Nobody likes to think too hard about the prospect of things going wrong on holiday but in the event of needing to make a claim on your travel insurance, it helps to have an idea of what to expect. Being well-informed on how to make a successful claim might even help you decide what type of insurance you'd like to take out, so please take a moment to read through the following tips before your next adventure.
Let's look at a few of the different travel mishaps that could lead to you making a claim.
Lost, Stolen or Damaged Luggage
Most insurers will only pay out if you can demonstrate that you took reasonable care to protect your belongings while travelling, by taking measures such as using secure locks, labelling bags clearly, and never leaving your luggage unattended. We recommend you gather as much information as you can while you're travelling (e.g. taking photos on your phone, listing any valuable items inside your bags), so you can present these as supporting evidence when you apply for compensation. Be sure to include travel documents such as your passport, driving paperwork and the insurance documentation itself, as these will become firm allies in the event of theft or loss.
If your bags do go missing despite your best efforts, be sure to report the loss to the police within 24 hours. If your luggage has been lost by an airline, you should be able to raise a claim directly with the company responsible, but travel insurance may be brought into play to cover the loss of items as well. In either case, you should ensure you keep hold of any receipts for items bought to tide you over while parted from your essential items so you can claim the cost of replacing the items back.
Medical Emergencies and Accidents
Another nightmare scenario we all dread is becoming ill or having a serious accident while on holiday. Ideally you'll want to contact your insurer and check that they will cover any treatment deemed necessary before it's carried out, but of course this is not always possible in an emergency. When you come to make your claim you'll need evidence of any treatment you were given, and in many countries you may need to pay up-front. But don't forget that many European countries will provide free urgent medical treatment if you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). You can apply for the card here.
To best prepare yourself for any eventuality we recommend you take out as comprehensive a policy as possible covering any emergency treatment you could need. Our Holiday Extras Travel Insurance has been developed to offer good value cover to a wide range of traveller and holiday types and is suitable for families, over 50s, under 18s and those with a range of pre-existing medical conditions - even broken bones.
Cancellations or Cutting Your Holiday Short
If you've had to cut your long-awaited holiday short, the last thing you want is to add insult to injury by paying for accommodation and any pre-booked activities you won't get to enjoy. The range of extenuating circumstances considered to be valid reasons for cancelling or leaving early will vary from one insurer to the next, so to avoid relying on good luck, it's best to take out a policy that covers as many scenarios as possible. And when you come to claim, you'll want to be able to fully demonstrate your situation against their criteria.
If the reason for the cancellation lies with your tour operator, airline or other travel provider, you will need to approach an official from that company - ideally at the time of the cancellation or delay - to obtain written confirmation of the problem.
How to Start the Claims Process
Insurers vary in how they will communicate with you once you're in a position to make a travel insurance claim. In most cases you can start the process over the phone, but you may also need to fill in an online form and upload copies of any pieces of supporting evidence. If your insurer requires you to send hard copies of your receipts and other documents, be sure to take copies first, and deliver them via recorded post.
At Holiday Extras, our dedicated UK-based call centre can be contacted 24/7. This gives you peace of mind that you can discuss your situation with us at any time of day, wherever you are in the world. Find out more about our holiday insurance deals here.
Written by Abi Silvester, a London-based writer and editor with a passion for great food, fine wine, coffee and cats; always planning my next trip!Top