5 Lessons Learned from Denied Travel Insurance Claims
While filing a travel insurance claim can often be successful and lead to reimbursement for the traveler, the process may seem daunting. Squaremouth understands the importance our customers place on finding a provider with strong reputation of handling claims fairly and honestly.
Squaremouth has spoken with five travel insurance providers, iTravelInsured, RoamRight, Travel Insured International , Travelex, and TravelSafe, to identify the top five reasons claims are denied. Travelers who take these precautions can better prepare themselves for the claims process and improve their chances of having their claims approved.
Understand the Coverage, Get a Refund if it isn’t Right
Every policy has a certificate detailing what is covered and what is excluded. Most policies come with a ten to fourteen day money back guarantee period, allowing the traveler to cancel their policy and receive a full refund. Once this window passes, it is assumed that the traveler understands and agrees to the policy. In the event of a claim, it may be difficult to convince the insurance provider otherwise. “This is why it is so important to read the terms and conditions carefully before buying a policy,” advises Travel Insured International.
File a Claim Quickly
Travelers can run out of time when it comes to filing a claim, so they should notify the insurance provider as soon as possible. “In order to prevent a shortfall in any refund by your insurance carrier, make sure to immediately contact your supplier to cancel the trip,” adds Travelex. Likewise, a policy should not be purchased too late, as coverage is only available for unexpected events.
Keep All Receipts
Travel insurance is designed to reimburse travelers. Therefore, proper paperwork is necessary for travelers who want to get all of their money back after filing a claim. This includes receipts and credit card statements. According to TravelSafe, “In order to make sure your claim is paid in full, it’s important to keep your receipts so that you can produce proof of your expenses.”
Don’t Be a No-Show
Travelers with trip cancellation policies are able to cancel their trip for a covered reason to receive a reimbursement for any prepaid expenses. The first step in doing so is cancelling the trip with their travel provider. “If you have to cancel your trip, it is important to be proactive and contact your travel supplier(s) as soon as possible” says iTravelInsured. Typically, travel insurance providers require proof of cancellation before moving forward with a traveler’s claim.
Know the Trip Cost
Traveler’s should make sure their trip cost is as accurate as possible in order to receive an accurate amount of reimbursement. While under-insuring a trip may cause a less expensive premium upfront, it will likely also result in a lower amount of payout by the travel insurance provider in the event of a claim. RoamRight offers the following example, “if a traveler chooses to only insure airfare and not accommodations, the resulting claim payment may not cover both.”
Each provider gave a statement with additional information on the claims process. That information is below:
Cancel With the Travel Provider
iTravelInsured – “If you have to cancel your trip, it is important to be proactive and contact your travel supplier(s) as soon as possible. This may help reduce cancellation fees and subsequently your loss. Be aware that some travel insurance plans reduce benefits for not cancelling the trip in a timely manner. Above all, it is important to document your claim as thoroughly as possible. Save credit card statements, receipts, itineraries, e-tickets, boarding passes, baggage claim forms, letters and emails from travel providers.”
Insure the Correct Dollar Amount
RoamRight – “Successful travel insurance claims depend on travelers insuring accurate dollar amounts for their trips when they initially enroll in a travel insurance plan. Coverage amounts are based on the trip amounts that are insured. If travelers do not insure the accurate amount, they may be disappointed if claim payments are lower than expected. For example, if a traveler chooses to only insure airfare and not accommodations, the resulting claim payment may not cover both. In addition, by insuring the accurate amount when they enroll in a travel insurance program, travelers may be eligible for optional coverages (like Cancel For Any Reason coverage) and payment benefits.”
Understand the Certificate
Travel Insured International – “We advise clients that they shouldn’t wait until the time of claim to read their coverage. Just like most insurance contracts, travel insurance provides coverage for specified reasons. This is why it is so important to read the terms and conditions carefully before you buy your policy. If the policy does not include coverage for reasons you are concerned about; then look for alternatives; upgrade to a different policy or add optional coverage such as Cancel for Any Reason, available with many travel insurance products. If events should cause you to cancel or interrupt your planned travel; contact your travel insurance provider as soon as possible. If dealing with an urgent, unfamiliar, or emergency situation while traveling, call the assistance provider as they can help you navigate your situation. Save receipts to document your out of pocket expenses as these will be needed to support your claim. Keep a copy of your policy with you when traveling so that you have phone numbers for the claims administrator and assistance company readily available; and then enjoy your travel and hope that you don’t need to make the call.”
File a Claim Quickly
Travelex Insurance Services – “Filing a claim as soon as possible is a standard request in most travel insurance policies. Why? Well the reasons vary, but the common factors are: ensure timelines are met; ensure documents are readily available; ensure documents are not misplaced over time; and to obtain a quick refund on eligible benefits. However, this requirement also applies to Trip Cancellation/Interruption benefits, specifically when it comes to the cancellation of your travel arrangements. Did you know that when you cancel your trip with a travel suppliers, the payments you made towards your vacation may be subject to published penalties? A published penalty, in short, is the refund policy of the travel supplier. Essentially, the closer you get to your departure date, the higher the penalty is and the refund from the supplier becomes less. Your travel insurance provides coverage for the published penalties that are in place at the time a covered event causes a cancellation. If you delay the cancellation of your trip, the published penalties may change. In order to prevent a shortfall in any eligible refund by your insurance carrier, make sure that you immediately contact your supplier to cancel the trip.”
Keep All Receipts
TravelSafe – “Since travel insurance provides “gap” or “loss” coverage, travelers must be able to show documented proof of their losses. This is usually easy when the loss is due to a trip being cancelled for a covered reason, but can be more complicated when the loss occurs during the trip. While documentation is always important for travel insurance claims travelers should remember that all delay benefits are reimbursement benefits. This means they will need receipts of their expenses when they file their claim. Travelers who are unable to produce proof of their expenses related to travel delay or baggage delay may be denied all or a portion of their reimbursement. In the case of travel delay, it’s also important that travelers be aware that most plans have a per day/per person limit. Breaking the per person/per day limitation is another way that travelers may end up not having all of their expenses covered.”