Insurance Blog

Posted: 05/10/20234,065 Views

Few things can make a trip turn sour more quickly than having your wallet or purse stolen on vacation. It’s bad enough if it happens in your hometown; it’s an entirely new level of stress when you’re in a foreign country. Suddenly, you’re without your money, your identification, or other important personal items. 

While you may be able to get assistance from local law enforcement, your country’s consulate, or your travel insurance provider if you experience theft abroad, the far better solution is to not become a victim in the first place. 

Top Tips to Repel Pickpockets

Don’t Be an Easy Target

There’s a reason that pickpockets often strike in tourist areas: the tourists. A pickpocket can spot a tourist from a mile away, and know they’ll be carrying pockets full of valuables, and their attention will be more focused on their surroundings than their security. This makes them easy targets for thieves. Luckily, you can beat the odds by following these steps:

  • Dress like a local – Don’t appropriate a different culture of course, but do your best to dress similarly to local people. Don’t stand out by wearing obvious tourist staples such as pants with a dozen pockets, or shirts emblazoned with imagery from your home country. The idea is to not draw attention to yourself. 
  • Leave the bling at home – Refrain from wearing flashy watches and jewelry. As stylish as they might be, they’re tempting targets for thieves. Stick to understated accessories that aren’t overly valuable, which brings us to our next point…
  • Don’t carry anything you can’t afford to lose – You probably don’t need your passport to go sightseeing, so leave it locked in the hotel safe. The same goes for all the cash you exchanged when you arrived. Take only what you need for the day, and nothing more. 

Behave Like You Belong

It’s not all about how you dress and what you carry. Making yourself less attractive to pickpockets also comes down to the way you carry yourself:

  • Act confident – Walk like your this is your hometown. If you act lost or distracted, you’ll attract more unwanted attention.
  • Be wary of anyone who bumps into you – This is often a ploy to swipe your wallet, or a way to distract you while you’re relieved of your possessions. 
  • Walk with your hands in your front pockets if you have something important in them. Thieves can’t steal what they can’t get to.
  • Keep your bag secure at all times – Don’t stand in a crowd with a backpack on your back, as it’s easy for someone to steal from it without you knowing. Bags should be both in your possession and in your line of sight at all times.

Use Theft-Resistant Gear

Money Belt

A money belt is a zippered fabric pouch that you wear around your waist under your clothes to carry valuables like cash, credit cards, your passport, etc. Since thieves can’t access it by reaching into a pocket or bag, they can’t get to your valuables. However, keep in mind that a money belt isn’t a substitute for a wallet. You can’t easily access things in it without reaching under your clothes. So, your best bet is to remove small amounts of cash in restroom stalls or other private places when necessary. 

Slash-Proof Bags

A common technique of thieves in crowded areas is to walk up, slash your bag open with a blade, and quickly run off into the crowd with your stolen items. The best way to combat this is with a slash-proof bag or purse. These bags are made from materials that are impervious to normal blades, and most also include RFID blocking technology that can prevent the skimming of sensitive information from the chips on your cards. Make sure that these bags also have slash-proof straps. 

How Travel Insurance Can Help

If you are a victim of theft, there are some ways that your travel insurance plan can assist you.

Some trip cancellation insurance plans can include a degree of theft protection with benefits like lost passport replacement or emergency cash transfer. Whether or not these coverages are included will depend entirely on the plan you select, so be sure to read the certificate wording prior to making a purchase.

Most travel medical insurance plans will not offer theft coverage. However, if you were to become injured in an altercation of some kind, it’s good to know that you would be able to get necessary medical treatment in a foreign country for an affordable price. After all, the last thing you want is to be robbed and then get stuck with an expensive medical bill.

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