Those who have lost their passports before can tell you what a stressful experience it is. Your passport is your main form of identification when you are abroad. Losing your passport, therefore, is almost like losing your identity.
Don’t let it happen – How to keep your passport safe while traveling
Prevention. Some simple steps you can take while you travel, to minimize any chances of losing your passport, are:
- Always leave your passport in a locked safe in the hotel room. Carry a copy with you if you need it while you are out and about.
- Keep your passport separate from your wallet or purse, preferably in a closed inside pocket or sleeve of your bag.
- Ensure that you have travel insurance that covers lost or stolen passports.
If you ever find yourself in a situation (hopefully not) where you have lost your passport or it is stolen, here’s a look at what you can do:
Well, it happened anyway! – What to do if your passport is lost or stolen
Once you find that your passport is missing, do the following immediately:
- Report it to the local police. The sooner the appropriate authorities are made aware of the situation, the higher your chances of getting it back.
- Inform your embassy or consulate. The embassy will report the passport as stolen to prevent others from using your identity and start necessary procedures to issue a new passport or temporary travel document.
- Contact your travel insurance company and report your passport lost.
How your insurance can help you
Most travel insurance policies cover lost or stolen passports. If you lose your passport before you begin your travel, the insurance will normally reimburse those parts of your trip expenses that are non-refundable. If your passport is lost during your travels, your insurance policy will typically cover the following:
- Reimbursement for unused hotel expenses, tickets or other travel arrangements.
- Additional transportation costs you incur.
- Fees or other costs charged by the embassy to replace your passport.
- Other additional expenses incurred as a result of the lost passport.
Travel insurance companies will often have a 24 hour hotline to help travelers make additional arrangements. What is covered will differ from policy to policy, so make sure you read all the fine print in the document before you buy the insurance.
In order to process your claim, the Insurer will normally ask for a police report. All claims you make must be substantiated by receipts, payment slips and other documentation that shows the amount paid and the date of payment.