Cover is excluded for COVID-19. See the latest developments here on COVID-19 Travel Alerts and the global do not travel issued by DFAT on the 18th of March.
How to make sure you are eligible for an travel insurance claim?
March 21, 2018
The Financial Ombudsman Service reported that less than 10% of travel insurance claims are denied, and although this is quite low, you want to be assured you don’t fall into that small minority.
Travel insurance is both important and necessary when going overseas, and we strongly recommend to book travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday. The right policy can end up saving you a great deal of money when it comes to things like overseas medical treatment, cancelled trips, or lost belongings.
Fully understanding your travel insurance policy is essential for knowing whether or not you are entitled to make a claim. Here are some helpful tips you should follow to make sure your claim is eligible.
Understand Your Policy
Understanding your policy and reading the PDS will allow you to fully understand what you’re covered for during your travels. You need to make sure that all destinations you visit are covered under your policy, and that it includes all types of transportation you will use. For instance, if you will be taking a cruise you will need to make sure you have appropriate cruise travel insurance.
Note that your trip’s duration may be restricted when it comes to coverage and will depend on your age and destination. You will also need to make sure your insurer is aware of any pre-existing medical conditions which may impact your claim.
There are also restrictions regarding pregnancy and how late into your pregnancy you can travel with travel insurance coverage. Likewise, engaging in certain activities or sports may not be covered by your policy in any circumstance or may require additional coverage such as winter sports cover.
Be aware of your policy’s excess and coverage limits so you know exactly how much out of pocket expenses you will incur and how much will be covered by your insurer. Note that your excess amount is usually applied per claimed event and you will be unable to claim items that are less than your excess amount.
If you decide your chosen policy is not right for you, there is usually a full refund policy within 14 days of purchase so long as your trip has not commenced or you have not made a claim. This will allow you to select a more appropriate policy that will better suit your needs.
Pre-existing medical conditions
When it comes to pre-existing medical conditions, it is wise to be honest and fully disclose any conditions you may think could potentially impact any claims you may make. You generally must disclose any diagnosed medical condition which you have suffered from or received treatment for in the last five years.
Any pre-existing medical condition will generally be considered; however, acceptance of a pre-existing medical condition will depend on each traveller’s individual situation. Many conditions may even be covered free of charge.
However, in the unfortunate circumstance your condition does not qualify, you can still purchase travel insurance. Refusal of coverage for your condition will only void claims which arise from your refused pre-existing condition. You will still be covered for any medical claims that are unrelated to your refused pre-existing medical condition.
Whether your claim involves overseas medical treatment, lost baggage, or travel delays, you must notify your insurer as soon as possible if you plan on making a claim. Your travel insurance company’s 24/7 emergency assistance number is one of your greatest tools that comes with your insurance. They will be able to inform you on what you need to do in order to file a successful claim. This service can be utilised before, during, and after your trip.
Your travel insurance company will be able to assist you with pre-trip advice such as what vaccinations you may need, aid you in the event of lost luggage or belongings, coordinate medical evacuation, and help when it comes to overseas medical treatment.
You should contact your insurance company before agreeing to any medical treatment or tests when possible to make sure it will be covered. You must also report any incidents of loss or theft to the local police or appropriate authority within 24 hours. Be sure to keep any written policy statements that can be used as evidence.
Keep all documentation
If travelling with high value items, make sure those items are covered by your policy and be sure to have documentation such as receipts that show proof of ownership.
Keep all documents and receipts during your travels which may be required when making a claim. This may include things like airline statements in the events of misplaced baggage, police reports regarding accidents or theft, medical or doctor’s statements explaining treatment received, and receipts for additional expenses incurred due to travel disruption or delays.
Keep anything you think may support your claim. Too much evidence is better than not enough.
Be aware of deadlines
You must register any claim within 30 days after the completion of your travels along with providing all the requested documents needed to accept your claim. There may be additional documentation you need to submit that may also have deadlines so the earlier you submit your claim the better off you’ll be.
Note that reporting incidents to local authorities during your travel must also be done in a timely manner, usually within 24 hours.
To make sure you can claim back costs, allow your insurance company to coordinate necessary arrangements for you where they may also be able to front certain costs you may incur. If you find yourself facing delays in filing a claim, make your insurer aware of this.
You will find there are exclusions to your travel insurance policy, so make sure you are aware of them. Being intoxicated at any point during your travels may cause any claim you make to be denied, especially if you were intoxicated during an event for which you are filing a claim. You must also not knowingly place yourself in harm’s way whether that means entering a restricted area or travelling to a dangerous region.
Certain sports and activities such as sky diving and hang-gliding are usually not covered whereas winter sports will require purchasing an upgrade to have them included on your policy. If you plan to rent and ride a motorcycle during your travels you must have a valid motorcycle license and always wear a helmet to be covered by your policy.
It should go without saying, however, engaging in any illegal activity or using illegal drugs during your travels will no doubt have your claim denied. These are just some of the examples of common exclusions – for a full list you should check the PDS of your policy.
Follow the advice offered by the Smartraveller website which will advise you on the latest travel warnings and may help you provide evidence to your travel insurance company should you be advised not to travel to a destination after booking your holiday.
Choosing a travel insurance company which offers a simple claims process makes your life much easier in the event an unfortunate incident occurs during you travels. Be sure to have your policy number and details readily available during your travels, therefore your policy information can quickly be accessed in the event you need to make a claim. Should you have any questions, make use of your company’s 24/7 hotline that will be there to assist you along the way.