More than one in five SME employees who travel with tech have damaged it

  • 19 per cent of SME employees who have travelled or worked at a different location with business technology have lost it, while 14 per cent had it stolen.
  • Mobile phones were the most common item lost, damaged or stolen (50 per cent), followed by laptops (34 per cent) and tablets (24 per cent).
  • SME employees expect to be carrying an average of £1,113 in business technology with them on their travels now Covid-19 restrictions have been relaxed.

More than one in five small business employees (22 per cent) who travel with business-owned technology have damaged it, according to new research from Direct Line business insurance.1Almost a fifth (19 per cent) of these workers have lost equipment while travelling or working at a different location, while 14 per cent said that it had been stolen from them.

The most common item of business-owned technology to be lost, damaged or stolen was a mobile phone (50 per cent), followed by laptops (34 per cent) and tablets (24 per cent).

The reasons for damaging or losing business-owned technology are diverse. 27 per cent said that they had dropped or knocked the item, 18 per cent accidentally left it somewhere and it was never found or returned, while one in ten dropped liquid or food on it. Perhaps most worrying is the finding that more than one in twenty (7 per cent) had their technology damaged by another colleague.

The figures are concerning because small business employees expect to be travelling much more now Covid-19 restrictions have been relaxed. Nearly a third (30 per cent) said they would be using shared workspaces, while 19 per cent stated that they would be travelling to a work event or conference and16 per cent said that they would work from a bar, café, or pub. On average, these professionals expect to spend nearly a whole working week (4.9 days) a month operating from outside their place of work or desk at home.

They also expect to be carrying an expensive amount of business-owned technology. The average worker will carry £1,113 while travelling or commuting, with nearly one in ten (9 per cent) stating that they’d be taking £2,000-£2,999 worth of business equipment with them.

Promisingly, many small business workers and their employers are taking extra precautions to protect their work technology now that they will be travelling more and operating from different locations:

Precautions to minimise the risk of loss, damage, or theft of business technology – Direct Line business insurance, 2022


Percentage of small business employees or employers doing this

Ensuring that items aren’t left unattended


37 per cent

Ensuring items are never left in a vehicle overnight

32 per cent

Using protective casing on items

26 per cent

Taking out insurance to cover items while travelling to different locations

19 per cent

Lock away items in lockers or safes if leaving them unattended at a location that’s not my workplace or home

16 per cent

Alison Traboulsi, Product Manager at Direct Line business insurance stated:

“Our research shows that small business employees have frequently lost, damaged or had business-owned technology stolen. This is concerning as they are going to be travelling more often for work purposes now that Covid-19 restrictions have been relaxed.

It is important that small businesses ensure that they have the appropriate insurance arrangements in place if company-owned technology is lost, stolen or damaged. Our Business Tech Essentials service offers new for old replacement of essential tech, such as mobiles and laptops, within 24 hours of claim approval. The service is included with Business Contents cover for Retail, Hair and Beauty and B&B as well as with Electrical Items cover for Office and Professional customers. It is also included with the Property Away from the Premises add on.”

To claim a replacement, all customers need to do is get in touch with the claims team between 8am – 6pm from Monday to Friday except Bank holidays. Cover and claim limits apply.

For more information on Direct Line’s Business Tech Essentials service, please visit our webpage here:


(1) Opinium, Business Travel in 2022, 1st-5th April 2022 - Nationally representative survey of 2,000 UK adults, 1,231 of whom worked for a small business.

Direct Line Group

Unni Henry

Marketing Practitioner

Email: [email protected]

About Direct Line business insurance

Launched in 2007 Direct Line business insurance now has over half a million customer policies, providing a flexible range of insurance products for the landlord, van and small business sectors.

Direct Line business insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line business insurance and U K Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line business insurance products or get a quote by calling 0345 301 4827 or visiting