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How to make a travel insurance claim

Posted on August 22, 2014 by Kelly Johnstone
Travel Insurance document and passport

If things go wrong before or during your holiday, making a claim can sometimes seem like a whole lot of hassle after an already distressing experience. But if you’re well prepared, claiming on your travel insurance shouldn’t pose any problems. With the average medical claim running at well over £1,000, it’s good to know you have help at hand when you need it.

We have compiled a list of basic considerations to help make your claim as trouble-free as possible:

  • Pack your documents. Amidst all the excitement of going away, you’d be surprised how many people forget to pack the most important things like their travel insurance papers. These have your policy number and phone numbers on them, including the claims hotline and 24-hour emergency medical assistance services, without which your claim could be difficult to make. It’s a good idea to leave a copy of this information with a trusted family or friend just in case you lose yours while you are on holiday.
  • Check you are insured. Holiday insurance doesn’t mean you are automatically protected for everything. Your particular insurance and the limits covered depend on the level of cover you chose in the first place, so it’s best to check your Validation Certificate and the Policy Wording before you go on holiday. Be fully aware of exclusions; for example, certain sporting activities are not included. Plus, if you haven’t declared a pre-existing medical condition or are under the influence of alcohol, you will not be covered.
  • Call us quickly; in fact, call us straight away for all types of claim. You need to contact us first so that we can authorise your claim and if necessary make travel and medical arrangements for you, otherwise your claim may not be valid. We have a deadline of 48 hours within which you or someone on your behalf ideally needs to contact us if you have been admitted into hospital. We need to authorise medical costs, preferably before you go ahead with treatment. For non-emergencies, if you require a doctor, phone us first as we may be able to help you find the safest and most appropriate place for treatment. When you call, make sure you have your policy number to hand and your contact phone number abroad.
  • Our 24-hour medical emergency assistance services mean you have help at hand wherever you are. If you are in any doubt as to what to do, how to claim or how to make arrangements while you are in a foreign country, all you need to do is call us and we will be happy to help.
  • Need to cancel your trip? Contact us and make a claim if you are cancelling within 48 hours of departure. Your cancellation will obviously have to be due to an event covered by your policy; for example an unforeseen illness, injury or an emergency at home. You will need to provide an appropriate medical certificate from your doctor or a police report to prove you cannot travel.
  • Don’t forget excess. Be aware that some cover will require you to pay something towards your claim. Check your policy documents to be sure of any cost you are liable to pay.
  • Keep your receipts for all costs, including medical certificates and paperwork that will help with your claim. For outpatient treatment costs of under £350, you should pay directly and claim this back from us upon your return to the UK.
  • Stolen items? Go to the local police to report the theft within 24 hours of it happening. If you are travelling with a tour company, the hotel rep or manager may be able to help or provide you with an adequate written report.
  • Lost baggage? Within 24 hours, you must report the loss or theft of your personal baggage to the local police and, if appropriate, to the carrier. You need to approach the airline first to see if they will pay you compensation—the Civil Aviation Authority website will help you with more information on what they cover. If your baggage gets damaged in transit, make sure you report it to the carrier before you leave the baggage hall and get a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) to help with your claim.