Sometimes in the midst of adventuring, bad things happen. In October of 2017 I found myself in the unfortunate position of needing to file a police report in Hanoi, Veitnam for a lost GoPro. In order for travel insurance to kick in and cover the cost, I had to file a police report to document the case. However, when I researched this process online, there was a lot of outdated, apparent misinformation about the process.
If you have the misfortune of being in this situation, I am sorry. It sucks. But, it’s not as bad as it seems! I read online that the police would be hesitant to file the report, that you would have to pay a fee, and that no one would want to help. This couldn’t be further from the truth (at least not in the tourist-friendly area of the Old Quarter, Hanoi.)
This is what you need to bring to the police station:
- English and Vietnamese statements
I wrote my statement in English, and then asked our hotel staff to translate it into Vietnamese. It may be helpful to use Google Translate first, and then ask the staff to revise it from there. Don’t use colorful language or go into much detail… the police don’t care. I recommend writing, “it was lost” or “I fell off my motorbike at such and such time, at such and such location.”
- Hotel or hostel business card or information
This can come in handy if there is a translation issue or to confirm your story. We didn’t end up needing this, but it is good to have just in case.
- List of items lost and the cost of each
Obviously this only applies if you lost an item, like we did. It was good to look up the cost of everything beforehand so that it’s written on the police statement in addition to what you write on your insurance claim.
In Hanoi, we went to the station at the intersection of Hang Dau and Hang Cot near Hang Dau Water Tank and had a great experience. It took over an hour because they had to get an interpreter from the fancy hotel nearby and wait for the appropriate person to fill out the paperwork, but it was relatively seamless. We walked over to the Hanoi Super Hotel and there was a very nice gentleman there who helped us fill out the forms and translate our statements. If you are staying somewhere else in the Old Quarter, try going to the station on Hang Quat just east of Hang Hom. It’s not marked in English, but it’s there.
Hopefully if you are in this situation, you can get reimbursed through your insurance. Because I came prepared, I was able to get reimbursed for every item lost. Let me know about your experience and if you have any other tips for travelers out of luck!