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Travel insurance claims
Understanding the Travel Insurance Claims Procedure

The way that you will be expected to make travel insurance claims will vary from insurance company to company. Making a travel insurance claim with some insurers will involve contacting them while you are on holiday while with others, you will make a claim when you return.

The most important thing to remember here is to READ your travel insurance claims procedure as it is outlined in your policy; this will ensure that making a travel insurance claim is easier for you as you will know exactly what to do. And, to make things even more simple, make sure to take copies of your travel insurance claims procedure, your policy, your reference number, and any relevant claims phone numbers with you when you go away so that you can move quickly if you have to.

Common travel insurance claims procedures

Some travel insurance claims will need to be made when you are still on holiday and some when you get back. A quick read through your policy documents will give you an idea of what you need to do if something adverse happens. In general terms, you will need to:

  • Contact your insurer immediately: If you are ill or have an accident and need to use your medical coverage on an emergency basis then you may need to contact your insurer as soon as the problem occurs. You should have an emergency medical number that you can use for this. This call alerts your insurer to the fact that you will be claiming and it can tell you what to do (which in itself can be useful if you are using a foreign health system). Some policies will also want to be notified immediately if you need to make a claim on legal liability.

  • Contact your insurer on your return: In all other cases, your insurer will probably ask you to make your claim when you return. Keep in mind that there may be a time limit on claims here, i.e. you may need to claim within 30 days. In many cases, you can call to put the claim in motion, but you may also need to submit a claims form and to submit relevant documentation to have your actual claim processed.

Remember that there may be different numbers to call for different types of claims. So, for example, if you have medical coverage then you will have an emergency helpline, and if you have legal coverage then there may be a separate legal number to call.   

Documentation required for making a travel insurance claim

There are various forms of documentation and evidence that you will need when you are making a travel insurance claim. These can vary from insurer to insurer according to each travel insurance claims procedure but, in basic terms, they could include:

  • Travel/accommodation documentation:  If your claim involves travel or accommodation then you may be asked to supply the original documents.

  • Receipts:  If you had to pay to sort out a problem (i.e. for a replacement passport or for medical treatment) then you will need the original receipts or proof of purchase to show how much you paid and for what.

  • Police Reference Numbers/Reports:  If you are claiming against a crime then you will need to produce a police reference number or a police report.

  • Luggage Reports:  If your luggage is lost or damaged by baggage handlers then the airport should give you a Property Irregularity Report (PIR).

  • Cancellation/Curtailment:  If you need to cancel or cut short a holiday due to your own illness or an illness to a close family member, then you will need to provide some form of medical report/certificate or death certificate if this is the issue.

  • Travel delays:  If you are claiming back costs due to travel delay (i.e. if your flight was cancelled) then you will need a letter from the carrier stating the original planned departure times and the delay/cancellation that caused the claim.

You will be able to find out exactly what you need to make your travel insurance claims from your policy documentation and/or the insurer themselves. It is handy to know this information in advance as it can help in making a travel insurance claim easier and quicker.

Being able to pull together all the documentation you need when something goes wrong will simply help the insurer speed up the travel insurance claims procedure. And, it also means that any travel insurance claims that you make stand a better chance of success, as making a travel insurance claim without the necessary documentation to hand can be difficult. So, take some time to read through your travel insurance claims procedure before you go as it will make things a lot easier!

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