Travel insurance is there to protect people in the event of unforeseen accidents and minor tragedies that can befall anyone holidaying abroad. Most of us will never need to make a claim on our cover. But a minority will have cause to.

And, as far as an even smaller minority is concerned, if all the claims for lost property were to be believed, Florida would be knee-deep in video cameras and the beaches of the Cote d'Azur awash in Rolex watches.

The medical cover also attracts its share of fraudsters. Here are just two examples of criminal claims, taken from the files of insurer Home & Overseas:

A Glasgow man submitted more than 10 claims for pounds 2,500 tailor-made suits which he claimed had been lost in transit by various airlines. He used a pad of receipts he had acquired from a real tailor. He was caught after the police raided his home and discovered a cabinet full of claim forms and a leaflet entitled How to make pounds 2,000 on your holiday.

A London woman claimed for loss of sight in her left eye five times over a period of 18 months. The accidents she reported included a street attack in Tehran, falling off a chair while trying to get her suitcase out of the loft and having someone fall on her in a swimming pool. She pocketed more than pounds 100,000 from insurers before being caught and sentenced to 18 months in prison.