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Tips & Advices
What are the steps to file a travel insurance claim?
Make sure you have copies of all relevant documents and email communication chains. If possible, begin the process of filing the claim while you are still at the destination.
Contact your travel insurance provider and ask them what exactly they will need to process the claim. They will typically email you the forms with instructions. They will also give you a claim number, which will be essential to filing and tracking your claim. In addition to filling out forms and providing documentation, you may need to provide additional details:
For medical claims, you may need ER, treatment, admit/discharge records, copies of bills, and documents from primary medical insurer.
For lost/stolen baggage, you will need to show copies of reports filed with law enforcement.
If you are filing for reimbursement due to missed connections or cancelled flights, you will need to provide copies of hotel bills, unexpected flight tickets home, or other expenses you’re claiming.
If you are filing a medical claim, you must provide the name of a doctor who can verify your claim and, if needed, release medical information for the people named in the claim.
Some documentation will need to be faxed. Other parts can be emailed. Not all insurance companies require every piece of documentation for a claim to be sent together. However, make sure to put the claim number on every piece of documentation.
Does travel insurance cover natural disasters or terrorist attacks?
Natural disasters and terrorist attacks are covered in most trip cancellation/trip interruption policies and some travel medical insurance policies.
How long will it take for the insurance company to process a claim?
All insurance companies stipulate that the length of time to process a claim varies according to the situation – but in emergency situations, especially medical emergencies or natural disasters, companies act as quickly as possible. Reimbursement claims for trip cancellation, lost baggage, unplanned return flights, and other unexpected expenses are usually reviewed and processed within five to 30 business days of all paperwork being submitted, and settled within 30-60 days. The processing times vary according to company policy, but also can be delayed by special circumstances and a high volume of claims (often due to severe weather or natural disasters).
How does trip cancellation coverage work?
Trip cancellation coverage reimburses the policyholder for pre-paid, non-refundable fare costs, cancellation penalties, and some additional expenses incurred (like an unplanned return flight) when cancelling or interrupting a trip for a covered reason. On a typical plan, covered reasons include illness and injury (the policy owner or their family member), loss of employment or flight cancellations. Other coverage is available for trips cancelled due to missed connections. A broader and more expensive “Cancel for Any Reason” policy type is available through most major insurers.
Read the terms very carefully, as policies are all different, and most have pre-existing conditions waivers for illness/injury.
Is travel insurance needed on top of other types of insurance?
Travel insurance covers situations that no other types of insurance cover, so even if you have auto, health and life insurance, you may opt for a travel policy to cover things like trip cancellation, emergency evacuation, and flight delays.
Specific to medical coverage areas, many people with medical insurance choose a travel insurance policy with full medical coverage when traveling in foreign countries or out of state. This is because many medical insurance policies do not consider out-of-state doctors in-network, and also because emergency situations when traveling can incur unforeseen costs far out of the coverage scope of a normal medical plan.