One of the last things you want to do while on vacation is have to file an insurance claim. And if you think that would put a damper on your trip, imagine if the claim were denied. Considering up to 10% of travel insurance claims are turned down every year, it’s definitely a possibility, but one that can be greatly minimized if you’re prepared ahead of time. In order to help you circumvent any possible issues should the unthinkable happen, we’ve compiled this guide to filing an travel insurance claim the proper way!
1. Choosing the right insurance
Your insurance claim is only as good as the insurance that’s backing it, so do some research on travel insurance before you even book your trip. When you’re ready to get quotes, make sure to download a couple of different policies and read through each thoroughly before making a final decision. Be aware of sections such as pre-existing conditions and read those with a fine-tooth comb. These can be tricky. You personally may not have any issues that you would think qualify as a “pre-existing condition”, but you’d be surprised by the wide criteria that insurance companies use. For example, if you have a pregnant daughter who goes into labor, some insurance companies can deny your claim as a “pre-existing condition” if it prevents you from traveling. If you’re reading through your policy and you have any questions at all, call the provider to clear it up before you travel. You will want to know what coverage you have before you leave for your vacation so there are no misunderstandings. You’ll also want to choose an emergency contact and provide them with your insurance information just in case they need to file a claim if you’re unable to do so expediently.
2. Before you file
Once you know that you’re going to need to file an insurance claim, ensure that you document everything. Jot down the names of any customer service reps you speak to and keep all receipts organized and in a safe place to make the process as smooth as possible. If you are on vacation and need medical services, be certain that they’re absolutely necessary. Most travel medical insurance policies only cover true emergencies. If you’re just feeling under the weather, try to ride it out. But if you do find that you need medical services, call your insurance provider immediately, preferably before you even head to the nearest emergency medical center so they can walk you through the correct steps. If your claim involves a crime, file a police report immediately and pay for a copy of the report for your records (just in case the insurance company misplaces the original.) Also, determine whether you need to file through any of your personal insurance providers first, either homeowners or personal health insurance. Your claim could get lost in insurance purgatory if you file through the wrong company first, so verify which insurance should be the primary contact in case of an emergency.
3. When you file
If you need to file a claim, try to do so as soon as possible. The customer service representative can walk you through the correct process. If you wait too long, you may make mistakes or miss crucial steps that could result in the claim being denied. On that same note, don’t try to handle anything on your own. If you find yourself stranded somewhere, call your insurance provider immediately and they will handle your emergency preparations for you or walk you through the steps you’ll need to take. You’ll risk your claim being denied if you set up your own arrangements, like a hotel or rental car, even if you keep all receipts and documentation. When you begin the process of filing the paperwork, you’ll want to confirm that you have all of the documents required for your claim, and that necessary components are dated. This handy guide will help you figure out exactly what you’ll need for the major types of claims. Also, keep the golden rule in mind. Even if you’re frustrated, please remember that insurance representatives are doing their jobs to the best of their abilities, so always remain polite, calm and kind when interacting with them. You’re apt to get a much quicker and more satisfying outcome if you use proper manners.