You’re either reading this because you’re prepared for your journey, or you’re in a hot situation and are thinking of claiming on your travel insurance. Don’t worry; the process is very simple, and well documented on (a) each travel insurer’s website and (b) right here.
Before we take you through the process of making a travel insurance claim, here are some things to remember when first taking out your insurance policy that could help make your claims process smoother later on:
Let’s say that your suitcase was stolen at the train station, and we’ll assume your travel insurance policy covers the theft of your belongings (and there aren’t any exclusions that would prevent you from being able to claim). What should you do next?
To start you should file a report with the police and your transport provider (e.g. the airline or rail company where the incident occurred), and make sure you get a copy of this report. Such reports will help your insurer validate your claim – indeed, depending on your travel insurance policy you may not be able to claim unless you report the incident to the relevant authorities within 24 hours.
When it comes to a couple of other common situations:
For most claims, it’s best to alert your insurer early on. Not only can they let you know what they’ll need from you to complete your claim, but they will also be able to direct you to medical facilities, embassies or consulates that will (hopefully) get you back on your feet faster.
Of course, if it’s a medical emergency, the first thing you need to do is call for an ambulance or go directly to hospital before contacting your insurer.
When you do get in touch, explain what happened and ask what they’ll require from you. They deal with thousands of these kinds of enquiries every year, so they should be able to point you in the right direction. If you don’t have supporting documentation for your claim yet, you can always start the claim process now and forward documents to the insurer later on.
Many travel insurers can be contacted 24 hours a day from anywhere in the world. However, their helpline’s hours of operation are still worth checking out prior to leaving (make sure you write them down), especially if you’re heading across time zones.
This part of the process basically comprises of gathering those reports from step one and then following the instructions your insurer has given you from step two. You should be able to file a travel insurance claim by post, fax, email or online.
Your insurer may periodically contact you to let you know how your claim is progressing, or they might provide you with a way of checking this out yourself online.
Most of what you can do to help make sure your travel insurance claim is successful is talked about above. However, to make your claim as smooth as possible, you can:
Insurance claims usually go smoothly, but if you feel your claim has been wrongfully denied or not paid in full, you can contact your insurer’s complaints department to try settling the dispute. If that doesn’t work, get in touch with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) to lodge a complaint.
It would be best to claim on your travel insurance as soon as you can, but some insurers may allow you to claim up to 30 or 60 days from the completion of your trip. Check your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to find out when you need to lodge your claim.
It may vary from insurer to insurer, but you can generally expect your travel insurance claim to be processed within 10-14 business days. It may take longer, though, if your insurer doesn’t have enough information to complete your claim. In this case, they’ll typically contact you for the missing details.
Your coverage will differ depending on your insurer and level of cover, but travel insurance policies usually cover things like:
As we mentioned above, it’s essential you thoroughly read your PDS, so you understand what you’re covered for and what claims processes you need to follow.
Your policy’s exclusions will vary depending on your insurer and level of cover. However, some standard exclusions include:
Make sure you read your PDS, so you understand what your policy doesn’t cover you for.
We always hope that nothing will go wrong on our trips, but some things have a funny habit of going wrong when we least expect it. Not only that, but medical costs can be expensive in some parts of the world, and that’s not to mention how much it can cost to replace phones, cameras and other pricey items. That’s why it’s important to have travel insurance!