The process to file a travel insurance claim is involved, but manageable. It mainly involves filling out paper work, reviewing information, informing your insurance company of the event and waiting for correspondence.
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So let’s say you booked for the trip of a lifetime, only to become sick within a few days of departure. You are unable to go. About now you start to wonder things like: How do I file a travel insurance claim? Do I call the company or the cruise line? What receipts do I need? What is covered in my policy?
How Travel Insurance Works
Travel insurance can cover a wide variety of situations. From shoes that vanish, to your lost baggage, from a cancelled trip to a delayed flight, many of these situations are covered by travel insurance. Even a cancellation due to medical problems is a valid reason.
Every travel insurance policy is different and thus will cover different situations. To start, you should know what is covered in your contract. Read over the paper work again (the one that came with your policy) or talk to the agent you bought the policy from to review the information on coverage.
Remain calm! A lot of people panic in an emergency, or when something gets lost. Being upset will not help the claim process go any smoother for you. Instead of panicking, gather your wits. Sit down and write down anything that is missing or any details relevant to your claim, so that you can make a clear explanation over the phone. Having your policy number handy is also a move that will make the process go much faster.
Contacting the Agency for the First Time
Two Quick Steps for Filing a claim:
- Contact the company: It is now time to call and inform your insurance agency of your claim. It is best to do this as soon as you can, since immediate disclosure will reduce your waiting time for reimbursement. It will also cut down on the chance of you misplacing items you need to make a claim. Some companies do have a cutoff point for you to make a claim and this can be anywhere from a few months to a few years.
- File Paperwork: You now have to fill out paperwork. No one likes paperwork but it has to be done in a timely manner. Save yourself a headache by verifying with the insurance company exactly what forms need to be filled out in your case and what documents are expected to be returned. Keep all receipts for anything and everything that you do on your trip, including ticket stubs, clothing receipts, dinner stubs, and anything that might be used as evidence at some point. Hang on to all of these records until after your trip is over.
The documents you’ll need to prove a claim vary from company to company. For example, when considering a rental car insurance claim, be sure to keep all receipts and proof of travel. File a police report as soon as possible, as this may be required to process your claim.
For refunds on airline tickets you’ll usually need the tickets themselves along with a receipt of payment for these tickets. If you luggage is delayed or worse yet stolen, then you will have write up a list of items your bags contained, and include a police report or other relevant information from the airline or cruise ship.
Waiting for Correspondence
For medical expenses covered by your travel insurance company, be sure that you keep every possible receipt, including receipts for hospital services and medications. It is time to work with your claims adjuster and get things rolling! Sometimes claims can be filed online, over the phone, or in person. There forms may require a physical signature. An agent may be able to give you an estimate on how long the process as a whole will take.
Once all your calls have been made and your paperwork sent, you will receive a claim number. Now it is time to wait. Waiting can be the hardest part, but some insurances companies have made the process less stressful by allowing you to track the claims progress online. If you can’t track the progress online, call your agency from time to time and inquire about the progress.
Getting that reimbursement check in the mail can be a very satisfying feeling! You are wise in choosing to buy travel insurance, because the policy always pays off in the end. If something has happened and you can’t make your trip, or something has been lost or stolen, don’t hesitate to contact your agency with your questions. Stop fretting and enjoy your next vacation! You are completely covered. Why not start looking for travel insurance companies right now?
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