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5 Common Mistakes People Make When Making A Travel Insurance Claim

Gredel Shadroch

Gredel Shadroch

Last updated 10 June, 2022

There’s nothing more stressful than having to snap out of holiday mode to file a travel insurance claim. Maybe that’s why a lot of travellers make mistakes and have their claims denied? Well, whatever the case, we’re here to help you steer clear of those common mistakes. 

Going through the fine print of a travel insurance policy can be quite the task especially when you’re all geared up to holiday. Leaving it unread is one of the most common mistakes people make while submitting a travel insurance claim. However, that’s just the beginning. 

We’ve put together a list of five most common mistakes that people make when submitting a travel insurance claim. This will help keep you from making the same mistakes. We’ll also share our expert tips on how to go about filing a claim. 

Submitting a travel insurance claim? No biggie!

Mistakes to Avoid While Submitting a Travel Insurance Claim

Here are five of the most common mistakes people make and the consequences: 

#1 Not knowing the different plan conditions and tiers

Let’s address that bit about the fine print first. It’s important to read them carefully, folks! Every policy comes with its own set of conditions and knowing them can mean the difference between having your claim accepted or denied. These limitations could be in terms of the item value, certain situations, or even medical outbreaks.

Since every insurer has their own set of conditions, you can’t always be sure about the limitations. So be sure to read the fine print and contact your insurance agent in case you don’t quite understand something. The last thing you want is to go through the effort of filing a claim and have it be denied. 

Example: Let’s say you’ve filed a claim for missing your flight. Maybe because you couldn’t find a cab in time? However, that’s not an insured event. So your claim will be denied on the grounds of an uninsured reason. 

Knowing the limitations of your policy such as insured and uninsured reasons are important when filing a travel insurance claim. 

#2 Fabricating or overclaiming 

Fabricating a loss or even claiming more than the actual loss is basically insurance fraud. You might think it’s not common. However, many people add a couple of extra dollars to a claim thinking they won’t be caught. 

Claim investigators are trained to track the authenticity of each and every claim. They can easily spot misrepresented facts and that could land you in a lot of trouble — the least of which being the denial of your claim. 

Make sure the claims you’re making, whether for illness, theft, or any other loss have actually happened and the amount you are claiming is backed by proof. There’s no point trying to sneakily add in a couple of extra hundreds. It will only affect your entire claim and possibly leave you blacklisted. 

Example: Your travel bag which contained a few souvenirs as well as your tablet has been stolen. While submitting a claim you decide to list your tablet as a higher model than what you actually owned to get a little extra from the claim. 

However, claim investigators will require a receipt of purchase for the listed tablet. Seeing as how you’ve tried to overclaim, you won’t be able to furnish the required documentation. This will result in your travel insurance claim being denied and your coverage revoked. 

#3 Documentation

There are two main types of mistakes people make when it comes to providing supporting documentation — submitting the wrong documents and not having the required documents. 

Every travel insurance claim submission will require you to provide supporting documentation. This could be your travel itinerary, tickets, reservations, police reports (in case of accidents and theft), or even medical bills and reports. Depending on the claim you are making, your insurer will specify certain proofs that need to be submitted. It’s absolutely important that you submit the right documents. 

One of the most common mistakes with documents that people make is not saving things. The last thing on anyone’s mind while they’re travelling is saving bills, receipts, prescriptions, etc. But trust us — it’s probably the most important thing you can do. You never know when you need to submit a claim and the supporting document is that little bill you tossed in the trash. 

Example: Let’s say you’ve just had a scrumptious seafood dinner. You reach your hotel room and make a mad dash to the washroom to throw up. You’re down with a case of food poisoning. You head to the nearest hospital and the doc writes up a prescription. You get your meds and head back. 

When you file your travel insurance claim, you find that the insurers want both the doctor’s bill and statement/prescription as well as the bill for your medicines. But you don’t have the prescription anymore. The lack of this important document means your pharmacy purchase isn’t valid and your entire claim gets denied. 

#4 It’s too late

Here again we see two common problems — starting your coverage too late and filing a claim too late. 

It’s quite common for people to think that they require coverage only from the first day they arrive at their destination. However, a lot could happen while you’re travelling. If you’re not insured for those dates as well, you could end up with hefty losses should things go awry.

