Everything you need to know about travel insurance claims

Planning a holiday or trip away soon? Organising travel insurance should definitely be near the top of your preparation list.

Insurance is one of those products that we can’t risk travelling without – but really hope we’ll never need to use! But, as easy as it is to find travel insurance online today, you need to do more than just type “cheap travel insurance” into a search engine and buy the first product you come across if you really want to protect yourself properly.

Because if the worst happens and you do need to make a claim for a loss or theft, or if you have an accident while traveling, you could end up regretting not looking into your travel insurance policy more carefully before buying.

So, to help make sure you’re fully protected when you’re on holiday, here’s everything you need to know about travel insurance – from choosing the right policy to making a claim.

Check the small print before buying travel insurance

It’s easy to find quick online quotes for travel insurance that are so cheap they seem almost too good to be true. And often they are!

When choosing your travel insurance you need to look beyond the prices before you buy. Because the last thing you want is to discover, when something goes wrong, is that your bargain travel insurance won’t cover you.

Some policies offer more protection than others, so be clear about exactly what you need to get cover for (medical treatment is a given) and what you can forgo.

If you plan to practice extreme sports, such as bungee jumping and skydiving, for example, you need to make sure your insurance covers you for those. Even riding a quad bike or moped could land you in expensive trouble if you haven’t got the right travel insurance cover.

And it’s not just cover you need to look at. Some travel insurance policies seem cheap until you check their excess amounts… and you realise that many claims just wouldn’t be worth making. So always check the small print before you buy.

Don’t leave home without the details

Before leaving home, make sure you have all your important policy details to hand, such as your policy number and your insurer’s contact details.

The easiest way to do this is to have all your documents accessible online. But it’s always wise to have a hard copy as a back up in case you lose or damage your phone (or it’s stolen) or you don’t have mobile coverage or access to the internet. It’s also a good idea to leave a copy of these details at home with someone you trust.

If you do need to make a claim, do it quickly

If you need to make a claim on your travel insurance, don’t hang around. You usually need to do it within 31 days of the incident. And if you miss the deadline, your claim could be rejected.

Before you make your claim, double check your excess. In some cases you may be better off taking a hit on the loss than paying out the excess.

Make sure all your paperwork is correct

If you lose an item, are a victim of theft (or worse), make sure you report it to the police within 24 hours and get a local police report and crime number. Check that everything in the report is correct (when and what happened – and specifically what has been lost or stolen).

You’ll need to give this report to your insurer when you make a claim. You’ll also need to prove that you’re the owner of the specific object that you’re claiming for. So keep receipts for your laptop, camera or phone – or any other expensive gadgets that may be stolen.

And very importantly, bear in mind that the insurer will not cover you if the object was stolen while you left it unattended. So, for example, if your phone is stolen from the beach when you’re swimming, your claim will be rejected.

They will also only pay out the current value of your possessions. So if you paid £1,000 for your camera last year, the travel insurer will pay only what it’s worth now, which sometimes can be a fraction of the original cost.

Photo by Artem Bali