Co-author: Michelle Norton
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 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 the Insurance and Financial Services Ombudsman. If you do suffer from any pre-existing conditions, make sure that you provide your insurer with your full medical history during the application process – and then make sure you understand the extent of your cover.
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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. Your travel insurer will give you advice on what to do next. That’s if your medical situation is not an emergency, of course!
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’s a record of what you’ve taken with you. Serial and other identification numbers can also be useful. Also don’t forget to photograph any valuables that you buy while on your travels.
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’re a victim of a crime, it’s important to file a police report as soon as possible. Check with your insurer as to their time limit for you to file a report – in some cases, the window may be as small as 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 paid medical expenses 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.
Hopefully, you’ll never have to make a claim, but should you need to, contact your travel insurance company as soon as possible after you’ve incurred a loss or expense. Your insurer will be able to run you through the requirements for making a claim. The sooner you start the process, the easier it will be for you to obtain any documentation or other evidence you need.
Should your travel insurance claim be declined, there are steps you can take to make a complaint, but ensure you’ve studied your contract. The Citizens Advice Bureau says your first course of action should be to carefully read your insurance policy, to find out whether your claim is valid according to the stipulations of your insurance provider. If you’re convinced that your claim still fits their requirements, but has been rejected, you can make a complaint through your insurance provider’s complaints process. If that doesn’t get you anywhere, you can complain to the Insurance and Financial Services Ombudsman.