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4 Things to Do to Help Your Travel Insurance Claims Go Through

Alevin Chan

Alevin Chan

Last updated 09 March, 2023

Travel insurance claims go through a thorough process being the scenes. Here are four things you can do to help your claim go through.

Best Travel Insurance Plans (2023)
Starr TraveLead Travel Insurance | Allianz Partners Travel Insurance | HLAS CovidSafe Travel Protect 360 | AIG Travel Guard® Direct | FWD Travel Insurance | Singlife Travel Insurance | Starr Cruise To Nowhere Travel Insurance | Sompo Travel Insurance | MSIG TravelEasy | Etiqa (TIQ) Travel Insurance | Tokio Marine TM Xplora Plus | Ergo Travel Protect

Travel insurance policies can offer powerful benefits that far outweigh their cost. Of course, these benefits only trigger when the relevant incident occurs, and you’ll need to submit a claim in order to receive your policy benefits.

While insurers strive to cover as many scenarios as possible, the nature of insurance – essentially sharing risk across a group of participants – means that it is impossible to cover every single eventuality or scenario.

Insurance providers have to manage and edit the list of incidents they cover, so as to keep the cost of insurance affordable for as many people as possible. They also have to carefully evaluate each claim to ensure that payouts are justified, as erroneous or dubious payouts will also cause the cost of insurance to go up.

There’s a lot that can go on behind the scenes in a travel insurance claim, but you can help the process along by doing these four things.

Understand what’s covered, how much, and under what circumstances

As mentioned, your travel insurer will only approve claims that fall within strict stipulations, which makes it crucial to understand exactly what’s covered, how much and under what circumstances.

Pay attention to any explicit exclusions – general or otherwise – that are listed in your policy documents; those are generally non-negotiable and applicable policy wide.

Another thing to note is the sub-limits, which will impact how much you will receive for any one individual item (such as a laptop or tablet), or sub-category of items (such as jewellery).

These sub-limits apply even if the main benefit has not been exhausted.

For example, let’s say you have a S$5,000 maximum benefit for personal luggage, but a S$1,000 sub-limit for personal laptops.

You will only receive S$1,000 in compensation if your laptop gets damaged or stolen – even if it is the only item you are claiming for under your personal luggage benefit.

Hence, if you put in a claim for, say, S$3,000 under your personal luggage benefits, but it’s actually to cover the cost of your stolen laptop, your claim will be countered or even outright rejected.


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Be concise in explaining what happened

When submitting your travel claim, you will be asked to provide an account of what happened. This is a crucial piece of information that is meant to help the person processing your claim better understand what happened.

Thus, you will want to be concise – brief, but detailed – so as to ensure the most accurate interpretation of the causes behind your claim.

As a rule, you’ll want to follow the 5 basic questions that form the basis of any report:

  • Who – The persons affected and/or involved.

  • What – What happened, and pertinent details. Include any contributing or underlying causes, such as negligence on the part of the operator.

  • When – When did the incident happen?

  • Where – Where did this take place?

  • How – How did the incident affect you, or cause losses or damages to you?

Try to keep sentences short and simple as you’re describing your incident. Focus only on the facts, and leave emotion and conjecture out.

Gather supporting documents

Supporting documents are vital in ensuring a successful travel insurance claim, but it can be difficult to understand what documents you should obtain – especially when dealing with an emergency or disruptions to your trip.

Adding to the challenge, different types of claims require different types of supporting documents, as shown in the following table.

Nature of claim

Supporting documents to include

Overseas medical expenses

Hospital bill

Trip cancellation due to illness

Hospital bill

Doctor’s note or medical certificate

Flight delay or cancellation

Notice of delay or cancellation from airline operator, stating the reason or explanation (mechanical fault, adverse weather conditions, etc)

Proof of purchase of flight ticket

Lost luggage

Note from airline certifying loss of luggage

Receipt for replacement items

Boarding pass, flight ticket or proof of purchase

Delayed baggage

Note from airline certifying luggage delay, with duration clearly stipulated

Receipt for replacement items

Boarding pass, flight ticket or proof of purchase

Loss of accommodations

Note from operator certifying withdrawal of accommodations and why

Receipt for alternative accommodations

Proof of purchase

Loss of ticketed attraction

Note from operator certifying withdrawal of service

Proof or purchase

Loss or damage due to burglary or crime

Police report (preferably within 24 hours)

Receipt for replacement items

In particular, you’ll also want to seek refunds or compensation from airlines, tour agents, hotels and other operators. Your request will likely be denied, but you should include their response with your claim anyway.

This is because insurers may operate on a “last resort” basis, which means they may only accept your claim after all other avenues have been exhausted – including asking for refunds or compensation from airlines and tour operators.

Hence, if you submit your claim with no indication of prior attempts to seek refunds or compensation from operators, your insurer may request that you do so before proceeding with the processing of your claim, causing a delay.

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If unsuccessful, try appealing

Lastly, having your claim rejected isn’t the end of the story, and submitting an appeal for your case to be re-evaluated may yield a more favourable result the second time around.

A travel insurance claim may be rejected for many reasons. Sometimes, the cause could be a straightforward one – such as missing documents – which is usually easily resolved.

At other times, there may be a slightly more nuanced reason. For instance, your case may have been misinterpreted, causing the claims officer to reject your claim. If you believe this to be so, you can try sending in an appeal to have your claim re-examined.

If you have any new information that supports your claim, submitting it along with your appeal will be beneficial.

However, do note that this may only work for cases that are on-the-cusp; claims made for causes clearly not covered under the policy will be rejected – end of story – and there’s little point in appealing your claim.

Read these next:

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An ex-Financial Planner with a curiosity about what makes people tick, Alevin’s mission is to help readers understand the psychology of money. He’s also on an ongoing quest to optimise happiness and enjoyment in his life.