Most people who purchase travel insurance won’t have to make a claim (this is how insurance companies stay profitable, of course), but if you do, you must know the process of making a claim and how to maximize your chances of a successful claim.
So in this article, we walk you through the process of making a successful claim, from understanding your policy terms and conditions to documenting incidents, notifying your insurance provider, and finalizing your claim.
If your claim is unsuccessful, we also cover what you should do.
Table of Contents
- 1 1. Understand Your Policy Coverage
- 2 2. Collect and Document Evidence
- 3 3. Notify Your Travel Insurance Provider (Make a Claim)
- 4 4. Track and Follow Up Your Claim
- 5 5. Finalizing and Closing Your Claim
- 6 6. Handling Claim Denials or Disputes
1. Understand Your Policy Coverage
Before you make a claim, it’s essential that you understand your coverage as part of the plan you purchased.
You can do this in the following ways:
Review the Terms and Conditions
Before you start the claim process, you should review the terms and conditions outlined in your policy.
By understanding the fine print, you will soon become aware of your coverage limits, claim procedures, and any exclusions or limitations that may affect your claim.
In all honesty, you should have reviewed this before you bought your policy to ensure that if you have to make a claim, you won’t be in for any nasty surprises.
Identify Covered Incidents and Your Eligibility
Covered incidents and eligibility criteria vary depending on your specific policy.
By understanding these, you can figure out which incidents and circumstances are eligible for coverage, and see if you are covered, whether that be a cancelled trip due to illness, lost luggage, emergency medical expenses, or other types of travel insurance.
Know the Deadline for When to File a Claim
If you want to make a successful claim, it’s key that you file on time. Any deadlines will be outlined in your policy.
If you miss filing a claim by the specified deadline, you may be denied a claim or receive limited compensation.
2. Collect and Document Evidence
If you want to make a successful claim, the power of the evidence you can provide cannot be overstated.
Report the Incident
If any incident occurs on your trip, it’s best to document it as soon as possible by reporting the incident to the relevant authorities, such as the police or airline representatives.
You should also make sure you obtain a copy of the incident report, which should be detailed and include dates, times, locations, and what exactly happened.
Gather Receipts, Invoices, and Proof of Expenses
To strengthen your case, you should gather all relevant receipts, invoices, and proof of expenses related to the incident.
This might include things like receipts for medical expenses, transportation, and accommodation, in addition to any other small or large costs incurred due to the incident you experienced.
Make sure that you keep these documents in a secure place, so when you are asked to provide them by your provider, you can.
Gather Photos or Videos as Supporting Evidence
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words – and this especially applies when making a successful claim.
So make sure that you can provide any photo or video evidence you have that documents any damages, injuries, or relevant circumstances related to your claim.
This equally applies to whether you were involved in an accident, your luggage was damaged, you required medical assistance, and so on.
3. Notify Your Travel Insurance Provider (Make a Claim)
Now that you read your insurance policy to have a better understanding of your coverage, and collected and documented evidence of the incident, it’s time to notify your travel insurance provider and make a claim
Follow the Outlined Process
Each insurance policy and provider has its own process that you must follow.
This may include submitting a claim form, providing supporting documentation, and making sure that you claim by specific timelines.
Either way, make sure that you comply with the requirements stated.
Provide Accurate and Detailed Information
Make sure that you provide detailed and accurate information when completing the claim form, including dates, times, locations, and any relevant circumstances surrounding the incident you want to claim for.
Remember to be thorough, as providing inaccurate information or omitting information can impact the validity of your claim.
This can be one of the most common travel insurance mistakes you want to avoid.
Submit Supporting Evidence
Remember when we told you to gather all the evidence to make your claim? Well now is the time to submit it.
Whether this is reports of the incident, police reports, medical bills and certificates, receipts for expenses, or anything else you think would help your claim, make sure that you provide these documents in a logical and chronological order.
Even if not explicitly asked for, it’s still a good idea to submit any evidence you have, as it can speed up the result of your claim.
4. Track and Follow Up Your Claim
It’s important that during the claims process, you regularly stay in touch with your insurance provider.
Track the Progress of Your Claim
Once you have submitted your claim, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification for how long the process will take.
Most providers will have an online portal or dedicated claim tracking system that you can monitor. But in any case, make sure that you remain proactive and regularly check in with your claims representative, so you know where you stand every step of the way.
Seek Clarification and Assistance
If at any point during the claims process, you become confused or uncertain of the process, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification and assistance.
It’s better to ask what you think might be a silly question than having your claim impacted because you were too shy to ask for further information.
Keep a Record of Communication
You will definitely want to keep a record of communication with your provider, including dates, times, and the names of the representatives you speak to. A summary of your conversations can also be helpful.
All of this is important to record because it serves as evidence in case any disputes or misunderstandings arise during your claims process.
5. Finalizing and Closing Your Claim
If your claim has been approved, the final step is settling the claim and receiving payment.
Your insurance provider will outline the process for settlement, which may include:
- Providing your banking details for direct deposit
- Signing settlement agreements
- Submitting additional documents
But before you do, you should review the settlement offer you received carefully to make sure that it aligns with the coverage outlined in your policy and the details of your claim.
If you are satisfied, you can sign the necessary documents or provide any requested information to receive payment.
Then you check the amount you were paid, check for any deductions, and any applicable fees to ensure they align with the agreed-upon terms.
If you notice any discrepancies or have any concerns, make sure that you contact your insurance provider to request an explanation of the breakdown of the settlement.
The case will then be closed.
6. Handling Claim Denials or Disputes
Hopefully, you won’t need this section, but there’s always a possibility that your claim can be denied or disputed.
If this happens to you, don’t think that all hope is lost.
Understanding the Reasons for Denial
If your claim was denied, you will always receive a reason for the denial that may include policy exclusions, insufficient documentation, incomplete information, or filing a claim for an uncovered event.
Now would be the time to take a closer look at your policy’s terms and conditions and compare it against the denial.
If you think that your claim was wrongfully denied, it’s time to appeal the decision.
You should craft a compelling letter of appeal, clearly explaining why you believe the denial was unjustified, and provide any additional evidence to support your case.
Contact the Insurance Ombudsman or Regulatory Bodies
If your appeal does not result in the decision you wanted, you can seek assistance from an insurance ombudsman or regulatory body.
These organizations serve as neutral mediators and can help you with the resolution of disputes.
You will be asked to present your case as to why you think your claim was wrongfully denied, and to provide relevant documentation that can support your case.
Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.
Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.
Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).