Insurance is the one product that you buy hoping you'll never have to use it. But if disaster strikes, claiming needn’t be a hassle. Follow our steps for making a stress-free travel insurance claim.
Pack your insurance documents
Your insurance documents are as important to your holiday as sun cream, flip-flops and sunglasses, so make sure they are safely stashed in your luggage.
The documents will outline exactly what you are and aren’t covered for, and will have your policy number and the emergency contact details of your insurer if you need to make a claim.
Don’t delay your claim
Even if you don’t think that your claim is particularly urgent, make sure you tell your insurer as soon as possible. Many policies will have a time limit for claiming, so your best bet is to call your provider straight away.
Making swift contact is even more important if you need to make a medical claim because many providers insist that you check with them before you get treatment.
However, use your discretion if you're seriously injured. Don’t delay a trip to the emergency room because you're trying to find out if your insurance covers you.
Report crimes as soon as possible
Speed is also of the essence if you're a victim of crime. If any of your belongings are stolen, make sure you tell the local police immediately.
Your insurer will want a crime reference number before you can pursue a claim, and the conditions of some policies mean that you must report a crime within 24 hours.
If it's not possible to get over to the police station, tell your holiday rep or hotel manager, and ask them to help you put together a written report.
Keep all your receipts if you're delayed
Severe delays at the airport are incredibly frustrating, especially if you're counting down the seconds until you can sun yourself on the beach.
Many insurers will reimburse you for food and drink, and sometimes even accommodation if you're delayed, so remember to keep all your receipts to show your provider as proof.
You usually also need proof of delay from your flight or tour operator. It's much easier to do at the time of the delay, so find a representative and ask them for written confirmation.
The same goes for lost luggage. If you arrive on your holiday but your bags haven’t made the trip, you can also claim back expenses for essential items.
However, make sure you check your claim limits. Your insurer will not pay out if you buy a range of fancy expensive goods to tide you over until your luggage turns up.
Don’t lose out if your airline goes bust
Travel insurance may also help if your airline goes bust, especially if you have bought flights and hotels separately, rather than a traditional package holiday.
Scheduled airline failure cover helps you get a refund or an alternative flight if your airline goes bust.
If you have bought a package holiday, your operator should arrange alternative flights under the ATOL scheme.
You should also check to see if your cover includes Financial Failure Protection – cover for if you have a non-package holiday to protect you against hotels, villas and campsites becoming insolvent.
Know your rights: What to do if your airline goes bust – take action with the help of our consumer rights guide.
Speak up if you have a claim rejected
If an insurer rejects your claim, it doesn’t mean the end of the road. Raise a formal complaint with the insurer and, if your claim is denied for a second time, or it hasn’t been resolved within eight weeks, take it up with the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Raising a complaint is free, and the Ombudsman will adjudicate and provide a ruling.