Travel insurance policies give you peace of mind as you travel. Travel insurance supports you if you need to cancel a trip, change a trip, cut a trip short, or get medical care while you travel.
What if you need your travel insurance to reimburse you? To do this, you need to file a travel insurance claim.
Learn how to claim travel insurance to get the best results and your reimbursement. Help your travel insurer help you with these travel claim tips.
How to Get Your Travel Insurance Claim Reimbursed Quickly
The first step to getting reimbursed is to file your claim. A claim is a form that tells your travel insurer what happened to you, why you need reimbursement, and how to pay you. With a claim, you also provide documentation to confirm your claim.
The best first step to preparing your travel insurance claim is to read the complete claim form. Note and prepare the documentation that the claim requires.
Most travel insurers allow you to submit a claim online, supported by live chat help. It’s helpful to do this from a laptop. You can also submit a claim from your smartphone. When you start to submit a claim online, be prepared to finish and submit the claim. You usually can’t save a half-completed claim to finish later.
Another way to submit a claim is by email or by physical mail. Each of these methods may take a little more time. If you need help for email or physical mail, you can call your travel insurer’s helpline with your questions.
Submit Your Travel Insurance Claim As Soon As Possible
The sooner you submit your travel claims, the sooner you will be reimbursed. For every provider, specific policies have claim deadlines. Check your travel insurance policy to see when you need to file a claim. Here are some examples:
- Safe Travels Explorer with Trawick International – 7 days to file.
- Atlas Plans with World Trips – 30 days to file for most plans.
- Seven Corners – 90 days to file for most plans.
- World Nomads – file during your trip or after your trip concludes.
Before You Start Your Travel Insurance Claim, Get Your Documentation Together
How to file a travel insurance claim? Your claim form will tell you which documentation you need to submit your claim. You may have everything already. Or you may need a day or two to get items in writing.
Different claims will need different types of documentation. Here are two examples of documentation needed for a claim.
For a trip cancellation, your claim form may ask for:
- Receipts or itineraries related to your original travel plans and to any updated travel plans
- Proof that a travel agent, cruise or tour company, or accommodation provider that they are declining to reimburse you, or proof of any partial refunds from them
- Confirmation from an airline that flights were changed, canceled, or are non-refundable, and proof of any partial refunds
- Receipts for any payments you made as a result of the documented changes to your travel plans.
For a medical claim for an accidental injury during a trip, you may need to provide:
- A statement from a physician
- Receipts for medical care related to the injury and only to the injury
- Signed forms requested by your insurer, including payment authorization, privacy disclosure, and possibly a subrogation form (with information about third parties involved) if your injury was the result of an accident.
The more complex your claim is, the more documentation you may need to provide. If you cancel a trip due to an injury, you need to provide both medical and trip information to your travel insurer.
Keep A Copy of Everything You File
Are you submitting online? Screenshot everything you submit, and note when you submitted it. Are you mailing in your claim? Photocopy everything first. Computers can glitch, mail can get lost, and documents can be misfiled. If you do not receive a response on your claim within a week, you will have all the backup information you need to follow up. For online and email submissions, you usually receive confirmation within 24 hours.
A tip: if you are sending electronic files, give each file a file name including your own name. Here is an example:
This tip makes it easier for you and your insurance agent to organize these files.
Do You Have a Deductible, Co-Pay, or Other Cost-Sharing?
You may choose to buy a travel insurance policy with a deductible or co-pay. This makes a policy more affordable. If you place a claim, you acknowledge that you will pay costs for your loss up to your deductible or co-pay amount. Keep track of your deductible or co-pay and account for this as you complete your claim.
How Long Does It Take to Process A Travel Insurance Claim?
Complete claims are usually processed within 10 to 30 days. For example, World Nomads processes your claim within 20 days. The World Trips Atlas plan processes your claim within 30 days. Again, claim process time should be noted in your specific travel policy.
Your insurer will reimburse you faster when you fill out your forms properly and provide all documentation the first time you file.
