How to Use the Travel Insurance Coverage

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A very common question about travel insurance is what to do if the coverage is needed.  The best and most simple advice is to contact the insurance company as soon as possible and to keep records of what happened.  Of course, a more specific answer will depend on the situation.  These tips will help travelers get the help they need, file their claims properly and get their claims processed quickly.

Communicate, every policy has a 24 hour emergency assistance number.
This number is a collect call and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so travelers can call it anytime from anywhere.  When a situation arises, travelers should contact this number as soon as reasonably able.  The assistance provider will work with local authorities and medical facilities to make sure the necessary medical transportation and treatment is provided.  If it is not a medical emergency, it is still a good idea to call this number to make the insurance company aware of the situation and for travelers to be advised on how to proceed.  Many policies offer concierge services, lost document assistance, political evacuation and emergency messaging services by calling this number.

Report any incidents to appropriate authorities.
Again, it is important to contact the policy’s emergency assistance number, but it is also wise to further document a situation.  If a traveler is sick or injured, seek medical attention.  Should a medical situation cause a trip interruption, the traveler needs to provide evidence of the sickness or injury with medical records or a doctor’s note.  If something is stolen, file a police report.  Travelers are expected to make an effort to recover their lost items by notifying authorities.  This is also true when an airline is responsible for the lost luggage, travelers should make a claim with the airline for items lost while in the airline’s possession.

Save receipts if you are delayed.
Extra expenses incurred because of a delay will not be paid unless accompanied by receipts.  Travelers with flight delays can be reimbursed for food, hotels and taxis, but not unless those expenses can be proven.  The same is true when travelers arrive at the destination, but their bags do not.  Essential items, like a change of clothes or toiletries can be reimbursed, but only if receipts for those expenses are submitted with the claim.

Check with travel providers if something is cancelled.
Travel insurance will not pay for something that has already been paid by a travel supplier.  This means if an airline, cruise company or tour operator refunds the traveler’s money, those costs cannot be claimed.  Even if no refund will be issued by the travel provider, obtain a copy of the contract or a written statement to prove no restitution was provided.  Taking care of this step early can expedite the claims process.  One of the most common reasons for a claim being processed slowly is because the insurance provider must confirm what, if any, compensation was provided by travel suppliers or other forms of insurance.

Don’t wait to file the claim.
This is important for several reasons.  First, most insurance providers require notice of intent to file a claim soon after returning home, normally 90 days.  If a traveler waits too long to file a claim, the insurance provider may choose to not review it.  The other reason this is important is because travelers can be the reason for a slow claims process.  If the claim documentation is incomplete, the process cannot move forward until the traveler provides the necessary information.  It is very common for insurance providers to request more information and have a slow response time from the travelers.  Keep in mind, also, the longer someone waits to file a claim, the more difficult it normally is to obtain information from travel suppliers, for example a letter from the airline explaining why a flight was delayed.

Let us know if you are not happy.
Every policy purchased from Squaremouth has the Zero Complaint Guarantee.  This is a promise to mediate your claim if you are unhappy with how the claim has been processed.  If the insurance provider is unjust in how they apply the policy language and they do not provide a solution satisfactory to Squaremouth, that company is removed from the website entirely.