Theft from your hotel room: who is responsible?

October 31, 2014

What's a sure-fire way to ruin your next trip? Having your stuff stolen. So who's responsible if the theft occurs in your hotel room? And how can you help prevent it from occurring?

Theft from your hotel room: who is responsible?

Nothing puts an end to a holiday faster than having your possessions pinched, especially from your hotel room. If ever you're the victim of theft, likely you'll be left wondering who's responsible and how you could have prevented it. Here's some advice that might help.

Understand the hotel's liability

As a general rule, hotels have limited liability when it comes to theft. You’ve probably seen signs that say "hotel is not responsible for lost or stolen items" posted in the lobby.

  • Although it might seem unfair, you will likely not get compensated for the full amount of the item unless you can prove negligence on the part of the hotel.
  • Proving whether an item was lost or stolen can be difficult. Either way, it’s within your rights to ask hotel management to explain the limits of their liability if it isn’t posted in clear view.
  • Keep in mind that if you leave items in the direct care of the hotel and something happens to them – for example, you check your bags with the front desk before your room is ready and they are stolen – then full compensation should be possible.

Take steps to protect your belongings

The best course of action is to take preventative measures to avoid this frustrating scenario. You should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the room have a dead bolt lock and peephole?
  • Are the locks on the windows and doors secure?
  • Is the hotel located in a high crime area?
  • Does the hotel have limited access to the public?
  • Is the room equipped with modern, electronic locks? Typically, these locks will automatically change the combination for each new guest, which greatly lessens the chance of a duplicate key. If you lose your key, contact the front desk immediately.
  • Does your room come with a safe? Unfortunately, a safe isn’t the end-all protection you might think it is, as theft can still occur. Not all safes are created equal.

Better safe than sorry

There are a few other considerations to keep in mind when travelling.

  • It’s always a good idea to make copies of any important documents that you bring along with you, including: passports, airline tickets and credit cards.
  • You should also take pictures of any valuable jewellery, luggage or other items. This may expedite the process for insurance claims.

With that in mind, it’s smart to check your home insurance policy as you might already have some protection when travelling, known as off-premises coverage.

  • You need to know the deductible and what percentage of the insured value will be covered if ever you need to make a claim.

Don’t let the possibility of having your hotel room burgled and your belongings stolen ruin your next vacation. By taking a few simple precautions, selecting a hotel that has your safety in mind, and by being prepared with the right insurance if the unlikely should occur, all you'll have to do is to enjoy your very best holiday ever!

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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