It can be so reassuring to know that your travel insurance will come through for you if something unpleasant happens on your trip abroad. But how can you know your claim will be approved?
Seasoned travellers know that they have to keep their wits about them when on holidays or business or family trips, and that includes being mindful of how to claim on your travel insurance policy if anything goes wrong.
If you’re taking your very first trip overseas, you’ll probably be hyper-vigilant about making sure you do everything to great detail and that can only be a good thing. The more trips you take, the more relaxed you’ll be about the right things and you’ll still be cautious about the rest.
Read these tips that you may want to keep them in mind for your next trip away.
- Advise your insurer as soon as possible. The moment something happens that you think will result in a travel insurance claim, contact your insurer to alert them. They can establish a case and you can then continue to provide information as it comes to hand. Your insurer will also be able to advise on what they’ll need from you and any other action you should take to be safe or less inconvenienced.
- Report insurable events to local authorities. Even if you’re not sure if you’ll be able to make a claim on your travel insurance, it’s important to report it anyway. This is wise for accidents, injuries, damages caused by yourself, theft and losses.
- Be sure to get everything in writing. The more information you can provide as proof of what went wrong or who said what to whom, the stronger your case will be. Ask for written police and medical reports, lost and found department reports, keep any emails from airlines, tour operators, hotels, car rental companies and other involved parties.
- Keep your receipts. Having the right supporting documentation when making travel insurance claims is essential. You’ll need receipts for repairs of damaged goods, tickets and bookings you’ve paid for, medical attention and even meals and accommodation if you’ve been stranded in an airport terminal and leave to get a good night’s sleep. Take photos of the receipts too so they’re on your phone, just in case the hard copies get lost. Digital copies will also be much easier to upload when posting your claim online.
- Pay via digital means. It’s better if you can use your EFTPOS, debit or credit card to pay for expenses involved in making a travel insurance claim. That way, even if you lose your receipts, you’ll still have proof of purchases and payments on your statements.
- Track your dates. Start a log of what happens when. You can do this on your mobile phone, in a diary, a notebook or via email (simply email yourself and keep adding to the email when something new happens).
Sometimes, what your travel insurance won’t cover, your private health fund may. You may have insurance attached to your credit cards or automobile club. You may be able to claim on your extended warranty on damaged luggage, electronics or sporting goods. If your travel insurer refuses all or part of your claim, see what you may be entitled to from the others.
H3 How to avoid things going wrong with your claim
Don’t make the rookie mistake of thinking that just because you have a policy, you’ll be covered for ‘everything’. Naturally when you’re planning your trip, you find yourself becoming very busy making bookings, comparing hotels, organising your itinerary and locking in dates.
Many people, when booking through websites that offer multiple products such as flights, hotels and car hire, simply accept the travel insurance policy that is offered to them in the checkout process. It seems so easy, right? Well sure, but shouldn’t you read what’s included in case you need to claim?
That’s another mistake; people purchase insurance thinking they’ll never have to claim. That’s like buying a car and believing you’ll never have to buy new tyres for it. Things do go wrong and you simply can’t foresee every possibility.
It is always better to be safe than sorry (or uninsured).
- Know your policy. It bears repeating … read the PDS before purchasing.
- Purchase according to your needs. If you’re heading to the snow, buy a Snow Pack policy. If you’re going on a cruise, pick up a Cruise Pack. Adventure seekers need to ensure their policy covers them for adrenaline-fuelled activities and those intending to visit notorious pick-pocketing cities should find out if the value of their possessions will be reimbursed if they become victims.
- Declare anything pre-existing. You are probably already aware that you have to declare any pre-existing medical conditions, but did you know you cannot claim on pre-existing natural disasters either? If an emergency situation, for instance, is declared before you purchase your policy, then you won’t be able to make travel insurance claims on issues that arise as a result of it.
- Don’t travel to high risk areas if you don’t really have to. Do you really need to drive through Pakistan? Should you venture over the border into Syria on your holiday in Turkey? Be aware that your policy may exclude coverage for specific places, even if they are within spitting distance of places that are covered.
No one wants to have to deal with travel insurance claims during or at the end of their overseas trip. It would be lovely if every day away from home was relaxing, fun, stress-free and devoid of any criminal or health problems.
Sadly, insurance exists because life is not always a bowl of cherries and you can’t stay cloistered away in your home just in case something happens. Do a little research, find the right policy for your needs, drop some money on it and enjoy great peace of mind. Oh, and bon voyage!