First, call the doctor
If you or your family member has an illness that prevents you from going on your trip you will need proof from a doctor — advising you that you cannot take your trip — in order to make your trip cancellation claim.
Your insurer will require a full diagnosis and a “physician’s statement” about the diagnosis even if you have a pre-existing condition.
It is your responsibility to prove to the insurance company that you qualify for trip cancellation. Advising them that you have to cancel simply isn’t enough.
If you have a medical emergency during your trip, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
If you are able to, it’s best to contact your travel insurance company first, before you go in for treatment. They can help assess your illness and provide you with guidance on the proper medical facility to get treatment at if necessary. They will also immediately engage to take care of the process and payments.
If your emergency is severe and you are not able to contact your travel insurer first, as soon as the emergency is under control inform your travel insurance company of the situation.
Phone your insurer for advice
If you need to cancel your trip for reasons other than illness, you may be able to. Situations that are beyond your personal control such as fire, disaster or losing your job, a government issued travel advisory warning you to avoid non-essential travel or a tour operator cancellation could be qualifying reasons for a claim.
Regardless of your situation, call your travel insurer’s assistance line for guidance. Don’t make any assumptions about your coverage! They will be able to tell you what documentation you will need to make a successful claim.
If it’s a medical situation, your insurer’s 24/7 assistance helpline will provide guidance regarding the best hospital to receive care, arranging care and transportation, and even serving as translator in foreign countries. Medical benefits and some trip expenses are only covered if approved in advance.
Don’t wait to make your claim, and save your documents
As soon as you realize you need to make a claim on your policy, you should contact your travel insurance provider. While some insurers allow up to 20 days to make a claim it is possible that your coverage may be altered, or potentially decreased, if the emergency assistance department is not notified within a certain time frame.
And remember – it is helpful if you have given your emergency contact your insurance information if you cannot make the call yourself.
It is very important to save documentation for everything you can. The insurance company will obviously need proof of expenses and amounts you have paid A claim can be held up if there is a lack of substantiating information. The more documentation the better, including
- receipts and itemized bills for all expenses (trip cancellation)
- unused tickets, proof of payments (trip cancellation)
- explanation of diagnosis from a doctor or a physician’s statement (medical claims)
- proof from the airline that your baggage was delayed.
Make sure all the documents have a date and time. Also keep track of the personnel you deal with at the insurance company, including an operator number or first and last name and the claim reference number.
Your insurer will provide you with a claim form. Complete and submit the claim form with all required documentation outlined in the form to your insurer.
Wait patiently for your benefits
You may be pleasantly surprised at how quickly your insurer processes your claim, or you may not receive your answer right away. A travel insurance claim will usually take about two business weeks. In that time you may be contacted by the insurer for additional information. The good news is that the majority of travel insurance claims submitted are paid.
If your claim is denied, you will receive a clear explanation. You may be able to appeal your claim, and will need to depend on your documentation as proof of medical consultations, prescriptions, dates of tests and medical interventions or carrier or travel bill receipts that prove monetary value.
Have insurance… in case you need to make a claim
Travel insurance may seem expensive at first, it can potentially save you thousands of dollars when something goes terribly wrong. Make sure you’ve put insurance in place. Give us a call; we can help.