How to make filing a claim as easy as possible

We all know that travel insurance is necessary to stay safe on your vacation, but do you know exactly how to make a claim if something goes wrong? Although no one wants to find themselves needing to make a claim, research by the US Travel Insurance Association found that one in six policyholders make a claim, so here is how to make sure the claims process is as smooth as possible.

Know the details of your policy

Before you do anything, you want to make sure that you are aware of all of the details included in your policy. When you initially take out your policy you will be offered different benefits and coverage levels, be sure that you are covered for the type of claim you are making. You should always read your policy before you buy it, but in the worst case scenario, make sure you at least go back and read it before filing your claim.

The majority of insurance providers should have their policies available online in PDF format, plus you should have received a copy of your individual policy when you purchased it.

Be sure your claim isn’t classed as a “pre-existing condition”

Are you making a medical claim? Make sure that it isn’t the result of a pre-existing medical condition, which you would have been asked to disclose when taking out your policy. Even if you didn’t disclose a condition which you knew about, an insurer can still find out and refuse to pay out.

Similarly, are you seeking a reimbursement for a cancelled trip? Again, certain variables can be classed as pre-existing conditions and void your claim. This includes things such as sick relatives or pregnancies.

Report incidents with local authorities

Whether you are involved in a car accident, or you have something stolen while on your travels, be sure to file a report with the relevant local authorities as soon as possible. When it comes to an accident, authorities will most likely be notified and be on scene. However, if you have something stolen, it is your responsibility to get in touch with the police, carrier or hotel as soon as possible and seek out a written report. Usually it is best to do this within the first 24 hours. All insurance policies will require a crime number and report in order to process the lost item.

Have the necessary paperwork

When it comes to insurance companies, how much you can prove determines how much of a payout you will get. They need to be certain that you claim is legitimate, and that they have all of the details.

If you have an item that is lost or stolen, monetary value must be proven. If you are due to head out on your travels, think about what valuable items you are taking with you. Although no one wants to prepare for the worst, by taking pictures of each item, you will save yourself a huge headache if anything does go missing.

Keep receipts of any items, tickets, meals or other expenses, in the case of long delays or unexpected changes to your trip. This can be made easier by using your credit card. You may also be required to get written confirmation of any delays or changes from your flight operator-this can usually be done at the airport desk at the time of delay. If that doesn’t seem like a feasible option, you are entitled to reach out to your operator once you return home for a written confirmation, however this will drag out and possibly deter the claim.

For non-emergency medical care, you will have to pay out of pocket at the time, but if you keep all proof of purchase you should be able to claim back for this, if you have adequate coverage.

File as soon as possible

If something goes wrong on vacation, chances are you would rather forget about it so that it doesn’t ruin the rest of your trip. However, when it comes to insurance companies, they tend to have filing deadlines of between 20 and 90 days. The faster you let them know, the more likely they will be able to help you out. While you probably don’t want to spend your valuable trip time on the phone or emailing your insurer, it will benefit you in the end.

You should submit your claim as soon as possible, even if you don’t have all of the necessary documentation on hand. You can always contact your insurer with more proof or paperwork once you have the ball rolling on your claim. Your insurance company will tell you what they need from you, so talking to them first will make sure both parties are in the know.


If you find yourself in a situation where you need to file a claim from overseas, your insurer should provide an emergency contact option, or an overseas line to speak with someone associated. If you decide to leave your claim until you get home, make sure you have all of the necessary documents and call as soon as you return.