What to Do If You Lose Your Passport While Travelling

A guide on what to do if your Canadian passport is lost or stolen when travelling abroad.

A passport is one of the most important documents a traveller carries. Travel insurance is up there too. But if your Canadian passport is lost or stolen while travelling, will your travel insurance come to your aid?

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What to Do If You’re Travelling and Your Passport Goes Missing

If your passport is no longer in your possession, let’s first start with what the Government of Canada requires you to do: Report the loss or theft of your passport to the nearest Government of Canada office abroad. After you do so, your passport will be immediately invalidated to ensure it cannot be used fraudulently.

Since you’re now without a passport, you’ll need to apply for a new one. Under normal circumstances, applying for a Canadian passport outside of the country can be a lengthy process, but losing your passport abroad or having it stolen is anything but ordinary. Fortunately, there are ways to expedite the process since most travellers in this circumstance would need help quickly.

For times like these, the embassy or consulate you contact “can issue an emergency travel document or temporary passport if you are in urgent, proven need and are stranded in a foreign country.”

That’s not to say you’ll receive a new passport on the spot. You’ll need to complete a few forms, provide new photos, proof of citizenship and identity, as well as pay the fees charged. You may also need to enlist the help of someone at home if you don’t have all the necessary documents handy.

Does Travel Insurance Help You with a Lost Passport?

You’re stressed, you’ve lost your passport, and scrambling to get everything in order for a replacement. Will your travel insurance help you out of this jam? It’s a good idea to give your travel insurer a call to see what services or coverages are available to you.

Emergency medical travel health insurance

If you’ve purchased a travel insurance policy that only covers emergency medical health insurance costs (an essential for all travellers), it’s unlikely any costs for losing your passport will be covered. It’s outside of the scope of what you’ve bought. However, some policies include travel concierge services that may provide guidance on how to best navigate the process of getting a temporary passport.

Baggage insurance

If your travel policy has baggage insurance (for times when your luggage is lost in transit or delayed in arriving), this optional add-on generally includes coverage to help with the replacement cost of travel documents. Coverage typically ranges from $100 to $200. However, you need to read the fine print. Some policies will only cover costs if your passport is stolen, and you’ve submitted a police report, while others will provide coverage for both loss and theft.

Trip interruption insurance

Trip interruption insurance is typically bundled with trip cancellation insurance. Together these two coverages ensure that you're financially protected if you need to cancel your trip before you leave or cut your trip short.

In the case of a lost passport, however, trip interruption insurance could also help cover some of your costs if you need to stay longer while you await your replacement passport to make the trip back home. Unfortunately, many trip cancellation and interruption policies do not include this particular feature, but it is available. For reasons like this, it’s key to compare quotes for the best price but also coverage options when shopping around for travel insurance.

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