Man holds smart phone to photograph coastline -map app

Stolen Mobile Phone – Am I Covered by my Travel Insurance?

30 March 2019

Imagine jetting off overseas without your mobile phone? Inconceivable! But what happens when a phone as loveable as yours catches the attention of a pickpocket or career crim? Can you count on your travel insurance to bail you out with a replacement?

Fact: mobile phones – especially those with selfie cameras –  make travelling more fun. They’re also damn handy and a vital travel safety tool, in our books. Little wonder most Australian travellers won’t take off without theirs.

The downside to bringing you phone on holiday is that it’s a juicy target for thieves working the tourist traps and beyond. Phones are small, well some are, and thus easy to nick. We’re also in the habit of having them in our hands a lot, so the risk of having a flashy mobile phone spotted is pretty high, as is the dastardly possibility of resting your precious phone on a table top or taxi seat, only to leave your little mate behind. Tragic!

Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to fall victim to phone theft whilst overseas. So vigilance is obviously key. So to is having a backup, like having important documents printed and stashed away for in case your phone develops legs.

Is your travel insurance going to lend a hand?

Equally important is knowing whether the travel insurance you’ve forked out for is actually going to man up and help you cover the costs of replacing your device. The good news is, proper travel insurance policies typically cover lost or stolen ‘personal items’ up to a certain value – and mobile phones, along with tablets, laptops and cameras, fall into this box.

There are conditions of course, I’ll get to that in a minute, but first, here’s what your insurer should be able to do for you.

What’s Covered?

Travel by Us provides specific cover for your mobile phone, tablets and gadgets under our Device Add-on. This is an optional extra – an additional level of cover that you can add to your travel insurance, to protect up to 5 devices.

What you’ll get is an allowance that can be used to either replace or repair your device, depending on that happened to it.

You can claim if

Phone stolen? To claim, you need to have reported the theft or permanent misplacement to police, a transport carrier or travel operator, within 24 hours. Keep a copy of the police report!

You’ll need to provide your lost or stolen phone’s IMEI code (International Mobile Equipment Identity) with your claim. We’ll also need you to have blocked the IMEI with your Aussie mobile network. Without an IMEI code we can’t process your claim. Note, blocking your IMEI is different to blocking your SIM.

As with all insurance claims on stuff, you need to be able to prove that you owned the mobile phone in the first place. Receipts and phone contracts will do the job.

You’re not covered when

We can’t cover you if your phone was stolen from an airplane cargo hold. Ditto if the loss, theft or damage occurs in the cargo hold of your train, bus – you name it – we can’t process your claim. This includes jewellery, and laptops, cameras, computers, phones and their accessories. Basically, we need you to be sensible about where you put your precious stuff, and the cargo hold ain’t as safe as keeping valuables on your person.

Same with accidently leaving your phone or luggage behind at a hotel after check out, or on a plane, rental car or other mode of transport. As well as bags left in the car during daylight, unless in the boot, or left in the car overnight, even if left in the boot.

Travel Insurance won’t cover damage due to ordinary wear and tear, weather conditions, insects, rodents or vermin.

How the claim works in real life

The claims process differs from one insurer to another. We’ve tried to make ours as simple as possible with an online claim form that lets you send extra info like police reports and receipts, without having to lift the phone or lick a postage stamp.

Once your claim has been approved, we work out how much to pay you based on:

  • Depreciation
    To work out how much to pay you for lost, stolen or damaged devices, we need to determine and apply depreciation due to age, wear and tear for each item. Depreciation applies unless we’re talking about stuff bought duty free, or on your trip.
  • Repair or Replace
    When it comes to replacing or repairing your luggage or personal items, we reserve the right to choose which course of action to take.

What was that about excess again?

Just like car insurance claims, travel insurance claims also charge excess, and the amount can vary from company to company. Travel by Us charges an excess of $100 on most, but not all claims. You can see where excess applies by glancing at our table of benefits.

The devil is in the detail, so if you’re still not sure about how travel insurance takes care of stolen mobile phones take note of some important rules and exceptions by having a read of your policy PDS. You’re also more than welcome to give us a call on +61 2 8880 9428 or email We’ll sort you out!

Bring Travel by Us travel insurance along for the ride and be covered when you need it most. Get a personalised quote to see how much you could save on cover and extras.

“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”

− Maya Angelou