Top tips for a successful travel insurance claim

26 February 2015

holiday It’s still February, it’s still grey and it’s still cold. Why not book a sneaky ski trip, or plan something for sunnier shores to cheer yourself up, always remembering to also book yourself some travel insurance to go with that.

But before you buy, why not take a look at Which!!!’s top five tips for making sure you have the best chance of a successful claim when something goes wrong on your jollies.

Which isn’t pessimistic at all…

1. The best policy isn’t always the cheapest

Which!!! advise you to check you have the cover you actually need. In the same way that cheaper car insurance policies might not offer extras such as courtesy cars or legal protection, make sure the cover you pick does actually cover what you want to do. Sometimes going for specialist winter sports policies, for example, might be cheaper than adding winter sports cover to a cheaper policy.

Also, if you go away frequently, check whether it would work our cheaper in the long run to buy an annual policy rather than a number of shorter trip plans. Finally, travel insurance is included as a perk with some bank accounts- if that cover does the job, you don’t have to pay anything extra at all.

2. Check the terms and conditions

We’ve all heard the tales of obscure terms and conditions that compel you to offer your first born child or something, but terms are really important in travel insurance. Sometimes, certain countries or activities are excluded, so you need to know this before you buy. Which!!! highlight the need for disclosing any pre-existing medical conditions, and not being able to make such a disclosure in an online system is no excuse - you’ll have to give them a call. Non-disclosure of a condition could render the whole policy invalid, even if any claim has nothing to do with that condition.

Getting medical cover as part of your travel insurance after a serious illness like cancer can be difficult, or prohibitively expensive, but if you talk to the insurer, they can often arrange cover that simply excludes that particular condition- which is better than nothing and would still cover you if you broke your leg in an accident or something.

3. Don’t delay, file quickly

Which!!! say that, in the case of a claim, you should file claims as quickly as you can and make sure you send any supporting documents within the given time frames (a month is usual). Keep any receipts relating to your claim, and if you’re claiming for a broken possession, keep the broken item as you might need it as proof.

4. Rejected claims

Which!!! research found that 6% of claims were rejected over the past two years, with the biggest problem areas including holidays being cancelled or cut short, exclusions based on alcohol consumption; lost, damaged or delayed luggage and lost or stolen possessions.

Which advise you to complain in writing – by post or email – to your insurer if you feel your claim has been rejected unfairly. Insurance companies then have up to eight weeks to look into your case. If you speak to anyone on the phone, make sure to keep a note of the date, time and full name of the person you spoke with.

5. Go all the way…

If after eight weeks you feel your provider hasn’t handled your claim fairly, you can refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service, which will look into the case for you.

More than half (53%) of travel insurance complaints, which is more than any other type of major insurance, are upheld by the ombudsman, so it’s likely to be worth your while to go further with your claim.

TOPICS:   Travel

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