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How To Claim On Your Travel Insurance Policy

Even if you are blessed with the luck of the Irish, the reassurance a good travel insurance policy can give you could be worth its weight in gold should you find yourself baggage-less in the airport in Abu Dhabi, or taking a trip to the local hospital after being stung by a jellyfish on a beach on the Gold Coast.

If you are wondering how to make a travel insurance claim, there are a few things you can do to make the process as smooth as possible.

Before you leave

Make sure you take your insurance policy (or a copy of it) with you. You'll need your policy number to make a claim, and your insurer will probably have an emergency helpline you can call if you need assistance while you are away.

If you're taking electronic equipment such as a phone, tablet or camera with you, write down the make, model and serial number to give to your insurance company should you lose or damage them.

Take photos of your valuables like jewellery in case they get lost or stolen. Make sure you save the photos somewhere you can access them easily should you need them, for example in secure cloud based storage.

Cancelling your trip

Your insurance company will normally pay out for trip cancellations for any of the reasons stated in your travel insurance policy documentation. Common reasons include the death or serious illness of someone travelling in your party or a close relative, jury service, redundancy or serious damage to your home, for example a fire.

You should contact your insurer as soon as possible, and they may ask you for proof of the reason for cancellation.

Travel cancellations and delays

If your flight or other method of travel is cancelled, you'll need written confirmation of this from the company you booked with or the carrier. You'll need to pass it on to the insurer during the claims process.

The same applies for any delays in travel. You should also keep any receipts for any expenses you incurred because of the delay, such as a hotel stay, or food and drink.

If you have to make a claim while you are abroad

If you are a victim of a crime such as an assault or robbery, or you lose any of your belongings, you need to tell the local police within 24 hours, but preferably as soon as you can. Insurance companies generally won't accept a claim if the police haven't been notified. They will also ask for proof of this, so make sure you get the equivalent of a crime reference number to pass on to them.

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Medical incidents

Minor medical treatment

If you have relatively minor, non-emergency medical treatment while you're away, chances are you might have to pay for it yourself when you receive it, and claim it back from your insurer when you return to the UK. Remember to get a receipt for the treatment as proof of what you paid out.

Don't forget to check your policy excesses to see what you will have to pay towards a claim. It may not be worth claiming if the treatment was relatively cheap, or equal to the excess.

Emergency medical treatment

Call your insurance company as soon as you can if you, or someone insured under your policy needs emergency medical treatment. Not only will they be able to authorise any care you need, they may also be able to help you find the best place to be treated, and with repatriation arrangements.

Keep your insurers up to date on what future treatment the hospital or doctor recommends, and ask for copies of medical reports and any other documentation you are given. Your insurers will want to see this as part of the claim.

When you get home

Once you get home, contact your insurer and ask for a claim form, or they may direct you to an online claims system to use instead. Do this as soon as you can as the policy may specify a time limit for making a claim.

You'll need to send your insurer any documentation relating to the claim. Make sure you take copies of both the documentation and claim form, just in case they get lost in the post, or the insurer queries something.

Check your policy documents so you are clear on any excesses you will have to pay, the limits on what your policy will pay out, and any exclusions. If you break a leg doing the conga while under the influence of alcohol, the insurer probably won't pay up for a medical expenses claim.

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