What Should I Do If I'm Mugged Abroad?

What Should I Do If I'm Mugged Abroad?

Dear Essential Travel,
I am travelling to Spain next week and I’m really looking forward to it, but I have heard quite a few stories about tourists being mugged there. It’s a horrible thing to even think about, but is there anything I can do if it happens to me? Sarah Baker, Newcastle

Dear Sarah,
Travel abroad should be an exciting and stress-free experience. The idea of falling victim to crime whilst travelling is not something anyone wants to consider, but sadly it’s a reality you might have to face. There are various steps that can be taken to ensure your security or help you deal with the hassles of a mugging. We’ve compiled an in-case-of guide to keep you out of predicaments and on the way to your favourite destination.

In Case Of...

Stolen Luggage, Sports/Business Equipment or Laptops

In the event that you are a victim of such a mugging, it is essential that you report it to the local police within 24 hours or as soon as possible. If you have travel insurance, you will need a police statement to be financially compensated for your loss. If you replace any items, be sure to retain the receipts in order to be able to claim from your insurance.

Stolen Passport

Stolen (or lost) passports can be replaced by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). You will need to inform local police immediately and obtain a report in order for the FCO to issue the emergency single journey document, and for insurance purposes. You can either contact the nearest British Embassy or Consulate in that country, or the FCO Consular Assistance Team in London that operates 24 hours a day: 020 7008 1500/+44 20 7008 1500 (from abroad).

Credit Card Fraud Or Theft

In the event that your credit card is stolen, contact your bank immediately to report it. Banks can often put a 24 hour hold on the account to prevent others from accessing funds, while providing you with time to find it if you have perhaps merely lost it.

A simple way to alleviate hassle if your card is stolen is to have a copy of the front and back of your card, as a record of your account details and the emergency number. This information should be kept secure along with extra copies of your passport and flight tickets. It is also advisable to inform your bank before departure of your travel plans, this well ensures that the account is not suspended for abnormal activity. For more tips on preventing credit card fraud see "How Can I Prevent Credit Card Fraud?"

Injuries Sustained In A Mugging

Your travel insurance policy should cover in-patient hospital treatment as well as emergency and other expenses that result from a mugging. It is vital to retain all medical bills and to get a report from local police of the incident and injuries sustained.

Prior to travelling in Europe, you can apply for a European Health Insurance Card, which will cover any medical treatment you may require in many countries across Europe. Patients are provided with the same services as nationals of that country and medical bills are greatly reduced or free. The card lasts five years and is free of charge. Apply at ehic.org.uk. Travellers should also keep note of the toll-free European emergency services number 112.

Helpful Hint

Travel Insurance is essential for anyone travelling abroad. Comprehensive policies can provide insurance specific to your needs, from cover for backpackers to business professionals or soon-to-be married couples going abroad for the big day. When purchasing travel insurance, be sure to ascertain the cost of the insurance, the amount you will be able to claim back and the excess you will need to pay. For more info on a selection of travel insurance options, check out the Essential Travel Travel Insurance page.

Remember to call 112 in an emergency and safe travels!

Last Updated: April 2012

Caitlin Murphy

Caitlin Murphy

Having grown up in a small city at the bottom of Africa, Caitlin couldn't wait to experience more of the world's diversity. She spent the last few years living in the Emirates and Korea and sought out colour and charisma in countries such as India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. She currently lives in Cape Town, taking every opportunity to travel locally and explore the exuberance of South Africa.