Emergency travel documents (ETD) are provided to British travellers as last-minute replacements for lost, stolen, damaged passports abroad. Between April 2014 and March 2015, the FCO provided 37,890 emergency travel documents to Brits abroad. Over 20,600 passports were also reported as lost or stolen.
It costs at least £167.50 to replace a lost or stolen passport abroad. Obtaining an ETD costs £95, (plus travel costs to the embassy or consulate, replacement photographs and, any replacement visas you may need for your journey) and when you get back to the UK, the fee for an adult replacement passport is £72.50.
Most travel insurance policies provide some cover for the costs associated with obtaining emergency travel documents while you are abroad. However, policies generally don’t cover the cost of replacing your passport when you return to the UK.
Insurers will expect you to treat your passport as a valuable and keep it safe – either on your person or in a locked room or safe. They will generally exclude cover if the passport has been stolen while unattended, this includes leaving it in a parked car unless the passport is stowed out of sight in a boot or other storage compartment.
If your passport is lost or stolen, you will need to obtain a report from the local police. You will need this to obtain replacement travel documents. You will also have to arrange new passport photographs and visit the local British consulate or embassy to complete the necessary ETD paperwork. You will also need to cancel your missing passport to prevent someone else using it.
Insurers also require you to report the theft or loss to the police, usually within 24 hours of discovery and obtain a written police report. You may also have to notify your insurer of the loss within a specific timeframe, again typically 24 hours. To support your claim, your insurer will ask for receipts for any expenses – such as travel to and from the embassy – relating the purchase of emergency travel documents.
The message? Keep your passport safe! Tom Lewis, travel insurance spokesman at Gocompare.com advises keeping “it in a secure bag or inside pocket. If you don’t need it with you, for example if you’re spending a day on the beach, leave it in a hotel safe.”
“The FCO advises travellers to take two photocopies of their passport and to leave one with someone at home and take the other with you, keeping it separate from the original. So, if you are unfortunate enough to be parted from your passport, the copy documents will help the process of obtaining new documents quicker and easier.”