It will always be difficult to fill out forms and gather the required documents, but just like waxing your legs, if you already know exactly what to do and how to prepare, the whole process can be relatively quick and painless – sup sup sui!
How to make a travel insurance claim
So the problem with travel insurance is that people only remember it when something unpleasant is interfering with their travel plans.
Then we panic and scramble when the insurer asks for things like the purchase receipt for a DSLR bought six years ago.
Seems familiar? If so, here’s a pro tip: Know what you can and can’t claim, and make sure you have a rough idea of what supporting documents are needed.
It’s good practice to have a copy of your insurance policy on your phone, so you can always check it when you need it, even on the go.
Some travelers also have a habit of taking photos of their luggage and personal effects before travel, just in case something is lost, delayed or damaged.
The exact claims procedure will depend on your insurance provider, but generally the process goes as follows:
1. Contact your insurer as soon as possible
Depending on your policy, there is usually a time limit on how long you can wait before giving written notice of your intention to claim.
Usually it’s 30 days, but even then you shouldn’t be taking your time. Keep in mind that you may need to involve other people, like the police or your GP, and this will take time.
2. Download and complete the travel insurance claim forms
Not all travel claim forms are created equal. Make sure you know what you’re claiming for – whether you’re claiming for medical reasons, or whether there’s been a delay or a cancellation, or even if it’s both.
It is important to choose the correct form, as leaving blanks in the form could cause delays in the claims process.
Also note that, for claims resulting from illness, injury or death, you may need a general practitioner or specialist to complete the sections of the form for you.
Yes, this means that even if you make a request for travel cancellation due to illness, you will have to ask your general practitioner or specialist to certify that your illness did not exist, or that you were not aware, before booking the trip.
3. Prepare your supporting documents
This is the number one cause of delayed or rejected claims, so make sure you have everything you need before you file the claim.
Along with a completed claim form and copy of insurance policy / certificate, you will also need to include your passport / itinerary to prove that you have traveled or at least planned your trip.
Then there is a whole list of supporting documents that you will need to provide depending on the type of claim you are making.
|Type of travel insurance claim||Supporting documents required|
|Personal injury and medical costs||Original medical invoices and receipts, medical report or discharge summary showing date, cause and nature of injury / illness, police report (for accidents)|
|Loss of personal belongings||Lost property police report, property loss irregularity report, original purchase invoice and / or warranty card|
|Damaged personal effects||Property damage irregularity report, photos of damaged items, repairman’s diagnostic report showing cause and extent of damage, repair invoice or quote, original purchase invoice and / or warranty card|
|Baggage delay||Written confirmation from the carrier / airline on the delay period or acknowledgment of return of baggage|
|Travel disruptions (delays, overbooking, etc.)||Written confirmation from airline / carrier, written confirmation from travel agent / carrier / hotel on amount refunded and additional charges|
|Trip cancellation or interruption||Written confirmation from travel agent / carrier / hotel on additional charges incurred, confirmation of hotel accommodation confirmation or travel deposit receipt|
|Trip cancellation or interruption (if death or illness is the cause)||Death certificate, proof of kinship with the sick or deceased person, medical report certifying the diagnosis and that the insured is not fit to travel|
|Rental vehicle allowance and other related expenses||Vehicle rental agreement, police report / proof of traffic accident (e.g. photographs), original receipt of overpayment, repair invoices|
|Personal responsibility||Letter of complaint or documents received from third party, photographs of damaged third party property|
Generally, if this requires a police report, you will need to report it to local police within 24 hours of the incident.
Additionally, if you intend to claim goods that have been damaged or stolen, you will need to produce original purchase receipts and photos to prove that you own these items.
If you are a die-hard “KonMari” fan and have thrown away receipts for all your fancy gadgets – cameras, laptops, etc. – then it is better not to travel with these items.
4. If you contract Covid-19 before, during or after your trip, prepare these additional documents
These days, travel insurance providers have extended their coverage for Covid-19, but at a cost.
This is usually an additional $ 20 to $ 40, and you should check to see if your insurer requires you to take and receive a negative PCR test result immediately after purchasing your policy.
If you catch Covid-19 before, during, or after your trip, here’s what you need to do:
|Type of travel insurance claim||Supporting documents and necessary actions|
|Covid-19 before your trip||
|Covid-19 during your trip||
|Covid-19 after your trip||
5. Submit your travel insurance claims online, in person or by regular mail
Once you have everything you need, you can officially file the claim. Most insurers now have online platforms for easy submission, which is ideal for the younger and more tech-savvy.
I personally made medical expense claims through the FWD website and it was surprisingly fast and transparent.
For those who prefer to do it offline, you can either send your documents by mail or go directly to the branch.
How long will my travel insurance claims take?
Typically, complaints take a week to a month to process. The first thing to do is to make sure that they have received your supporting documents.
If you haven’t heard from them for two weeks, you absolutely need to be proactive and contact your insurer.
The last thing you want to hear is that they hadn’t even started processing your requests because you forgot something and you weren’t informed.
My travel insurance claims have been denied. Can I appeal?
Yes you can. If your claims have been refused, the insurer is required to provide you with a valid reason and the reasons for its decision. Once you get this you can then request a claims appeal.
What happens in the future depends on the insurer and how they handle your case, but let’s be honest here: there is always a conflict of interest with an insurance claim.
Your goal is to get as much compensation as possible. The program of an insurance company is to reduce your claim as much as possible. So yes, you can appeal, but it may not always be successful.
ALSO READ: Insurance Claims in Singapore: How They Work and What You Need to Submit