Tips for if you have to make a claim

by Hannah Bird
(Aldershot, Hampshire, UK)

Travel Insurance companies do not make it easy to make a claim. They make you jump through hoops and provide pages of evidence.

To completely enjoy your trip and avoid any unexpected expenses it is best that you are prepared and know about how to make a claim and what documents you need to avoid your policy provider declining your claim.

What to do before you go traveling:

  • Obviously the first and most important thing to do when going traveling is to take out a decent travel insurance policy as mentioned above

    Ensure it covers all the items and activities you want and does not have a ridiculously large excess.

  • Try and keep the receipts of all the important and expensive items you are taking with you and keep the receipts in a safe place at home. Then if you need to make a claim for lost and stolen goods you will know exactly how much to claim for.

  • Declare any pre-existing medical conditions.

  • Take out travelers cheques instead of cash and keep the travelers cheque receipt safe.

    The receipt includes the travelers cheque serial number. This serial number makes it possible to replace your travelers cheques should they be lost or stolen.

  • Make a copy of the policy documents and keep them at home with a friend or relative in case you lose the original while traveling.

    What to do while you are traveling to try and prevent making an insurance claim:

  • Try and keep your valuables such as money and passport in a safe or safety deposit box if your hostel or hotel has one.

  • Do not carry all of your cash around with you.

  • Keep your room locked at all times.

  • Do not partake in dangerous activities not covered by your policy.

  • Do not take part in anything illegal as your policy will not cover this.

    What to do while you are away if your personal belongings or travelers cheques are lost or stolen:

  • You must report lost or stolen items to the local authorities within 24 hours of discovering the items are missing and ask them for a written report.

  • Collect as much information and evidence as you can as to what happened.

  • Contact your policy provider as soon as possible and ask them exactly what evidence you will need to get off the local authorities.

  • Keep a record of the dates and times you had correspondence with the insurance providers. Do not delete any e-mail correspondence with them.

    What to do if you need medical assistance while you are away:

  • Contact your policy provider using their 24 hour helpline, some providers will not accept responsibility for expenses until they are contacted.

  • Make sure the doctors provide a record of the treatment and medication you were given.

  • Try and get the doctors to sign a document listing your treatment and medication.

    What to do if you lose your passport:

  • Contact the local authorities and get a police report if possible.

  • Contact your policy provider and ask them for advice.

  • Contact the nearest Embassy or consulate.

  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides some useful information on what to do if you lose your passport: For British citizens: Foreign and Commonwealth Office

    What to do if your holiday is canceled, your holiday is cut short or if your baggage is damaged or lost during the flight:

  • Depending on the situation sometimes it is the responsibility of the airline to reimburse you rather than the insurance provider. So find this out by contacting both the airline and policy provider.

    How to make a claim:

  • Notify your policy holder as soon as possible.

    Check in your policy how soon you have to make a claim as usually there is a very limited time period providers allow you to make a claim.

    After this time has passed they will decline any claim you make.

  • Provide the policy provider with as much evidence as possible, make sure there is no way they can avoid paying out for your claim.

    Cover all of your bases by keeping receipts, reports and any written correspondence you have with them.

    The Travel Insurance Guide provides some useful information on making a claim and also has reviews of providers from people who have used them and had to make a claim:

    Travel Insurance Guide

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