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5 steps to a successful travel insurance claim

Half of travel complaints upheld by ombudsman

Luggage label with the words 'travel insurance' on a suitcase

More complaints about travel insurance are upheld by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) than any other kind of major insurance, according to new Which? Travel research.

Over half (53%) of all travel insurance complaints referred to the ombudsman were upheld last year (2013-2014), with consumers having at least part of their claim paid. In comparison, 44% of buildings insurance claims, 39% or contents insurance claims and 38% of car insurance were upheld.

Our research reveals the biggest problem areas for consumers making travel insurance claims include holidays being cancelled or cut short, because of the health of relatives for example. Exclusions based on alcohol consumption; lost, damaged or delayed luggage and lost or stolen possessions also prove troublesome.  

To help you with your travel insurance claims, we’ve put together our five-point plan to give yourself the best chance of having your claim paid.

Find out more: Which? Recommended Providers find the best travel insurance provider for you

Five steps to travel insurance claims success

1. Buy the right policy, not just the cheapest one

When you buy travel insurance, check you have the cover you need. This is especially important if you have relatives receiving medical treatment or who have been ill recently, or if you’re planning adventurous activities, such as diving, skiing or sailing.

2. Yes, it’s boring but read the policy

Terms vary from provider to provider, so familiarise yourself with their rules – and follow them. Make sure you disclose any pre-existing medical conditions and if you can’t do so online, give the company a call. And remember to disclose any changes in your health after you’ve taken the policy out.

3. Don’t delay, file quickly

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. Claim rejected? It’s not over yet

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. Call in the big guns

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. 

Our recent travel insurance claims satisfaction survey found that around 6% of travel insurance claims from Which? members were rejected in the past two years. Most claimants think their claims were rejected unreasonably, but when this happens, many people do not take any further action.

But with more than half of travel insurance complaints being upheld by the ombudsman, it’s well worth taking your claim further if at first it’s rejected.

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