“Thank goodness I have travel insurance!” millions of people say each year when airlines lose their luggage, cruises are cancelled, or any number of other disruptive and potentially costly events occur before or during their vacations. And millions of times every year, travel insurers are there to help, responding to claims and providing reimbursements for losses.
Sometimes, though, the claims process can be frustrating for the insured. And the reasons usually stem from not following a few simple steps as they prepare to make the claim. What are they? Here are the ones we can’t stress enough:
- Read your policy carefully before you file a claim. Often, people assume that their travel insurance policy covers them for any unforeseen eventuality. Most policies, however, don’t. So, it’s extremely important to know exactly what you’re covered and not covered for. When you purchase insurance, you will receive a certificate of coverage that explains your plan in detail. Read it over as soon as you can. If there’s something you don’t like, you have 10 days after you’ve purchased the policy to cancel and receive a full refund.
- Be ready to provide your basic policy and trip information. This includes your plan number (which is on your certificate of coverage); the departure and return dates of your scheduled trip; and, if you booked through a travel agency, the agent’s name, address, and phone number.
- Collect the documentation you need to support your claim. Often people contact the insurer and just list what they’ve lost. And, needless to say, that doesn’t give the insurer much to work with. We recommend that, before you file, you pull together as much documentation as you can to help us understand both the extent of your loss and the reason for your loss. Did you miss your cruise departure, for example, because your airline flight was delayed or simply because you didn’t get to the ship on time? Many times the reason can be key to the insurer’s decision to reimburse and how much to reimburse. For more information on the kind of documentation needed when filing claims because of pre-departure trip cancellation; post-departure trip interruption; travel delay; medical expense; or baggage loss, damage, or delay, check out TripInsurance.com’s Claims page.
- Be sure that you maintain the provisions of your policy. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, for example, you have a responsibility to maintain the total non-refundable trip cost in your policy. If this goes up for any reason, you need to call the insurance company and have your coverage adjusted accordingly. If you don’t, the company can deny your pre-existing condition waiver. It’s your responsibility to do this.
- If you need to reschedule your trip, check with your insurer. Usually, your original policy won’t cover you when you decide to reschedule your trip. So, claims for extra trip costs due to rescheduling for any reason will likely be denied. If you need to reschedule, ask your insurer about your options and what makes the most sense for you.
At TripInsurance.com, we know that making an insurance claim is clearly not one of the more pleasant parts of the travel experience. But, we’ve also found that the more fully informed and prepared person is when making a claim, the smoother the process will be and the better the chances are for a timely reimbursement.
And, speaking of being well informed, if you have any additional claims-related questions—even if you’ve already purchased insurance from someone else—feel free to call us at 1-877-219-8169 or email us at email@example.com. We’re always happy to help people better understand their travel insurance options so they can get the most for their money and feel confident that the coverage they have is right for them.