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With one in ten Brits having suffered a bag theft, insurance experts are issuing an alert on the nation’s high streets. As we carry, on average, a massive £716.25 of goods around in our bags on a daily basis, the risk of losing valuable possessions is on the increase.

The study from MORE TH>N Insurance showed that the nation carries £25.2 billion1 around in its bags on a daily basis and the warnings today are timely as post Christmas this figure swelled by £2.1 billion2 with presents and sale bargains.

Leaving the house can be a risky business when a quarter (24%) of us admit to losing, or having had belongings stolen from our bags, when out and about. This risk is even greater when we consider that four in five of us (77%) don’t adequately insure these precious items.

The study included handbags and “manbags”: UK women carry, on average, a staggering £774.31 with them at all times - and their male counterparts are not too far behind with £652.43 of goodies. Our bags contain a soaring number of gadgets with two thirds (64%) of us carrying expensive electronic items around. Up to 18% of the value of women’s bags can be attributed to makeup and toiletries (£131.25), while a surprising 20% of boys also carry grooming products at all times.

In spite of our reliance on credit cards, we still carry an average of £44 in cash with us. The Northern Irish carry the most (£83.44) and the Welsh carry the least change (£31.51). While 92% of women carry cash in their bags, 70% of men prefer to keep their money safe in their own pockets.

The report identified snatch hot spots round the country with concerns raised particularly in the capital as Londoners proved to be the most vulnerable to theft with 18% having experienced a bag snatch, whilst the streets are safest in Wales with just 6% falling victim.

Pete Markey from MORE TH>N says,
“Technology is becoming increasingly portable and luxury items ever more desirable, so what we leave home with every day can actually be a considerable proportion of our most valuable personal possessions. It is important to be vigilant when we carry so much around – but should the worst happen, protecting against loss, damage or theft will save a lot of heartache and expense.

“The research also shows that it’s the fashionable bags themselves, and not just the contents, that are proving to be increasingly tempting for thieves, the value of the average bag alone weighs in at £87, so we can’t afford to be complacent.”

The research was conducted as part of the development of MORE TH>N’s enhanced contents insurance offering. In a response to customer’s need for better cover when away from the home, MORE TH>N’s new Contents Outside the Home policies cover up to £75,000 of belongings, (including handbags and “manbags”) when out and about.

For more information or a quote, call 0800 107 1905 or visit

- Ends -

Media enquiries:

Nick Dear
MORE TH>N Press Office
020 7337 5602

Lana Clements
MORE TH>N Press Office
020 7337 5797

Notes to Editors:

Research conducted amongst 1,000 UK adults by Fly Research (December 2008)

Average values of individual items carried in bags calculated from consumer research and Argos website (Jan 09):

Wallet / Purse - £68.75
Mobile Phone - £304.50
Blackberry - £354
Laptop - £599
MP3 Player - £169.50
Camera - £189.50
Jewellery - £42.50
Glasses / Sunglasses - £147.50
Hand Held Computer - £119.50
Portable DVD Player - £129
Toiletries and Make Up - £131.25
Personal Organiser - £119.50
Cash - £43.92

Total average values of possessions carried:

National Ave - £585 - £43.92 - £87.33 - £716.25
Women - £650.43 - £41.13 - £82.75 - £774.31
Men - £503.96 - £55.47 - £93 - £652.43

Regional league table showing most valuable bags including all contents:

Region - Total Value
London - £841.22
Northern Ireland - £738.63
South East - £734.80
Scotland - £728.94
Yorkshire / Humberside - £719.31
Wales - £673.86
North West - £669.84
South West - £628.53
North East - £623.57
East Midlands - £623.55
East - £615.33
West Midlands - £563.00

Regional league table showing regions with most victims of bag theft:

Region - % of bag snatch victims
London - 18%
East Midlands - 17%
North East - 17%
South East - 16%
Scotland -15%
Northern Ireland - 13%
South West - 11%
Yorkshire / Humberside - 11%
West Midlands - 10%
East - 7%
North West - 7%
Wales - 6%

Note: Calculations based on 40 million adults in the UK. Of those, 35.2 million (88%) regularly carry bags

1 35.2 million people, each carrying an average of £716.25 = £25.212 billion being carried on British streets at any one time

Of the 35.2 million carrying bags, 27.104 million (77%) admit to not having suitable insurance in place for their bag or contents

27.104 million x £716.25 (average bag and contents value) = £19.413 billion worth of possessions being put at risk daily

The value of the average bag contents has risen by £60.35 since Christmas

2 Therefore, 35.2 million bag carriers x £60.35 = £2.124 billion worth of extra items being carried in the nation’s bags since Christmas

About MORE TH>N:

MORE TH>N is the direct financial services arm of RSA. It offers online car insurance as well as home, pet, life, and travel insurance and by phone and via the internet. It also offers commercial insurance, van insurance, shop, office, business car, hotels, property, club and contractor insurance direct to small businesses.

In December 2006 MORE TH>N, together with its parent company RSA, became the first insurer in the UK to be carbon neutral. The company has cut its carbon footprint by over half since 2000 and has offset the remainder by purchasing voluntary carbon offsets.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of More Than in the following categories: Men's Interest, Home & Garden, Women's Interest & Beauty, Personal Finance, for more information visit