Cover yourself with more than a tent at summer festivals

Article date: 20 June 2012

  • Crime figures reveal that £225,0001 worth of possessions were stolen last year

Music festivals are as much a part of British Summertime as strawberries at Wimbledon and barbecues in the rain. Over 40% of the population has at some point danced the weekend away to their favourite bands in a field, according to research from Aviva.2

However, as well as peace and love, there’s risk – 12% of people who have been to a festival have had belongings lost or stolen there. And the same percentage said they have had items lost or stolen at other outdoor events such as sporting fixtures.

And official crime statistics obtained by Aviva reveal that there were 1,101 reported incidents of thefts at eleven of the top UK festivals last year (see table for Total number and value of thefts at top UK festivals in 2011). According to police records, the combined value of thefts at eight of these festivals was £226,738 meaning the average value of belongings stolen at them was £354.

One particularly vulnerable area at festivals is unguarded tents, with these accounting for almost three quarters of all reported thefts.  The other quarter is made up of personal thefts, mainly from pickpocketing.

Total number and value of thefts at top UK festivals in 2011


Number of thefts

Value of thefts




T4 on the Beach






Big Chill



V Festival Essex



V Festival Staffs



Wireless Festival



Reading Festival


Not Provided

Isle of Wight


Not Provided



Not Provided

T in the Park






The summer of 2011 saw an increase of 19% in the value of stolen possessions compared with 2010. The most dramatic increase was seen at the V Festival in Essex which saw the value of thefts more than double to almost £87,000. However the number of thefts at major festivals in 2011 dropped 14%, suggesting that people are still taking more expensive personal items with them such as MP3 players, cameras and smartphones.3

Aviva calculates the average value of possessions people take to a festival at £1209.97,4 so those unlucky enough to find themselves as victims of crime could also be out of pocket if they are not properly covered.

Jonathan Cracknell, household underwriter at Aviva, said; “Rain or shine, hundreds of thousands of people will be heading out to the many festivals and outdoor events being held this summer. So as well as thinking about what bands and stands they are going to see, music fans also need to think about personal security – it is very clear that while festival-goers are watching the acts, thieves are watching out for their expensive gadgets and belongings left back in their tents or tucked in their pockets.

“Our research also shows that while crime might be down at festivals compared with last summer, the average cost of belongings being taken is rising – with people still venturing out armed with expensive screens and accessories. So swapping the digital for the disposable is a good idea and using the free lock-up areas wherever possible.

“And for extra piece of mind people should check to see if they have additional personal belongings cover on their home insurance as this will cover possessions outside the home for every festival goer in the family!”

Your cover
All your valuables as well as camping gear like tents, cooking equipment and binoculars can be covered under the Personal Belongings section of an Aviva home insurance policy. This means you are covered anywhere in the world if your belongings are stolen, but also if they are accidentally lost or damaged.

It covers everyone who lives permanently in the home, so if parents have added it to their policy, the teenage kids will be covered too!

Personal belongings cover starts from around £27 a year with Aviva’s direct insurance policy for home and covers:

  • Clothing and personal belongings up to your chosen limit (from £2,000 up to £10,000 with the maximum limit for any one item being £2,000)
  • Up to £500 of personal money
  • Credit cards up to £1,000.

Aviva’s top tips to enjoy a worry free festival:

  • Never leave valuables unattended in tents or in cars
  • Consider what you really need to take. Can you share who takes what among your friends? Do you really need to take an expensive watch?
  • Only take out as much cash as you need
  • Separate cash from cards and only take one bank/credit card if you can
  • Make sure pockets or handbags have zipped openings to prevent belongings being snatched
  • Don’t flash the cash or the expensive hi-tech gadgets
  • Keep belongings in the bottom of your sleeping bag at night
  • Use the free lock-up areas provided by the festival organisers or ensure personal belongings are kept close and within sight
  • Report anything lost or stolen to the police immediately and get a crime number that you can report to your insurance company.

* Aviva is currently offering a 50% saving on home insurance online5. For more information on insurance direct from Aviva go to


If you are a journalist and would like further information, please contact:

Aviva press office
John Franklin 
Telephone: +44 (0)1603 680795 / +44 (0)7800 692110

Rebecca Holmes 
Telephone: +44 (0)1603 685177 / +44 (0)7800 690 731

The Wriglesworth Consultancy
Louise Weaver / Hugh Murphy    
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7427 1400

1 Data requests were submitted to nine UK police forces on 1 May 2012 for number and value of thefts for 11 UK festivals. Two (Thames Valley and Hampshire could not provide the value of thefts). The police forces contacted were Avon and Somerset Constabulary (Glastonbury, T4 on the Beach), Essex Police (V Festival Chelmsford), Staffordshire Police (V Festival Staffordshire), Thames Valley Police (Reading Festival), Tayside Police (T in the Park), Suffolk Constabulary (Latitude Festival), West Mercia Police (The Big Chill), The Metropolitan Police (Wireless Festival) Hampshire (Isle of Wight, Bestival).

2 Based on a survey of 1,075 UK adults conducted by Wriglesworth Research between 30 May and 11 June 2012

3 Comparing figures. based on FOI requests from six festivals – Glastonbury, V Festival Staffordshire, V Festival Chelmsford, Latitude, Reading and T in the Park between 2010 and 2011.

4 Based on most popular mobile phone (Samsung Galaxy S3, £499.99) according to, most popular MP3 player (ipod Touch 8GB, £159.99) according to Curry’s, most popular camera (Panasonic DMC TZ30EB-K, £289.99) according to Curry’s and most popular tent (Vango Icarus 500, £260) according to Cotswold Outdoors.

5 Available to new customers who have been claim free for at least five years on their existing policy and who buy a year’s insurance policy online. Proof of no claims status is required. Does not apply to optional extras. Minimum premium applies.

Notes to editors:

Aviva provides insurance, savings and investment products to 43 million customers worldwide.

We are the UK’s largest insurer with over 14 million customers and one of Europe’s leading providers of life and general insurance. We combine strong life insurance, general insurance and asset management businesses under one powerful brand. We are committed to serving our customers well in order to build a stronger, sustainable business, which makes a positive contribution to society, and for which our people are proud to work.

We are ranked as one of the UK’s top 10 most valuable brands and Aviva plc are in the top 10% of socially responsible companies globally in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index.  In 2011 we invested £5.3 million into our UK communities. One in three of our employees were involved in community investment activities which included giving nearly 33,000 hours. 

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