Speeding up travel insurance claims is certainly doable; however, there are important steps/tips to take the pain out of the claims process.
Denied travel insurance claims can leave you confused and frustrated, with common reasons including not being covered for the item/ activities you are claiming for in the policy or inadequate evidence for your claim (e.g., missing receipts). Hence, you want to be fully prepared by submitting the correct paperwork to help expedite the claims process. Read Best Insurance Online’s comprehensive checklist below to find helpful travel insurance tips, from choosing the right policy to after you submit your claim!
Before your trip
Tip #1: Choose the policy wisely
The key to making successful travel insurance claims is buying the right policy in the first place. We know it can be tempting to purchase the cheapest policy to save money. However, if would be best if you made sure that the policy covers these:
- Individual medical needs
- Non-medical assistance if required
- Valuables you want to protect
- Physical activities you might want to engage in (e.g., extreme sports – skiing or skydiving).
Tip #2: Read carefully
Review your policy thoroughly before you travel by ensuring the correct information for things you care about, namely pre-existing conditions, family emergencies, or cameras, to name but a few.
Reading the fine print also allows you to get used to the claims procedure. It is recommended that you note down the contact details for the claims and emergency assistance department in case you need them during the trip.
As mentioned in Tip 1, you should check the policy for limitations, exclusions, and add-ons for your travel. These usually include adventure activities, skiing, cruising, high-value items, and transport coverage (e.g., car hire or bicycle).
Tip #3: Declare pre-existing conditions
Should you need to claim, declaring all pre-existing conditions and getting them listed on your Certificate of Insurance means your wallet is protected significantly.
Keep in mind that each insurance provider has different definitions and limitations for pre-existing conditions. Sometimes it can be an illness you have had in the last year or any condition during your life.
Tip #4: Obtain the Certificate of Insurance and emergency details
Whether you are rushed to a hospital, have your luggage stolen, or a broken phone, having both soft (digital) and hard (print out/photocopy) of these documents will not only speed up your claims process but also get you home safer:
- certificate of travel insurance
- flight itinerary
- medical information such as any medication you are on
- emergency contact details for family or friends at home
- contact details for your bank’s card cancellation line
During your trip
Tip #1: Contact your insurer before the doctor
If it is not an emergency, you should contact your insurance provider first as they can clarify what you and/or your travel partner are covered for. This will help avoid any disappointments, assumptions, and confusion. And you would not want to find yourself in the situation of getting the claims denied because of not knowing the policy details.
Once you contact the insurer, they can direct you to the travel insurance claim forms on their website or send the form to you via email to start your claim process as soon as possible.
Tip #2: Keep all your receipts, big or small!
When you realize you need to file a claim, you will need all the essential documentation to speed up this process, or else your claim can be postponed with a lack of substantiating information. The insurance company will indeed request proof of expenses and payments, including but not limited to:
For trip cancellation:
- Receipts and itemized bills for all expenses
- Unused tickets and proof of payment
For medical claims:
- Explanation of diagnosis from a doctor’s statement
- Pharmacy receipt for the prescription drugs as the cashier receipt or credit card receipt might not be sufficient
For delayed flights:
- Proof from the airline
It is crucial that all these documents have clear dates/time, and be translated should they be in a foreign language, depending on your insurer. Besides, keep track of the responsible agent that deals with your claim, including their operator number, name, and claim reference number.
Tip #3: Create a brief timeline of events and expenses
As the claim personnel was not there to witness your emergency, it would be helpful to jot down what happened while it is still fresh in your memory. This can seriously speed up the claims process, especially when receipts are already included.
For non-medical bills, providing extra context alongside the claims will avoid the examiner asking for further information down the line.
Tip #4: Complete all sections of the claims form
When in doubt, phone your insurance provider’s 24/7 helpline, which is especially useful in a medical emergency to receive the quickest treatment and assistance. It is noteworthy that some trip expenses and medical benefits are only covered if accepted in advance.
Make sure you fill out the form and provide your signatures where appropriate since incomplete forms cannot be processed until all the paperwork is received.
