What happens if you suffer theft or crime abroad
How to deal with theft or crime when you are abroad.
Image: AP Photo - Mike Derer
Travelling abroad increasingly makes you a target of criminals. Here are six tips on how to stop it happening and what to do if disaster strikes.
1) Always check the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website before you leave
The FCO gives regular updates for scores of countries, including types of crime and even cities where it is more prevalent. Find out more here.
2) Take out the right insurance cover
In particular, check for:
- Maximum individual limits on each item you can claim for
- Excesses: if the excess is £50 an item, that's £50 for the camera, £50 for the money, £50 for the passport and so on
- Whether cash is included and how much
- Whether loss is covered along with theft
- Whether 24-hour emergency assistance is available
3) Keep a record of any highly expensive item you take abroad
One of the most common disputes between policyholders and insurers is over the actual existence of the item and what it cost to buy.
So, if you are planning to take an expensive item of jewellery abroad or a costly camera/video recorder, make sure you have a picture of it at home, along with purchase receipts.
4) Keep your valuables safe at all times
This is defined by the Financial Ombudsman Service as a 'reasonable' duty of care. It means, for example, keeping valuables in the hotel safe or, if unavailable, in a locked suitcase hidden out of sight in your room.
The more valuable the item, the more care you must take - there is legal precedent that backs this view.
5) Report all theft and loss swiftly
If any property is lost or stolen, report it immediately to the local police. Get an incident report number or similar document as proof that you have reported the loss.
On package holidays, you must also report the theft/loss to the hotel management and/or the travel rep. If possible, obtain a report of the theft from them.
The same applies for loss or theft at the airport, make sure you report it then. Obtain a receipt from the airline or baggage handler in the event of loss or damage.
6) If you need to claim
- Go through the small print and work out what you can claim for
- Provide all supporting documentation to back what you say. This includes receipts, photographs, copies of any police or medical reports you have
- Always send copies to the insurer in place of the originals. If originals are needed, always send them by recorded delivery
- Keep all correspondence between yourself and the company, plus records of every phone call, the name of the individual you spoke to and the time you spoke to them
- If your claims is rejected or scaled down you should first appeal against the decision, producing additional evidence. The Financial Ombudsman Service can help: you have the right to complain to the FOS and your insurer ought to make you aware of that
Please note that articles on MSN Money do not constitute regulated financial advice, which recommends a course of action based upon the specifics of your personal circumstances. The articles are intended to provide general personal financial information. We urge you to consult an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) before making any important decisions about your finances. You can search for an IFA in your local area. Any statement regarding financial services products and tax liability is based on legislation and tax practices as at 6 April 2011, which is, of course, subject to change. The value of any tax benefits or reliefs depends upon the individual circumstances of the investor. When investment performance is mentioned you should remember that past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Where products have an underlying investment content, in many cases the value of the investment can fall as well as rise. For with-profit based investments, there is no guarantee as to the level of bonuses that will be declared, if any. Where mortgages or secured loans are explained do remember that your home is at risk if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or other loan secured on it. All mortgages are subject to underwriting, status and are not available to people under the age of 18.
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