Just as meaningful exfoliation lays the ground for a flawless ‘natural’ holiday tan, preparation is the key to claim on your travel insurance policy like a boss.
Sometimes holidays don’t go to plan. And that’s ok, because you’re clever and you’re covered by travel insurance, right?
Having the right cover is one thing, knowing how to work that cover is another. And by work, I mean claim. It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge that in order to claim, something has to go wrong on your trip, which is obviously not what anyone wants. Travel insurance covers the gamut of holiday misadventures, from AWOL checked in luggage, to stolen passports, broken limbs, and of course, the really serious stuff like major medical emergencies and…death. No one likes to think about that. So a quick note to say I absolutely hope you never need to use this travel insurance tips advice. Bon voyage and all that! But… if you do, here it is.
Here’s 5 Hard earned, real-life claims tips to *hopefully* make all the bad stuff go away and get you back on track asap.
1. KNOW WHAT’S COVERED
While you may be clear on the items you’re covered for it’s worth knowing the ‘rules of your cover’. These are conditions and exceptions which basically ask that you exercise caution on your trip, avoid risky behaviours, and keep your insurer informed in an emergency.
Understanding what’s included in your policy is important for two reasons. First up, when you know what is, and what isn’t covered by your policy, and how certain behaviours or actions can affect your cover – like not reporting a stolen bag to the police within 24 hours – you’ll be equipped to make smarter decisions on your holiday.
The key is to read the Product Disclosure Statement and really keep an eye out for a handful of conditions that apply to each item. Good examples are that not all pre-existing medical conditions are covered, or that stolen items from inside a parked car – versus from the boot – are generally not covered. These rules aren’t meant to ‘catch you out’, they’re actually meant to minimise the risk of incidents happening in the first place. For extra intel, you can also check our FAQ section for answers to common travel insurance questions.
Not only does knowing your travel insurance rules make you a better traveller, it also helps you ‘stay covered’ by your policy – ultimately helping you claim, should you need to.
Secondly, your travel insurance policy is there to cover you for all the serious things that can happen on a trip overseas. But, just as the level of cover varies between policy types like Travel with Jane’s Lite or Luxe policies, cover also differs from one travel insurer to the next. Be sure you understand exactly what you’re covered for by reading your travel insurance PDS each time you buy travel insurance.
When you know the rules of your cover you can avoid sticky situations on your trip, and at home, if you need to claim.
2. DISCLOSE PRE-EXISTING MEDICAL CONDITIONS
Travel Insurers are pretty big on understanding the risks involved with insuring someone, and naturally, certain medical conditions pose a greater risk than others. Most insurers have a list of what is covered, and what’s not covered. Typically, the ‘regular’ conditions like coeliac disease and epilepsy are covered. Travel with Jane for instance automatically covers 43 pre-existing medical conditions, as long as you haven’t been hospitalised (including day surgery or attending an emergency department) for that condition in the past 24 months.
The trick, when it comes to medical-related claims, is to understand that you can’t make a claim if it’s linked to an excluded pre-existing medical condition. It’s also advised that you let your insurer know about any pre-existing conditions at the time of taking out your policy.
Just to be clear, in travel insurance terms, a pre-existing medical condition is:
- An ongoing medical or dental condition that you’re aware of, or any related symptoms or complications you’re aware of.
- A medical or dental condition that is currently being, or has been, investigated or treated by a health professional (including a dentist or chiropractor) at any time before you buy the policy.
- Any condition you take prescribed medication for.
- Any condition you’ve had surgery for.
- Any condition you see a medical specialist for.
In the event of a medical emergency, a hospital claim would be rejected if your pre-existing medical condition is not covered by your travel insurance company, so it’s worth checking this rule out properly.
On the topic of medical emergencies, know that alpine misadventures are their own kettle of fish. If you’re heading to the snow, optional Winter Sport cover is an extremely good idea.
3. KEEP EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS AND YOUR POLICY NUMBER HANDY
All insurers have telephone numbers to call in an emergency. It is a good idea to keep this number on hand along with your policy details. To reach Travel with Jane in Australia in an emergency you can call +61 2 9333 3967 from anywhere in the world and reverse the charges.
It’s also a good idea to share your policy number with a travel companion, friend or family member, so that they can lend an administrative hand in the event that you’re ‘traveller down’.
4. REPORT THE INCIDENT QUICKLY
It’s really, really important that you document incidents in an official way, and in the case of a medical emergency, that you let your insurer know what’s happened as absolutely quickly as you can.
So if it’s a lost or stolen bag or passport, report the incident to someone in charge – say your airline, tour operator or hotel – within 24 hours. In the case of theft, report the crime to the local police. Check here for some pro tips on filing a police report.
In a medical emergency, a call to an insurer like Travel with Jane is doubly beneficial as we’ll provide you with a medical advisor who will act on your behalf to plan your treatment, organise transport or medi-vac if required, and liaise with hospital or emergency service staff.
It’s a big no-no to go ahead with medical treatment without first calling your insurer as you may not be able to claim un-authorised expenses. Of course you may not always be able to call first if it’s a serious accident, but where possible, make that call a priority.
5. KEEP EVIDENCE AND RECEIPTS
Like most insurance claims, evidence of a situation, proof of payment, or proof of ownership is invaluable in speeding up the claims process. If you are travelling for any length of time, give some thought as to what valuable items you are taking with you and how you could prove that you own them should the item get lost, damaged or stolen.
- If you don’t have receipts or credit card statements to verify ownership, it’s a good idea to write down serial numbers and take time-stamped photographs of high risk items such as cameras, laptops and electronic devices.
- For medical or dental expenses, insurers will need written confirmation of your illness or injury from a qualified member of the medical or dental profession. While you’re at it, hang onto all original medical accounts and receipts.
- For cancellation or rescheduling expenses, your insurer will need original booking invoices and receipts, a trip cancellation invoice, written confirmation from your airline or travel agent, and unused travel tickets and itineraries.
- For stolen items, your insurer will need an official written police report and show proof of ownership for the items nicked.
Follow our 5 tips to claim like a pro and be extra prepared on your next trip. Should you ever need to make a travel insurance claim, make it an especially stress free experience by using our super easy online claim form.