How To Get Reimbursement For A Travel Insurance Claim

how-to-get-reimbursement-for-a-travel-insurance-claim

Travelling can be a great way to unwind and relax—but a trip can also go wrong. While travel insurance can’t prevent problems from arising, it can help recoup at least some of your money if the unexpected derails your trip. That’s where the claim process comes in.

If you encounter these unexpected issues, you can file a claim with your travel insurance company for reimbursement, as long as your problem is covered by the policy.

How To Properly Submit a Travel Insurance Claim

To increase your chances of a prompt travel insurance reimbursement, take these steps to make the claims process smoother.

Review Your Travel Insurance Policy Terms

Travel insurance can’t cover every potential problem. Take the time to understand what your policy covers and what it doesn’t, so you know exactly how the policy will help you. That means you want to read the benefits, exclusions and coverage limits in your policy to make sure you’re eligible for a claim and be sure to check for any required waiting times for delays.

For example, if you buy a comprehensive travel insurance policy that includes a trip delay benefit, and on the day of your trip, you get to the airport and learn that your flight is delayed, this may trigger coverage under the policy as long as the delay is after the specified time outlined in your policy.

Check your policy for the required delay time to get reimbursement. For example, this could be six, 10 or 12 hours, depending on the travel insurance plan. Here, too, check your policy for the cap on reimbursable travel delay expenses. Your plan might provide anywhere from $100 to $300 per day, with an overall per person cap such as $500 to $1,000.

Another possible scenario: You get injured bungee jumping during a thrill-seeking vacation. If your travel medical insurance excludes adventure activities—and many do—you would not be eligible to seek compensation for your medical costs.

Gather Documentation

Documentation is important to ensure that your travel insurance claim is paid promptly.

When there are delays in processing a claim, the most common reason is that the policyholder didn’t provide sufficient proof or documentation to demonstrate their actual financial loss. Without this, your insurer can not properly evaluate your claim.

For instance, if you qualify for a travel delay claim, your travel insurance policy can cover extra expenses, such as food, an overnight hotel stay and even a cab ride to a friend’s house. If you provide documentation for those covered expenses, you may be reimbursed up to the capped amount for that benefit.

If your trip has to be completely cancelled and you file a trip cancellation insurance claim, your insurer is going to want documentation of your out-of-pocket expenses. This can include confirmation that you cancelled your itinerary with the travel supplier and the amounts of any refunds or credits that the supplier has offered you as part of your reimbursement.

Travel insurance will reimburse you only for the pre-paid and non-refundable money that you’ve already paid. If you have to cancel your trip, first check with your suppliers, such as your hotel or airline, to see if they will offer a refund. Failing that, you can then submit a claim to your insurance provider.

You’ll need documentation for claims on other coverage types within a travel insurance policy, such as travel medical insurance and baggage insurance.

It’s important to keep all receipts so that you can make a successful claim. You also want to file loss reports with airlines or local authorities for problems such as lost baggage.

Submit Your Claim With Documentation

You can call your travel insurance company for help, read the website for directions, or access the company’s app for guidance on what is required to complete the claim process. If possible, submit your claim documentation online for a faster process.

Documentation for Travel Insurance Claims

You will need supporting documents if you file a travel insurance claim. These could include receipts, medical bills and police reports. The specific documentation needed depends on the type of travel insurance claim you are filing.

Keep in mind that what might be required for a medical expense claim may be more robust than perhaps a luggage or flight delay claim.

Trip Cancellation Claim Documentation

Cancellation documentation depends on the reason why you cancelled. In most cases, it’s injury or illness, so this will require medical records like a note from your doctor saying they advise you not to travel.

For other issues, like job loss, you’ll need a notarized letter from your prior employer, usually on their company letterhead.

You may also have to provide documentation confirming that you cancelled your itinerary with your travel supplier and the amounts of any refunds or credits that supplier offered as part of your reimbursement. (You can’t claim money that was reimbursed by a travel supplier, like an airline.) You may also need to supply your unused plane tickets.

Trip Delay Claim Documentation

If your airline delays your flight, you’ll need a notification from your airline explaining the reason for the delay, which is usually an email. Typically, the cause has to be due to weather or mechanical issues to be covered.

Also, be sure to hold on to—and include in your claim—receipts for expenses such as meals, hotel stays, transportation and personal essentials if you experience a travel delay.

Trip Interruption Claim Documentation

If you need to return home before your trip ends due to an illness or injury to you or a travel companion or a family emergency back home, you will need to present applicable paperwork, such as signed medical documentation or hospital records.

Baggage and Personal Effects Claim Documentation

If your airline, train or other transportation company loses your luggage, you will need to document it by filing a report with the company. Your travel insurance company will usually want proof that the transportation company will not reimburse you before it pays out your claim.

