For most of us, travel is something we eagerly anticipate, look forward to, and enjoy planning for. Something we don’t plan on doing though, is having an incident for which we need to claim. Losing our luggage, mislaying our mobile phone or having our travel bag stolen containing travel documents and money are all risks than can easily occur but the blow can be softened if you have a good travel insurance.
But what should you look out for when making a claim? All too often, claims are rejected or only partially accepted by insurers due to the making of some basic errors. This blog explores some top tips to help you take the pain out of making a claim!
Always study the fine print
They say don’t sweat the small stuff in life, but when it comes to the fine print in an insurance policy it is important. Always read your travel insurance policy carefully both when making plans and before you depart for your trip. Understand exactly what you are and aren’t covered for to avoid any nasty surprises when you’re away. Whilst policies tend to cover a lot of risks, they can’t cover everything and there are terms and conditions that will apply too. Do your homework before you leave home to save headaches and heartaches later!
Check Other Ways To Cover Yourself And Your Items
Just because an item isn’t covered fully or indeed not at all under your travel insurance policy, it doesn’t mean you can’t insure it. If you have other policies such as Home Insurance or Medical Insurance (which of course is compulsory in Dubai and other emirates of the UAE) you may have some complementary cover: meaning that there is a parallel policy coverage elsewhere. Some medical/health insurances offer worldwide emergency coverage, for example, and some home insurance policies have personal possessions sections that provide cover for items outside of the home and in your custody, care and control, so you may find that lost camera is covered twice.
In situations like this, an insurance principle called “contribution” comes into play. Put simply, this means that both relevant insurance policies will pay out and “contribute” towards the total claim cost. Note that this can add some extra time to your travel claim’s processing and settlement, as your travel insurers will want to see to what extent cover exists elsewhere first, before making their settlement to you.
Time Is Money – Don’t Delay, Report Today!
As soon as an incident occurs for which you are likely to make a claim, let your insurer know. Most policies have “duty to report” timeline terms and conditions in their policies, meaning that you have a “window” in which to let them know what has happened and that you intend to claim for the incident. Remember, if you’re claiming for a lost or damaged item, or a delayed departure for example, these are things that you’ll claim for in retrospect, ie. When you get home, and therefore reporting periods and lodging claims timelines will be different (you have longer to put your claim together as you’ll need to assemble and submit documentary evidence, for example).
Talking Of Evidence…..Make Your Case Clear
When it comes to making a successful claim, it’s all about the evidence. It’s important to bear in mind that not everyone is truthful in dealing with insurance situations, and with an upturn in fraudulent claims being made in recent years (which of course is a criminal act), insurers will want to see yours is genuine before agreeing to accept it. Make sure you have police reports (with crime references/file numbers) and purchase or replacement invoices for lost or stolen items available, keep copies of prescriptions or doctor’s notes for any medical claims, and keep receipts for any additional accommodation or subsistence (food, drinks etc) costs in the event of delayed departure/cancellation/missed flight claims. Having this kind of information and proof to hand will help to get your claim accepted, approved and paid for much quicker.
Knowledge is Power
Knowing who can help and who to call is the key to de-stressing and taking any claims situation in your stride. Be smart and simplify the process by:
- Making a list of key contact numbers and keeping this with you in your hand luggage/travel bag.
- Preparing a dedicated envelope or folio wallet with all your relevant documents. Think Emirates ID, insurance policy, details of your medication and medical conditions, copy of your travel itinerary, details of your accommodation.
- Share your information. You never know if you’ll be taken ill or have an accident whilst overseas so sharing all your details with your emergency contacts back home is always a smart move.
- Make an inventory. This may seem like a lot of work but it can really help in the event of loss luggage claims or those for damage, theft etc or items. Knowing what you’ve packed and what you’re carrying with you when travelling is always a great idea. Insurers will also ask for such information when you come to make your claim so being proactive like this can save you a lot of stress trying to remember exactly what you have lost at a later stage.
Travel should always be a pleasure whether it’s pleasure you’re travelling for or business, so make sure yours is too by being prepared. Fingers crossed you won’t have to make a claim, but if you do, at least you know what to do!