Twice now I’ve had to make a claim on a travel insurance policy and both times the process could have gone a bit smoother. I’ve learnt a few tips along the way and hopefully these will help you should you ever be in a position to make a claim on your travel insurance policy.
My claims were the result of my husband being hospitalised in France in 2010 and then because of a delayed start to our holiday whilst we awaited the results of some medical tests in 2015. Both situations were handled very well by the insurers involved when we contacted them about the need to make a claim however getting the claims paid in a timely manner was frustrating on both occasions.
In both instances, I sent all the documentation required for the claim in hard copy form by post to the insurer concerned and both times they claimed never to have received it. This may have been because it was delivered to the wrong department or it may have been a delay tactic, I can’t be sure, but I re-sent all the documentation for the 2015 claim via email and the claim was eventually processed.
How soon should you contact your insurer?
As soon as you realise you will need to make a claim on your policy, my advice is to contact your travel insurance provider, advise them of your intention and ask for a claim number (you’ll need this number when you submit your claim).
I should also mention here that if you or someone in your travelling party are in the unfortunate situation of being hospitalised, I suggest you let the insurer deal directly with the hospital on your behalf. When my husband was admitted to hospital in France I phoned our insurer to advise we would be making a claim and they asked if I would like them to deal directly with the hospital.
I naively thought that my husband would be discharged that night or the next day and that the cost would be minimal, however his stay stretched to five nights and the hospital wouldn’t accept our credit card so we had to raid every possible bank account we had access to in order to stump up the almost EUR3000 we needed to pay before he could be discharged. Had I asked the insurer to deal with the hospital, they would have covered the hospital costs.
After the stress of cancelling or changing your holiday or dealing with an accident or theft, the last thing you want are hassles when you go to submit your insurance claim. Hopefully I won’t have to make another travel insurance claim but if I do, I’ll be following the process below.
Here are my tips for making your travel insurance claim process as smooth as possible:
- Complete the claim form in its entirety - any sections that are not relevant to your claim, put a line through.
- Use block letters and make sure your writing is clear. If you don’t have enough space to include all the information you need to provide, add a separate piece of paper with the section number clearly marked on it.
- Provide all relevant documents (doctor’s certificate, police report if claiming for theft, etc.) and a copy of your Insurance certificate. I suggest writing across the top of each document what it represents. For example, if you are providing a copy of tickets you purchased that you had to cancel as a result of your changed circumstances, write across the top ‘Original XXX tickets’. I also find it useful to attach a copy of the cancellation conditions relevant to each item you had to cancel.
- Include a covering letter with a quick summary of what you are claiming and what documents you have attached.
- Scan all of the above and save the scanned document to your computer in case you need to re-send it later.
- Email the scanned claim form, covering letter and documents to the email address on your claim form. You should receive an automatic email reply confirming that your email has been received.
- After one week, call or email the insurance company to check that they have everything they need to access your claim.
- In my experience, once the insurer confirms they have received all the documentation needed to access your claim, the claim should be finalised (or they should be in touch to request further information) within one month. If you haven’t heard anything by this stage, I would definitely be contacting the insurer to follow them up.
The above information is based on my own experiences. I can’t guarantee your travel insurance claim process will go smoothly if you follow my tips above (or that your claim will be paid), but they should go a long way to ensuring it does. Good luck!
Have you ever made a claim on your travel insurance policy? Was it a smooth and straightforward process or did it take some time for the claim to be paid?