Isle of Wight has kicked off the festival season and Glastonbury is soon to follow, but if you're off to a festival this summer, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure your belongings are protected.

More than 50% of people bring a smartphone with them to a festival, while 47% take a camera, 57% jewellery or watches, 52% sunglasses, and 8% a tablet, according to research from Halifax shared exclusively with

Meanwhile, the average festivalgoer spends £170/day, rising to a whopping £850/day at Glastonbury, once you average out the cost of the ticket, miscellaneous spending on the day, transport and the value of items you bring with you, such as wellies, sunglasses and tents.

But there are many free and cheap steps you can take to avoid losing your belongings or having them stolen:

  • Don't take unnecessary valuables. If you have a spare old phone, take that instead of a newer smartphone.
  • Only take as much cash as you'll actually need. If you can pay by card (not always possible), this may be safer.
  • Write down your credit or debit card number, along with the bank's phone number, in case your card is lost or stolen and you need to cancel it. Keep this information in a safe place, both at home and when you go.
  • Use a money belt to keep your cash and valuables out of sight.
  • Don't flash the cash – or expensive jewellery or high-tech gadgets.
  • Check if the festival organiser has a locker area, which is usually free.
  • When asleep, keep belongings in the bottom of the sleeping bag.
  • Use a UV pen to mark as much of your property as possible (tent, clothing, phone) with your postcode and phone number.
  • If you park your car, leave the glove box open and empty. It deters thieves.

If you're worried following these steps doesn't offer enough protection and are intent on taking valuables with you, check if you've already got insurance in place that covers your stay, or consider taking out a policy. Below is what you need to know.

Martin Lewis
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Check if you're covered by home insurance

As we've outlined above, if you're off to a festival this summer, leaving valuables at home or out of sight is the easiest and cheapest way to lessen the risk of them getting stolen or lost.

However, if you're worried about valuables getting stolen, lost or broken, the first place to start is to check if you're covered by your home insurance. Most home insurance policies will not cover your contents outside of your home, especially those of a high value, such as smartphones or tablets.

However, if you have what's called 'personal possessions cover' on top of your insurance, all of your personal possessions should be covered whenever you're away from home, although some insurers will ask you to separately list expensive items in order for them to be included.

This should cover your belongings, including your tent – even if you've not used a padlock – if they are lost or stolen, but always check your individual policy to be 100% certain.

Some insurers, such as Direct Line, for example, won't actually cover the tent when it's erected but will cover the contents.

Check if you're covered by travel insurance

If you already have annual travel insurance, it's likely you'll be covered for stays in the UK. Most annual travel insurance policies cover you if the trip is at least two nights, but always double-check your policy, as insurers have different definitions of a UK trip.

You should also check that your policy covers stays in tents, rather than just stays in hotels.

LV, for example, covers UK trips if you've pre-booked your accommodation, or are more than 25 miles from your home, or your journey involves a sea crossing. HolidaySafe's annual policy, meanwhile, covers any pre-booked holiday in the UK, as long as it's at least three days long.

Also double-check the limits of your policy, especially if you're going to take expensive items with you.

Going to a festival this summer? Make sure you're protected
Going to a festival this summer? Make sure you're protected

Check if you're covered by stand-alone insurance

If you're only worried about your smartphone or tablet, check if you already have stand-alone insurance in place in order for these items to be covered.

Don't have insurance?

As we've outlined above, if you're off to a festival this summer, leaving valuables at home or out of sight is the easiest and cheapest way to lessen the risk of them getting stolen or lost.

But if you don't have insurance and are intent on bringing valuables to a festival, you may want to consider getting insurance to cover them. Your options include adding personal possessions to your home insurance, getting travel insurance or getting a stand-alone product policy.

The cheapest option will depend on what you're taking with you, where you're going, what you've already got in place, and other factors, such as whether you're planning more trips from home within the year.

With every type of cover, check the limits on what you can claim, as some policies will only cover items up to a certain value. Here's what you need to know:

  • For personal possessions cover. To get this, you'll need to already have a home insurance policy. Prices for the additional cover vary depending on where you live and the item(s) you're adding. See our Home Insurance guide for more on this.

  • For travel insurance. Single policies start from £6 per trip, but if you're going on holiday more than twice this year, you may want to consider an annual policy. See our Travel Insurance guide for more details.

  • For stand-alone insurance. You can insure your smartphone from £5/month. See our Mobile Phone Insurance guide for how to get the best deal, but remember, you won't need this if you're already covered on your home or travel insurance policy.

What if the festival is cancelled or I can no longer go?

If the weather is a wash-out, which is often the case in the UK, the entire event could be cancelled. In this circumstance, it's likely you'll get the cost of the ticket back from the organiser.

If that doesn't happen and you paid on credit card for a ticket of more than £100, Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act means the credit card firm is jointly liable, so contact it for your money back – see our Section 75 Refunds guide for more on this.

If it costs less than £100 or you paid by debit card, then Visa and Mastercard have a similar guarantee, though this is not enshrined in law – see our Chargeback guide for more on this.

If you have already booked your travel and accommodation, you will need to try to cancel these with the provider in question. If it refuses, check with your travel insurer.

If you cancel your trip because of an emergency or a bereavement, you are usually covered if your travel insurance policy includes cancellation, but you won't be covered if you simply decide not to go.

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