Stay safe and enjoy your holiday more. By Jehanne Teo
Photo: Alexey Poprotsky / www.123rf.com
It’s every Singaporean’s nightmare to get mugged or lose a passport while traveling. If not for the traumatic experience, you’ll probably dread the inconvenience you’ll have to go through to prevent any further damages. If you ever find yourself destitute whilst travelling, what can you do? First things first: It’s wise to purchase a travel insurance policy before you travel. Sure, you might not want to pay an extra S$30 on top of your flights and accommodation, but you’d wish you had made the decision to get a travel insurance coverage when you lose your luggage, get your wallet stolen, have your flight delayed by a day, etc.
Some travel credit cards automatically grant you a complimentary travel insurance policy when you charge your travel fares on them. So if you’re not willing to pay, you might want to look into getting an air miles credit card. Simply purchase your air tickets with your card and get free travel accident insurance of up to S$350,000.
Here are some common travel emergencies you might encounter, and how to handle them.
When You Get Mugged
Cancel all your credit and debit cards immediately. The sooner you do it, the less likely the thief or whoever finds your wallet would be able to use it. Banks require you to report the loss or theft within a reasonable time period, or you might be held liable for any charges. Visit the nearest local police station to make a report of the theft and keep a copy of the report. This is to show the bank or insurance firm that a crime was committed. Call your travel insurance agent and report the loss, especially if you have cash that was stolen. Check the transaction history to see if any unauthorised charges were being made to your credit card. If there are, call your bank immediately to raise a dispute on these charges.
When You Lose a Passport
If you hold a Singapore passport, it is crucial that you report it as soon as possible. Under the Passport Act (Cap 220), a lost Singapore passport must be reported within 14 days.
First, you’ll have to make a police report and keep a copy of it as your supporting document. You’ll then need to visit the nearest Singapore overseas mission to get a Document of Identity, which is the document that will help you get back to Singapore. Once you’re in Singapore, apply for a replacement passport at the Immigrations and Checkpoint Authority.
When a Crisis Arises in the Country
If you know that you’re visiting a country on the brink of a crisis breakout, or to just play it safe, register your contact details and travel itinerary with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Consular Services three days before you travel. This will allow the Singapore overseas missions to get a hold of you to offer assistance in time of need.
Otherwise, contact your travel insurance agent immediately to inform them of your status and the help you need. Or report to the nearest Singapore overseas mission to seek help.
Or Just Get Access to a Global Assistance Hotline
If the worst happens, American Express cardholders have a major advantage that other cardholders don’t: access to the American Express Global Assist. This special service allows all Amex cardholders to contact a customer care professional 24/7, for any concern whatsoever – even if it’s something completely unrelated to your credit card.
A version of this article originally appeared on , a personal finance comparison site with useful tips and guides to empower everyone in Singapore to make sound financial decisions.