If things go wrong during your holiday abroad, here’s what you should do.
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? Here are some common emergencies you might encounter, and how to handle them:
Get Insured Before You Fly
It’s not kiasu to purchase a travel insurance policy before your trip. 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.
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 monumental 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
Should 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, your American Express credit card has 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.
Whether you need emergency replacement for a stolen or need help finding the Singapore embassy in Nepal, help is just a phone call away.
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By Jehanne Teo
Starting out as a lifestyle writer, Jehanne currently writes for SingSaver.com.sg about saving money in everyday situations.