Being a victim of crime abroad can turn a dream holiday into a living nightmare. But there are things you can do to try and avoid it, including taking out adequate Direct Line Travel Insurance.
Before you go
Wherever you are going on holiday it’s worth reading up on the area first, as much for your security as for tips on what to see and do. While a travel guidebook or website can give you basic information, it may not stay exactly up to date. It is therefore advisable to check out the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) website when you know where you may want to go, and directly before you depart. Each country-by-country guide includes advice on political and social situations, including security warnings about any theft hotspots and the type of crime that’s prevalent there. For instance, car crime and pickpocketing in airports and on the metro is something to watch out for in France, while the Bahamas is a hotspot for lost and stolen passports. In many countries, the levels of crime are rising too, especially in concentrated tourist destinations where thieves see visitors as rich pickings.
For optimum security and peace of mind, it is essential that you take out travel insurance before you go. We offer a range of cover including Annual, Single Trip and Discoverer Travel Insurance that can be personalised (by geographical area, persons covered, specific valuables cover, etc). However, with each there are certain terms and conditions relating to security that need to be understood before you go away. For example if the FCO have advised that UK citizens should not travel to a country then your Travel Insurance will not be valid there. You can read more about this and other conditions in the Travel Insurance Policy Documents online.
If you are going to be driving abroad then you also need to make sure you are adequately insured for this. Holders of Direct Line Car Insurance have several options. We can issue you with an annual Green Card. This gives you the minimum insurance for the country you are visiting, which is the equivalent or less of our Third Party Insurance. Or we can give you a maximum of 90 days Foreign Use Extension on your Comprehensive or Third Party Fire & Theft Policy for a small charge (trips for three days or less are free). You can find out more about these terms and conditions and about what is covered by visiting our policy documents online. For those who will be driving in Europe, our two levels of European Breakdown Cover offer insurance against a range of incidents including car and personal theft.
While you’re there
Most advice for staying secure abroad is common sense but top tips include:
Avoid dodgy areas (often flagged up by guidebooks or the FCO), especially by yourself and after dark. If you do go out alone, tell someone where you are going and when you will be back.
Take a combination of currency and cards and/or travellers cheques and keep them separately on your person (hidden body wallets are advised) or in secured accommodation (a safety deposit box, not your room!) to distribute the risk.
Plastic money such as credit or debit card can be used in an increasing number of destinations today but card fraud and theft is also more common so be extra vigilant whenever you use this method to pay. If in doubt, don’t!
Don’t leave valuable items in your car. Thieves are always on the lookout for easy targets and in some cases won’t think twice about breaking in. Some thieves also target key areas such as campsites. Some may even try to snatch stuff while you are at a traffic light so it can be wise to lock doors while on the move.
Keep valuables such as cameras and phones out of view, where possible. And don’t leave them lying around on beaches or on table restaurants. They will walk and you won’t be complying with the Direct Line Travel Insurance terms and conditions!
Your passport is your key in and out of a country so guard it with care. Keep a copy of this and all your important documents (tickets, insurance, travellers cheque serial numbers) in a separate place so that if you do need to advise police or consul of a theft or loss, you have all the details you need.
The FCO can advise you of your nearest consul and about theft protocol in case of emergency, but do keep a list of helpful and emergency numbers – including assistance hotlines for travel, car or European breakdown cover – to hand. A list of Direct Line contact numbers is on our website.