What to do when your baggage gets stolen on a German train
Generally, I consider Germany a safe country to travel. But from my own experience I now know that there are thieves of opportunity in Germany as well. Theft of my suitcase could have easily been prevented if I had not left it unattended during the trainride. We all know better and it made me feel rather silly. Luckily it was only a bag of old clothes and shoes. But now I’ve been through the process and I can tell you what you need to know and do in case your luggage ever gets stolen on a train in Germany.
Check every bathroom on the train
When I realized my suitcase was gone, I notified the train conductor. He checked the entire train with me – luckily it was the final station. Apparently, some thieves only go through the luggage and take valuables but leave the cases in the train bathrooms. If you don’t find it there, go to step 2.
If you had valuables in your baggage, file a police report. There is a police station at every major train station in Germany. The paperwork takes at least an hour to complete, but you will need the police report for your insurance claim. If you didn’t have any valueables packed in your stolen luggage maybe you won’t be filing an insurance claim. In that case you may choose to wait a day or two and file a police report online then. This is in case it turns up in Lost & Found.
Lost & Found report
Deutsche Bahn, the train company, has counters at major stations. Ironically, the customer service counter will send you to the information counter with missing luggage matters. Save yourself the hike and go straight to the information desk at the train station. They have a form you can fill out, describing your missing luggage and noting what train it went missing on.
The agent explained to me that sometimes thieves take the baggage off the train to go trough it. When they don’t find anything valueable they can easily sell, they leave it nearby. Often, cleaners find those items and take them to Lost & Found.
They will contact you if they find it, but you can also follow up yourself. Have the agent give you the number of the local lost and found.
Notify your travel insurance
Finally, file your travel insurance claim along with a copy of your police report. The process will depend on your insurance company. Before you fill out the claim form, make sure your policy includes lost baggage. Sometimes, this is an add-on you can opt-out or in for when buying travel insurance.
Learn from the experience
For future journeys remember to never leave your luggage unattended. And now it’s time to go shopping and buy some new clothes!