentials provider has created an online Q&A to help consumers understand the implications of buying their Christmas gifts overseas, after it emerged that personal effects claims are on the rise.

When comparing the volume of claims during the peak summer travelling period his year with the same period last year, found that personal effects, which includes personal property taken or purchased on holiday that is accidentally lost, stolen or damaged, had overtaken medical expenses. What's more, of the personal effects claims that received this summer, 30 per cent were against damaged property, half of which occurred during transit. "Buying Christmas presents abroad is a great idea but what if the gifts purchased get lost or stolen before they reach the UK? Or you manage to get the gifts home, only to find that they have been broken or damaged on the way?" says Stuart Bensusan, .

Medical expenses generally account for the highest proportion of claims on our travel insurance policies so for personal effects to have overtaken medical this year is significant. This development, coupled with the fact that we anticipate that many of our customers will opt to do their Christmas shopping overseas this year, has spurred us to create an online guide to Christmas shopping abroad.

It's crucial that consumers are abreast of where they stand from an insurance perspective before they begin pounding the streets of Manhattan or perusing Prague's Christmas markets.

The comprehensive Q&A features top tips on buying Christmas presents abroad including:

Have the right travel insurance policy

If you are going abroad with shopping as a major activity on your list of things to do, you need the right level of coverage. A basic policy will not cover your personal belongings but's Essential Plus and Superior Policy do cover your Christmas shopping up to the limits shown on the policy wording.

Don't spend more than your policy covers you for

You also need to make sure that you do not spend more than your policy coverage is worth. There is a total sum and a single item limit on all policies.

Know the procedure for making a claim

Should you need to make a claim, you need to contact your insurer within 31 days of the incident and have the following information ready:

  • Your receipt of purchase and credit card receipts (if you have paid using one)
  • Name of your policy and where it was purchased
  • Policy number
  • Date the policy was purchased
  • A written police report, in the country where the incident took place, to substantiate the loss, theft or damage of your goods.

Use a credit card

Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 means that your plastic must protect anything you buy over £100 for free (maximum £300,000), so wherever possible, buy your presents on a credit card whilst abroad. This way, if any items are lost or stolen you can claim directly with the credit card company and avoid paying the excess that goes with claiming on your travel insurance.

Know your goods restrictions

Depending on where in the world you are doing your Christmas shopping, there may be limits on how much you can bring back without paying tax. If you are travelling to a country outside of the European Union (EU), for example, you can bring back goods worth up to £390 per person without having to pay tax and/or duty. If you bring in any single item worth more than your allowance, you must pay duty and/or tax on the full item value, not just the value above the allowance. However, if you are returning to the UK from an EU country you can bring in an unlimited amount of most goods.

To view's Christmas Shopping Q&A in full, go here

About Essential Travel

Established in 2001, Essential Travel is one of the UK's leading online travel essentials companies. Since 2002, we've protected over 5 million holidaymakers with our fully-comprehensive, competitively-priced travel insurance, as well as providing priority access to the most sought after car parks, hotels and lounges at all major airports across the UK.

Essential Travel is now part of Holiday Extras.