So always purchase travel insurance a few weeks before the travel date as you're covered for "bankruptcy of travel agency", medical expenses if you’re involved in an accident while travelling to the airport (some insurers do cover that). You can also claim for the unused hotel and planned trip expenses if something were to occur a few days before the trip that causes you to have to forgo the trip (death of family member, illness, etc).

When you file a claim, it needs to be done within a stipulated time. This is usually 30 days from the date of the event. However, if you don’t make it within that time frame, your claim could be denied. Note that it could be denied even if you have all the required documents to prove what happened. 

Example: Let’s say you were cycling in the countryside when a car coming from the opposite direction knocked you over. You end up in the hospital with a fracture and the last thing on your mind is filing an insurance claim. 

You remember to take all the required documents with you so you can file the travel insurance claim once you’re back home. However, things keep getting in the way and by the time you finally get around to it, it’s too late. You go ahead and submit it anyway. 

The claim is denied because it was submitted 31 days post the date of the event. Every day counts!

#5 Claiming reimbursed costs

Travel insurance is designed to reimburse you for financial losses caused by insured reasons. If you’ve already been reimbursed for a loss by the selling party, then you cannot file a travel insurance claim for the same. This is regardless of whether it is an insured reason or not. 

Example: You’re all set to head to the airport when you learn that your flight has been cancelled due to political instability at the destination. The airline also issues a refund on your cancelled ticket. 

Now while a cancelled flight is an insured reason, your travel insurance claim would still be declined. Why? Simply because this loss has already been reimbursed by the airline. 

You can still however claim for other insured losses that have occurred due to the cancellation. For example, your hotel reservation.

How to File a Travel Insurance Claim Correctly?

Every travel insurance provider might have a few procedural differences. There may also be some differences in terms of the documentation required. So be sure to read the travel insurance claim process on their website when you purchase the policy. 

However, here is a standard procedure for filing a travel insurance claim online:

#1 Notify your insurer

Before leaving on your holiday, be sure to save your insurance provider’s helpline number. Some insurers also have a separate helpline for overseas medical emergencies. 

No matter the situation, be it just a flight delay, a theft, or even an accident, the first thing to do is to notify your insurer. Call the helpline number and fill them in on what has happened. 

They will be able to help you understand if it’s an insured event or not. They’ll also be able to provide overseas assistance if your policy includes such coverage. Most importantly though, they’ll be able to guide you through the process of filing a travel insurance claim with the right documents. 

Tip: Keep your policy number and policyholder’s name handy before calling the helpline. They will need it to verify your coverage policy. Also, write the helpline number of a piece of paper and keep it in your wallet. You don’t want to find yourself in a pickle in case your phone has been stolen. 

#2 Gather necessary documents

Depending on the situation you find yourself in, you might need a different set of documents to produce as proof. You can cross-check what’s required on your insurer’s website. 

Here are a few common documents to keep handy:

  • Copy of your passport and visa
  • Trip itinerary
  • Boarding pass and tickets
  • Documentation supporting flight delay, cancellation and baggage loss
  • Hotel reservations
  • Local police reports in case of accidents and theft
  • Proof of ownership for stolen items
  • Medical bills and doctor’s statement
  • Hospital bills for proof of cost
  • In case of death or disablement — police report (if any), medical reports, death certificate

Tip: Keep a copy of every bill and receipt from the time you begin making bookings for your holiday. It’s always good to keep a soft copy of all these documents so it’s easy to source and file online. 

#3 Submit your claim

You can submit your travel insurance claim online. It’s faster and easier to submit your claim online rather than filling out the form and posting it yourself. Almost all insurers now have easy-to-fill online claims forms that can be found on their website. 

Keep all your documents handy before beginning to file your claim. You can also keep in touch with the insurance helpline to ensure you have the right documents for your claim. 

Once your claim is submitted you can track the status of your claim online. You can also choose how you want the claim to be credited to you if it’s been approved. The fastest way to get your claim money is to have it credited directly into the bank account linked to your policy.

Read these next:
Best Travel Insurance Plans And Promotions In Singapore (June 2022)
Best Travel Insurance Plans With Covid-19 Coverage
10 Prudent Things You Can Do With Your Travel Fund If Covid-19 Has Derailed Your Trip
Money Confessions: Have You Ever Submitted A Travel Claim?
What Happens if You Catch COVID-19 Overseas on a Holiday?