Contents and personal liability

Pickpocketing – what to do if your wallet gets stolen

INFORMATION
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Even in Swiss cities, it is possible to fall prey to pickpockets. Be especially vigilant in large crowds. Source: iStock / sestovic

It can happen anywhere – in busy shopping streets, on the tram or train, or when you're out sightseeing. Pickpocketing is not a rare phenomenon, even in Switzerland. If your wallet gets stolen, you need to act quickly. But what is the right thing to do? Comparis has put together a checklist for precisely this emergency.

Block your debit and credit cards

Make sure you block all your bank and credit cards before the thieves have chance to raid your bank account. To do this, you need to call your bank or credit card company. The number to call is stated on the card itself, so it's a good idea to make a note of it or store it on your mobile phone as soon as you receive your card.

Note that blocking a Maestro card is not usually free of charge. The fees charged by Swiss banks can often vary enormously. You may have to pay over 50 francs. In some cases, you may also be required to pay up to 40 francs for a replacement card. As for credit cards, there is usually no charge for blocking them, but you will need to pay for a replacement card.

Notify the police

You are advised to file a report with the police immediately after the theft. Ideally, this should be done at the police station closest to the scene of the crime. If you do not realize that your wallet has been stolen before you get home, you may, of course, also go to your local police station. You need to file the report so that you can apply for replacements of your official documents.

Identity card

When you report the theft to the police, your ID card is officially blocked and recorded in a police file. The card is invalidated and may no longer be used even if it is found again. New identity cards cost 70 francs for adults and 65 francs for children, including postage.

Driving licence 

You should report the loss of your driving licence as well. You can apply for a replacement from your local Road Traffic Office. The cost varies from 15 to 70 francs depending on the canton.

Public transport tickets and passes

Replacing the GA or the half-fare travelcard costs 30 francs each. The same amount is charged for point-to-point travel passes, e.g. for S-Bahn trains, tram or bus. Don't forget that the GA cannot be replaced a second time. You can no longer terminate it before it expires and request a refund of the remaining amount either.

Other cards

You are advised to make a list of any other cards and documents that were also in your wallet. These may include loyalty or reward cards, for instance, which can usually be replaced for free.

Cards that also function as credit cards should likewise be blocked as quickly as possible. Some providers may charge for replacements. For example, students may have to pay up to 25 francs to replace their student card.

Report the theft to your insurance provider

In case of simple theft, e.g. theft by trickery or pickpocketing, items with a monetary value (cash, loyalty/reward cards, season tickets, subscriptions) are not covered. What is covered up to a specified amount minus the deductible, however, is the wallet itself and the costs incurred for replacing or blocking documents and cards. 

In case of robbery, i.e. if violence is used or threatened, items with a monetary value, the wallet and the costs incurred due to the theft are covered. However, this amount is usually limited to a certain percentage of the total sum insured by the contents insurance policy or to a maximum amount.

In conclusion, we recommend that you report the theft to your contents insurance provider in any case. In order for the insurance to pay for the damage, your policy must include cover for simple theft away from home. What you cannot avoid is paying the deductible, which is usually 200 francs.

As you can see, there are quite a few things to sort out in order to limit the damage caused by a theft. One thing is certain: in addition to the loss of cash, you have considerable costs to contend with. According to calculations by Comparis, you can expect to face costs of over 350 francs for the theft of a wallet with average contents.

To prevent your pocket being picked, Comparis has put together some tips for you:

How to beat pickpockets

  • Never leave your purse or bag unattended.
  • Wear your purse/bag at the front if possible (this also applies to rucksacks, for instance, if you're in a crowd).
  • Only have as much cash on you as necessary.
  • Always carry some small change in your pockets to avoid having to take out your wallet all the time.
  • Don't put your wallet in an outside pocket, but stow it away instead.
  • Don’t make it obvious where you carry your wallet.
  • Make sure that all the pockets of your purse or bag are fastened.
  • Don't fall for attempts to distract you.

 

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