Explore Travel Insurance

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:

  • Know what you’re covered for. Be sure to read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) thoroughly when taking out a policy, because this document will take you through the inclusions, exclusions, terms and conditions of your cover. That way, you’ll know beforehand what you can and can’t claim for.
  • Disclose any preexisting medical conditions. You should disclose any pre-existing medical conditions you may have because you risk any claims relating to that condition being denied by your insurer if you don’t. Some insurers may not cover your condition while others might, so it’s worth shopping around for a policy that does.
  • Keep a list of emergency contacts and make copies of your important documents. Having a list of contacts handy – including your policy’s claim line – can help you get on top of a tough situation quickly. Making copies of documents like your passport and visa can also ensure you’re not left high and dry if they’re stolen or damaged.

How to make a travel insurance claim

Step 1. Report the incident

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:

  • A valuation from your rental car insurer would be ideal for claims involving motor accidents.
  • Discharge papers from your healthcare physician will demonstrate you were ill or injured.
  • Receipts, bank statements and even instruction manuals will help validate your ownership of stolen or lost belongings.

Step 2. Contact your insurer

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.

Step 3. File your claim

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.

Is there anything else I should know?

  • Any payment on your travel insurance claim is likely to be paid in Australian dollars and may not come through to your account immediately. Check with your insurer to see if they can give you an estimate of when your claim will be paid.
  • If you receive compensation for an incident elsewhere (e.g. from an airline), your travel insurer may not pay out your claim, unless it’s to make up the difference of what was fairly owed to you.
  • You may have to pay an excess when you claim. An excess is an additional amount owed and (eventually) deducted from what you get back in a claim.

Frequently asked questions

What can I do to make sure my travel insurance claim is accepted?

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:

  • make sure your initial application for the policy is accurate, including details of any pre-existing conditions;
  • contact your insurer as early as possible to begin the claims process;
  • keep and then provide your insurer with all incident reports, receipts, bills, letters and any other documentation that supports or proves the incident you’re claiming for; and
  • be honest in your claim, making sure not to leave out any details or provide misleading information.

What can I do if my travel insurance claim is denied?

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.

How long do I have to make a travel insurance claim?

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.

How long will my insurer take to process my 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.

What does travel insurance cover?

Your coverage will differ depending on your insurer and level of cover, but travel insurance policies usually cover things like:

  • emergency medical expenses incurred overseas
  • legal liability
  • damaged, lost or stolen luggage and personal effects
  • cancellation costs
  • additional expenses (e.g. if your trip is delayed because of medical issues and you need to pay for accommodation)
  • rental vehicle excess
  • and much more.

Your insurer may also offer optional extras like cruise, ski or adventure sports cover since these things aren’t typically included in travel insurance.

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.

What is excluded?

Your policy’s exclusions will vary depending on your insurer and level of cover. However, some standard exclusions include:

  • purchasing insurance after the incident you want to claim for;
  • loss or theft of your belongings due to your negligence (e.g. forgetting your bag on the train);
  • if you were injured while under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
  • if the incident was the result of you acting illegally;
  • travelling to a country with a travel warning in place from Smartraveller; and
  • if compensation has already been awarded to you from a third party (e.g. airline).

Make sure you read your PDS, so you understand what your policy doesn’t cover you for.

Do I need travel insurance for my trip?

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!

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Heading off on the trip of a lifetime, travelling to conduct important business or making a long-awaited visit home? Whatever your reason for journeying across the globe, travel insurance is an important part of your preparations.

We can help you get that part done and dusted right now with our travel insurance comparison service. Simply enter in some details about your trip, and we’ll show you a range of policies and quotes to compare. If you see one you like, you can apply for it through us.

Ready to look for a better deal? It’s easy to compare with us.

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