Travel Insurance Claims and how to make them
If you are unlucky enough to need to make a claim under your travel policy, then you will need to know the claim procedure. This does of course depends on what the claim is for, as this dictates the procedure you should follow. There are generally 3 types of claim, non emergency, emergency non medical and medical claims.
Non Emergency Claims
Non emergency claims like stolen or lost items, delay and baggage delay, can normally wait until you get back from your holiday.
You would need to phone your Insurer, making sure you have your policy number to hand. They will normally take details down over the phone and at this point confirm whether or not the claim is covered under the policy. They will also confirm if there is any excess payable (the first amount of the claim that you have to pay).
If an item has been lost or stolen, it is imperative that you report the loss or theft to the police in the country you are visiting, within 24 hours of discovery. Keep any references or police reports, as it is likely that the Insurer will request copies.
If it is simple claim, the claims department should be able to give you an indication of the time it will take to settle and also details on any other information they require from you. It is essential that you keep original receipts and the new receipts, if you have already replaced an item.
Failing that, guarantees, instruction manuals, valuations and photographs will also help support your claim and speed the process up.
The information you have provided over the phone will normally be included in a written claim form which will be sent to you. You should check this over carefully, adding any relevant information that has been missed and sign and return it, together with requested documentation as quickly as possible.
Emergency non medical claims.
There will be occasions where you will have a need to discuss a claim or incident with your Insurer whilst you are still on holiday, a situation that can't wait until you return home. This could be a potential liability claim, or your luggage has not turned up. You should still phone the Travel Insurers 24 hour emergency help line, because as well as dealing with medical problems, they will be able to assist you in other areas.
Even if the claim is not an emergency, if you are not sure of procedure and have an issue you need to discuss, it is still worth contacting the Insurer. As experts they can tell you what do to and ultimately put your mind at rest, so you don't ruin the rest of your holiday worrying.
Unless the claim is a medical emergency, and not more than £500, the advice is to pay for treatment, keeping all receipts and claim the costs back once you return from your holiday. In the event of a medical emergency, or incident which is likely to cost more than £500, you must contact the Insurers 24 hour helpline. (You should keep a note of this number on you at all times and in your luggage).
The 24 hour helplines are manned by experienced staff and they will provide all the reassurance and assistance you should need. They will normally be the ones authorising any medical assistance/repatriation, and the bills or expenses, are normally settled by the Insurer direct. Remember they have experience of most situations and you take their advice.
Whilst no-one wants the hassle of making a claim, the most important things you can do to make the process as smooth and as pain free as possible are
- Keep all original receipts, instruction manuals, guarantees, photographs
- Make a written note of what has happened as soon as possible, as it is easy to forget, two weeks later.
- Report the incident to the police, flight, travel provider, or accommodation representative as soon as possible. Keep a note of times, dates, names and a copy of any paperwork.
- Be honest with your information and truthful with the circumstances. Do not try to inflate your claim. Insurers have sophisticated resources and it will only come back and bite you.