If your claim is incomplete, it will take longer for you to get reimbursed. The insurer will contact you and tell you what you need to do. You may need to make corrections or provide more information. If you have physically mailed in your claim, you will also need to account for the time it takes for mail to be delivered.
What To Do if the Insurer Rejects Your Travel Insurance Claim
It is upsetting to submit a travelers’ insurance claim and have it questioned or rejected. But it does happen. In the UK, more than 15% of travel insurance claims are refused when they are first submitted. Stay calm and discuss the rejection with your insurer. You may be able to appeal the claim.
A good travel insurer will tell you why your claim was rejected. To appeal the claim, you will need to find out why it was rejected, use any required forms, and provide documentation to respond to the reason for rejection. If you contact customer service about a rejected claim, stay calm and work with customer service to problem-solve your claim.
With medical travel insurance claims, rejections can often be revised. Medical or hospitalization claims need lots of detail. Often, you just need to submit more details. If it was an emergency, you might not have had the opportunity to get a pre-authorization. You can send documents proving that you were not able to get a pre-authorization.
In the United States, you can also seek assistance from the National Association of Consumer Advocates or your state’s insurance regulator.
Top 3 Reasons Travel Insurers Reject Your Claim
Travel insurers note that there are common reasons why they reject claims. The main three reasons why travel insurers reject claims come from common mistakes or people not understanding a policy. See how you can prevent these from blocking your claim.
- Claim isn’t within the insured time period – Seven Corners notes that this is one of the most common reasons to deny a claim. To avoid this, make sure that your travel insurance covers the full time period of your travel, from the day and time you leave your home to the end of your last travel day when you return home.
- Missing or incomplete documentation – Travel insurers need complete documentation to help them avoid fraud. Be patient and cooperative, and work with your insurer to get documentation that they accept. Consider asking for an extension on filing a claim if you need to get specific documentation.
- Policy doesn’t cover it – Often people ask for more reimbursement than their policy covers. Pay attention to your policy’s limits and deductibles. a standard travel policy may not cover some items or activities. Adventure travel is one example that may need its own policy. Valuable items, like a ring or a watch valued at over $10,000, are another category to be aware of. Make sure that you have the coverage you need.
More Reasons Your Claim May be Rejected
You can prevent other reasons for claim rejection. Be honest about your pre-existing medical conditions. Don’t travel against World Health Organization or security advice. Don’t do adventure travel or sports without ensuring your policy covers these activities. Avoid reckless behavior, like excessive drug and alcohol use or traveling towards an oncoming hurricane to storm-watch.
Finally, don’t be tempted to pad a claim with inaccurate items to try and get extra money. Travel insurers scrutinize claim submissions for fraud. They want to keep costs affordable for those legitimately seeking coverage.
Four Travel Prep Tips to Make Travel Insurance Claims Easier
Before you travel, there are four things you can do to make your life easier if you need to place travelers’ insurance claims.
- Make sure you’re fully covered – Full coverage is for the complete time of your trip, from when you leave and return to your home, including all travel and activities. Sailing, scuba diving, or other adventure travel may require an additional travel policy.
- Keep copies of all travel documentation and receipts – This makes it easy to provide documentation if you make a claim. Experienced travelers create a file folder, sometimes in cloud storage, for this documentation.
- Document your luggage and valuables – Many travelers are now taking a flat-lay photograph of what they pack as proof they brought the items they are claiming for. Receipts are vital for insurance companies. It’s also your responsibility to check that your travel plan insures special valuables.
- Bring or have access to your travel insurance policy – This way, you can always check your policy and see if you are covered. When you are in trouble at midnight in an airport, it is easier to consult your policy than to make a phone call.
Make Travel Insurance Claims Easier With a Reputable Insurer
It’s wise to get your travel insurance from a recommended travel insurer with a good track record of supporting policyholders. Look for a travel insurer with a clear claims process and multiple ways to contact them. Ask questions about possible policies to ensure that they are responsive, and seek reviews online.
See The Top 10 Travel Insurance Companies for recommendations.