Travel Insurance and Identity Theft: What You Need to KnowMarch 12th, 2013
This morning, news broke of a major identity theft crisis affecting many prominent celebrities and politicians. With the spattering of their social security numbers, credit scores, account information, and other sensitive data across a hacker’s website, the privacy and security of the affected individuals was essentially rendered null and void.
Identity theft is a frightening thing; it’s a crime that crosses barriers and can impact literally anyone, anywhere. It’s also a crime that can be among the top concerns of some travelers, who worry that when they’re away from home, carrying important identifying documents like passports and visas, a single incident of petty theft could turn into an identity theft nightmare. Luckily, the travel insurance industry is evolving to keep up with the times.
Travel insurance can’t, obviously, prevent you from becoming a victim of identity theft. However, there are some plans now on the market that offer a specialized coverage to help mitigate any damage that could be done by identity thieves. The benefits are unique, because they don’t involve any kind of financial reimbursement like other types of travel insurance. Instead, identity theft coverage purchased through your travel insurance provider would give you access to expert services to help you monitor and resolve any issues arising from possible identity theft while you’re traveling.
How does it work?
Your travel insurance company, upon being alerted of the possibility that your identity had been stolen, would assist you in registering the incident with all appropriate authorities. Through a series of detailed questions, they would help determine conclusively, to the best of their ability, whether or not there was in fact any breach of your personal security, and provide you with information about resolving the issue and preventing further damage.
If it’s determined that you have been the victim of identity theft while traveling, your insurance company would then provide you with the appropriate forms for documentation and reporting so you can file records with all the pertinent parties — including the authorities, credit bureaus, and financial institutions. Depending on the terms of your coverage, they would also assist you in submitting the forms and contacting the appropriate people at each agency, or they would take care of those tasks for you.
Once all the paperwork is taken care of, your insurance company would then help you undertake preventive measures, like enrolling you in a credit monitoring service, freezing or cancelling your credit cards, and issuing new ones. You may also receive status reports from the travel insurance company for a predetermined length of time, to help keep you informed about the progress of the resolution measures.
Lastly, if your particular case of identity theft involved the loss of any personal documents, like passports or driver’s licenses, your travel insurance provider may help you with the process of replacing those documents. They may also, depending on the terms of your policy, continue to follow up with creditors and financial institutions for a period of time after the filing of your claim in order to make sure that everything is fully resolved and there’s no further damage done.
As the world evolves, travel evolves; as travel evolves, travel insurance benefits must keep pace. The development of new products to help travelers maintain as much security and peace of mind as possible is good news for everyone. If you’re concerned about the possibility of identity theft on your next trip, make sure to ask a licensed travel insurance provider about the types of coverage we’ve discussed, so you can be fully protected against the latest threat to travel safety.