Tip #5: Submit your paperwork within 30 days
Even if you do not have all the bills on hand, it is ideal to submit your claim within the first month to help avoid any delays. Fortunately, many insurance companies can request the proper documents from the hospitals and physicians on your behalf. The faster you send in the paperwork, the quicker the claim will be dealt with.
Important note: there is a 90-day time limit for travel insurance claims, which means if you have not submitted your claims form during this period, the claim will be closed.
Although it can be re-opened up to a year after the incident, this significantly decelerates the process.
After filing the claim
Tip #1: Be patient
The good news is that the majority of travel insurance claims are paid for (i.e., about 95%). The insurer will not give you the answer straight away as it usually takes about two business weeks (i.e., ten working days). Nevertheless, you will be pleasantly surprised how quickly they get back to you. So, just patiently wait for your benefits!
Tip #2: Do not panic when claims get denied
Having your claims rejected can be a frustrating experience, but no need to worry. Denials might not be the final answers. You can contact the insurance provider to ask for an explanation. Any claim denial should be elaborated in clear, plain language with the applied specific exclusion.
You will also be able to appeal your claim. Therefore, use this second chance to ensure the whole process has been documented through doctors’ medical records, consultations, prescription or pharmacy receipts, dates of tests, and other medical interventions.
The Bottom Line
Overall, under the General Insurance Code of Practice, your insurance provider is bound to get back to you within ten business days after you file the claim, either with the outcome of the process or a request for additional information. If ten business days have passed and you still have not heard from your insurer, give them a call straight away and find out what is going on.
We’d like to refer you to Insurance Direct Canada – one of Canada’s most trusted insurance brokers for further inquiries and personalized travel insurance quotes.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is still possible for you to submit a claim in this situation. Nevertheless, the insurer might find it more difficult to validate your claim. You may still be able to substantiate your claims by providing other proofs, such as bank or credit card statements or photographs of you with the item.
Each insurance company has different terms and conditions for their underwriting process, so they will have varied rules about what is acceptable as proof of ownership.
For almost all claims, you would first pay for the costs yourself before being reimbursed by the insurer, provided that your claim is successful. One general exception to this is emergency medical treatments in the hospital. In this case, your insurance provider offers a payment guarantee, so you do not have out-of-pocket expenses.
When filing a claim, be sure to have all the necessary documents and upload them to the online form for the claims procedure. Checking your travel insurers’ claims webpage can help you be aware of any rules specific to claiming with them.
Another important note is that you do not have to wait until you get home to claim because this process can now be entirely online. You just need to fill in a form, even in your hotel room on your trip.
Besides your identification, your original flight, accommodation itineraries, and receipts or proof of payment for each expense/ item you are claiming (which applies to all questions below), you will also need:
– A police report for stolen items during the 24 hours after the theft.
– A report of proof of loss from your accommodation, airline, or travel agency, where appropriate
– A repair quote from a reliable service provider if there is an item damage
– The IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity Number) of a lost or stolen phone, and evidence that the provider has blocked the IMEI.
– Contact your accommodation, flight, and/ or tour company and ask for a refund which will be either a ‘Refund Advice’ document or written proof that they have refused to refund you.
– This document is essential since failing to obtain it can considerably delay the processing of your claim.
Proof that supports your cancellation reasons. For instance, this can be an email from the airline stating that a natural disaster has canceled your flight, a hospitalization record for a sick family member, or a letter from your accommodation provider saying rioting is taking place.
– Original rental agreement displaying the rental vehicle excess.
– An accident report from your insurance provider, rental vehicle company, or other relevant agency.
– A quote or repair receipt from your rental vehicle company for the damage which can sometimes take between a few days to weeks to obtain.
Please be aware that if it is the airline’s fault for a delay, such as overbooking, mechanical issue, or a pilot oversleeping, your insurer is unlikely to cover it. In this case, you should seek compensation from your airline.
On the contrary, if the airline is not at fault in the case of bad weather, natural disaster, or a strike, your claim would generally be covered (as long as it is not a known event at the time of purchase).
Therefore, other than the documents that outline the causes of your expenses (e.g., medical reports or a letter from the airline informing you about a delay), you will only need the original and amended travel plans with the terms and conditions or fare rules and the price of these arrangements.