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Electronics ban could prove costly

Flight passengers who will now be forced to stow their electronic devices in the hold may not be covered by insurance, a Shropshire expert has warned.

Passengers on UK-bound flights from the Middle East and North Africa are to be banned from carrying laptops, tablets and other electronic devices on board following security advice - a particular inconvenience for business travellers.

But Martin Pitchford, from Henshalls Insurance Brokers in Newport and Shrewsbury, said the move could prove extremely costly..

“Research by Which? found that major travel insurance companies like Aviva, Axa, Churchill, Direct Line and LV exclude valuables placed in the hold from their policies in the case of loss, theft or damage," he said.

“But given the new security measures will insist passengers check their electronic devices into the hold, there could be real problems ahead.”

The ban applies on flights to the UK from airports in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia, with affected airlines including British Airways, EasyJet, Monarch, Thomson Airways, Jet2, and Turkish Airlines.

Electronic devices such as laptops, tablets and handheld games consoles that measure larger than 16cm long, 9.3cm wide and 1.5cm deep must now be checked in.

“Previously the problems have occurred on budget airlines where passengers have unexpectedly had to check their cabin bags in at the gate as there isn’t enough room to have them in the cabin,” said Mr Pitchford.

“For years customers on budget flights have been encouraged to travel with hand luggage only, as most plane cabins don’t have room for everyone to bring cases onboard.

“Passengers have found they are required to part with their carry-on bag at the last minute, and there’s a panic to remove wallets, keys, and other valuables, including electronic devices. And insurers have confirmed that hand luggage that is unexpectedly checked into the hold would not be covered by their general travel policies.

“But now, with the new security arrangements, it’s clear that insurers will need to adjust their criteria and that travellers will need to check the small print on their insurance before they travel.

“Obviously losing any electronic device during the journey while it’s in the hold or finding your equipment has been damaged on arrival could prove an expensive extra additional cost you could do without. So it would be wise to contact your insurer before you travel, to check your cover and adjust the policy if necessary to ensure you’re protected under the new rules.”

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