Tips for making a travel insurance claim

We’re constantly reminded that we must always purchase travel insurance for when we go away on holiday.

Travel insurance is designed to cover us, and our possessions, when we are away on holiday, and it’s easy to believe that this all-important insurance will cover everything and every eventuality on holiday.

The advice is correct, you should have travel insurance when travelling overseas, and a small outlay now could save you thousands later, but don’t just assume that once you purchase travel insurance both you and your belongings are safe and protected. If you don’t get the right travel insurance policy for your needs, you might not be covered.

For example, a basic travel insurance policy is unlikely to include cancellation and curtailment, therefore you won’t be covered if your flight is delayed and/or cancelled. If you exclude baggage then luggage and belongings won’t be covered either.

If you need to make a claim on your travel insurance, don't assume that your insurance policy will pay out automatically with no questions asked. As with any insurance claim, you must make sure you claim in the correct manner – according to Which? one in ten travel insurance policies will reject a claim, double the number of home insurance claims. Don’t be overly alarmed about this and don’t go thinking that there’s no point taking it in the first place.

Here we share the most common areas and reasons that travel insurance policies don’t pay out:

Failure to Disclose
It is critical when booking your travel insurance that you tell your insurer everything they need to know about you and your trip:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions
    If you fail to disclose any pre-existing medical conditions you won’t be covered and could be out of pocket by thousands if you need treatment overseas. Don’t think this just applies to when you take the policy out, if you are diagnosed with a medical condition after you took the policy out, you still need to inform your insurer.
  • Dangerous sports
    Will you be participating in Winter Sports? If you’re snowboarding or skiing for example, you need to inform them. Will you be joining in with any dangerous activities whilst away, like diving, bungee jumping, jet skiing? Even golfing and golf clubs need to be declared and specialist polices purchased.
  • Destinations
    Failing to disclose the correct information also includes travelling to somewhere dangerous. If you are on a multi-stop holiday and a country or region you on your itinerary is deemed unsafe, you may not be covered. You must tell your insurance company to ensure that you get the correct level of cover added to your policy.

Time Limits
While you will be able to make your claim after you return from your travels, do be aware that there are time restrictions applied to claims. Make sure you are aware of such time restraints when taking out the policy – just read the terms & conditions when your key facts and policy document is issued before travel.

Unattended Belongings
If the reason that your belongings went missing is because you left them unattended - on the beach whilst you went for a swim, or by the pool when you went to the bar - even leaving your bag on a seemingly safe luggage rack that you cannot see from where you are sitting, could result in a rejected claim. What’s more, if something goes missing from your luggage whilst stored in the overhead baggage lockers on a flight this might not be covered either!

Be aware that sunglasses are rarely covered in any travel insurance policy. This is because they are usually very expensive and are easily lost or damaged. Either travel with cheaper alternatives or look after them very carefully!

Correct Claim Procedures
Following the correct claim procedures it vital. If you don’t, then you might not make a successful claim. In the event you need to make a claim, read your policy carefully, checking what you need to do. Do you need to call your insurer in the first instance? Will you need to get a Police report for any stolen items?

Drugs and Drink
If you are injured or are the victim of a theft when you are either drunk or under the influence of drugs your policy will be refused. Enjoying some drinks is acceptable, but totally inebriated isn’t tolerated by an insurer. And drug use is strictly forbidden.