1. Be thorough.
When applying for travel insurance, make sure that you are very thorough when filling out the application form – particularly in relation to your health details. Medical costs associated with illness are a common form of claim and insurance exclusions on pre-existing medical conditions are reported as one of the areas that triggers a high number of travel insurance-related complaints to FOS. Make sure that you provide your insurer with your full medical history during the application process – and then make sure that you understand what you will and will not be covered for.
2. Phone your insurer for advice.
Most travel insurers have a 24-hour helpline, so if you do become ill while away or are involved in an accident, try to contact your insurer before arranging any expensive medical treatment. That’s if your medical situation is not an emergency of course! Your insurer will be able to give you advice on what to do next.
3. Be snap happy.
Luggage can go astray and valuables can be stolen, so photograph your belongings before you pack them in your suitcase and email those photos to yourself or to someone else so that there is a pictorial record of what you have taken with you. Serial and other identification numbers can also be useful. Also don’t forget to photograph any valuables that you buy along the way.
4. Keep your personal details handy.
A photocopy of your passport and visa can also be extremely useful in the event of theft. Knowing your flight details, your credit card numbers (plus the phone number to cancel them) and of course your travel insurance policy details are also essential.
5. File a report.
If you are a victim of a crime it’s important to file a police report as soon as possible. Check with your insurer as to what their time limit is to file a report – it can be just 24 hours. Obtain a copy of the report that you have filed.
6. Get everything in writing.
Whether it’s a police report, a receipt for medical expenses paid or flight cancellations, your insurer will usually want to see written confirmation of the loss incurred. So collect as much documentation as you can for anything that you believe may be claimable.
Always contact your travel insurance company as soon as possible after you have incurred a loss or expense. Your insurer will be able to run you through the requirements for making a claim and the sooner you start the process, the easier it will be for you to obtain any documentation or other evidence you need.