Experiencing a travel-related mishap, whether it’s a lost bag, injury or entire trip cancellation, is never fun.
Such incidents often require filing a travel insurance claim, which in and of itself can be daunting. There are receipts to gather, claim documents to complete and then weeks of waiting to find out if the claim is even approved.
But staying on top of the process can make everything less stressful. Here’s a look into what it’s like to file a travel insurance claim and tips for navigating it all.
Contact your provider as soon as possible
To expedite the claims process and improve the chances of obtaining a refund, be timely when communicating with your provider, said Jenna Hummer, spokeswoman for Squaremouth.
“While travelers have a full year to file a claim after an event occurs, Squaremouth recommends filing as soon as reasonably possible, as it may be easier to access and collect all of the necessary documents and receipts you will need for the claims process,” she said.
Many travel insurance providers also allow claims to be filed electronically, said Daniel Durazo, spokesman for Allianz, a travel insurance provider.
Provide the right documentation
Receipts are another key part of moving your claim along as smoothly as possible, said Hummer.
Be thorough when gathering and submitting your recipes. Examples include: medical receipts in the event of an illness or injury, receipts for food during a travel delay or cancellation or even receipts for clothing if your baggage was delayed.
Start saving information, beginning with the initial booking of your trip. Keep an inventory of your travel documents and belongings, said Erin Fish, co-founder of the travel insurance company Wanderwell.
“Depending upon the circumstances involved in the loss, you may be asked to provide a variety of items to complete the processing of your claim,” she said.
You may also need to produce cancelled checks or credit card statements showing all payments made for the trip, proof of cancellation or refund from the travel supplier, car rental agreements and even police reports.
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In some cases, after you’ve filed your initial claim, the insurance provider may request more documentation, said Hummer. Do your best to respond as quickly as possible to such requests.
“A provider may ask for confirmation from a doctor that it was medically necessary to transport you to a specific medical facility for treatment,” she said. “In the event of a missed connection, providers may also request documentation, such as an itinerary that shows how your trip will be affected due to the missed flight.”
What happens next?
A travel insurance claim will typically be approved or denied in 15 to 45 days, depending on the provider and the situation. Simple claims may be approved in as little as seven to 10 days, said Durazo.
If you make mistakes submitting your claim, be prepared for a denial. The common mistakes travelers make include waiting too long to file, losing or forgetting receipts and not having a clear understanding of their policy, said Hummer.