One of the most common mistakes made is when baggage has been damaged or stolen. It’s crucial to file a report of the lost or damaged items to the airline, police or airport security. Without that report, your claim is unlikely to be approved.

You will also need to submit a list of what you packed and the value of the items.

For personal belongings that are stolen, be sure to include in your claim a police report or a loss report from your tour operator or hotel manager. You will also need to present documentation proving the value of the items you are claiming.

Medical Expense Claim Documentation

When filing a medical expense travel insurance claim, you need to include all medical documentation issued while under the care of medical professionals.

Save receipts for medicine or other medical supplies. You will be required to submit all these materials when filing a claim.

What Are the Time Limits To File a Travel Insurance Claim?

Time limits regarding insurance claim filings will vary according to the company, underwriter and your policy. For example, some travel insurance plans allow as little as 20 days for you to file a claim, while others may allow a year.

Typically, it ranges from 20 to 90 days from the date the covered loss occurs, although some plans don’t list a time limit at all. However, all plans typically have the caveat of ‘or as soon as is reasonably possible.’ Unless someone has endured some extraordinary event, insurance companies usually give clients one year from the date of the covered loss to file the claim.

Regardless of the timeframe, it is better to act sooner rather than later to ensure your travel insurance claim reimbursement.

Why Travel Insurance Claims Get Delayed

If you file a claim without all the proper documentation or evidence, the insurance company will send a note back that the claim cannot be reviewed yet. It’s important to note that this is not a ‘denial’ of the claim. You can still submit the documentation that’s been requested to have the claim reviewed. It’s worth underscoring the difference between “incomplete claims” and “denied claims.” Missing receipts and documentation will result in a claim being considered “incomplete,” but that claim can later be “completed” if all requisite documentation is provided.

Another top reason for denial of a travel insurance claim is that the problem simply isn’t covered. For example, if you buy a trip to the Caribbean during hurricane season, make sure your travel insurance policy covers weather. If it doesn’t, and you cancel the trip because of a hurricane, your claim will be denied.

Use the Travel Insurance Free Look Period

To ensure your travel insurance policy will meet your needs, it’s a good idea to use the review period, which gives you a grace period (usually 10 days) after purchase to read your policy carefully and make any adjustments if necessary.  If you regret your travel insurance purchase, you can cancel the policy for a refund and buy another plan.

Another smart move is to work with a travel insurance agent who can help you choose not only the right coverage but also understand the policy’s limitations. A travel insurance agent can also help you price shop the best plans.

Armed with the knowledge of what your travel insurance policy covers, you can enjoy your travel experience without unpleasant insurance surprises.

What to Expect After You File a Travel Insurance Claim

After you file a claim, be sure to check your email, as there could be follow-up requests from your travel insurance company. You may be asked for additional documentation or clarification about your claim.

If your claim is denied, be sure to review the details, especially the exclusions, of your travel insurance policy. The claim may have been rejected because the incident isn’t covered by your policy, and you were unaware. If you still have questions, ask your travel insurance agent for help.

If you want to appeal your denied travel insurance claim, you can usually find instructions on the company website or call the customer service number.

The Bottom Line

The more documentation you can provide, the more likely your insurance company will compensate you for your covered losses. You can even take photos of your items and packed suitcase for a visual record. Before you travel, be sure to organize your receipts in one place and keep digital and hard copies, just in case.

How To Get Reimbursement For A Travel Insurance Claim FAQs

I’ve had a medical emergency on my trip. When should I contact my insurer?

As soon as possible. Most (if not all) insurance providers require travellers (or someone acting on their behalf) to report a medical emergency prior to receiving treatment. The insurer needs to approve all medical procedures and treatments or your claim may be later denied. You may also be subjected to a reimbursement cap, either a dollar amount or percentage. For example, CAA Travel Insurance will reduce your maximum benefit to 80% to a maximum of $25,000.

The airline lost my luggage but I don’t have receipts for my personal items. Can I still make a claim?

Yes, you can, but your insurer may deny the claim or reimburse you for a reduced amount based on its reasonable worth. So if you can’t prove that your luggage cost $1,500, you may only get a tiny percentage of that money back. If you don’t have a receipt, you may be able to provide additional proof of purchase, such as a credit card statement or warranty.

I have a pre-existing medical condition. Can I still make a medical claim?

Each insurance company has its own rules and exclusions around pre-existing conditions based on your age, the nature of the condition and whether or not the insurer considers it “stable” before your trip. Insurance companies also have their own age threshold for requiring a medical questionnaire when applying for emergency medical insurance. It’s important to be honest on your questionnaire and divulge any changes in medication or treatment. While it can be disappointing to be turned down for travel insurance for a certain condition, it can be disastrous to assume you’re covered and only when you make a claim, discover that you’re not.

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How To Get Reimbursement For A Travel Insurance Claim

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