Most people enjoy relaxing holidays on the sea, sands or slopes.
Occasionally, however, things can go wrong. Baggage goes missing, flights are delayed or people are unwell, all of which mean it’s time to claim on a travel insurance policy.
Making a claim should be relatively straightforward. Even so, there are ways to speed up the process and get the help – and money – you need as quickly as possible.
Before you go
If you are packing any valuables, photograph them before you set off and email a copy to a secure email address. Make sure you note down any details that can help identify items in case they go missing, such as a serial number.
You should also make copies of important documents (your passport, visa, flight details and your insurance policy) and take a copy of them with you.
Leave another copy of your papers in a secure place, perhaps with a family member back home.
That way, if they are stolen while you’re away, you’ll still have access to the details, including your policy number and emergency telephone number for your insurer.
If you’re a victim of a crime during your holidays, to make a claim, you’ll need to get a local police report within 24 hours of the incident.
It’ll be very tricky to sort this out once you get home and most insurers won’t pay up unless you’ve reported the incident to the police.
It’s hard to think straight when things go wrong but fill in all documents accurately and keep hold of the contact details of the people you spoke to.
Keep your insurer’s emergency phone number and your travel insurance policy number handy in case you fall ill or have an accident. If you’re travelling with someone else, give him or her a copy of the details, as it may be that you’re unable to make the phone call.
For routine non-emergency out-patient care or routine treatments costing less than a few hundred pounds it’s likely you will need to pay the upfront costs. Keep all of the receipts so you can claim the money back later, once you’re home.
For major expenses, contact your insurer as soon as possible. Use the emergency number and give as many details about your condition and likely treatment as you can.
If you need follow-up care, you may need to speak to your insurer at each stage, to ensure the costs (excluding any excess) will be met.
Keep hold of any papers that the hospital or clinic gives you. Check medical reports are signed and dated and they have the address of the place you were given medical treatment.
Delays and cancellations
If your journey is delayed because your flight was cancelled, for example, you usually need written confirmation from your tour operator or carrier. This should be fairly easily obtained and ideally it needs to be done at the time of the delay.
If that’s not possible, as soon as you are home, chase the carrier for a document explaining the delay. The longer you leave it the more complicated it can be and you will need proof of the delay to validate your claim.
Filing a claim
Some insurance claims are quickly settled over the phone. Others will require you to fill in forms and include or attach copies of all documentation you think may be relevant.
The more information that you make available, the easier it is for the insurer to assess your claim and the quicker you’ll be paid.
Many insurers allow you to submit forms online but if you’re sending yours in the post, keep your own copy of all supporting documentation and send it by special delivery so it’s signed and recorded.
Find out more about travel insurance