Unpleasant as it is to think about your vacation being ruined by some unforeseeable circumstance, it’s best to be prepared. If you don’t regularly purchase travel insurance, it’s a very good idea. Not only does travel insurance limit your liability, it’s often the thing that keeps your trip from being completely ruined – only delayed a little bit. In order to get from a disaster to an inconvenience, though, you’re going to have to submit your claim.
Often, that can be the hardest part of a rough journey, so here’s what you need to know to make sure your vacation gets back on track.
- Be prepared
Read your policy from front to back in advance and make sure every possible circumstance is covered. Some policies cover natural disasters, others don’t. Some cover terrorist attacks postponing flights, others do not. Be sure you know what you’re covered for, and if you’re not satisfied with your coverage, change it to another policy. Know what you’re supposed to do in the case of the most common emergencies, as well. For example, if there is a number to call in case of medical emergencies, be sure you have it written down and easily available.
- Follow the Rules
Keep a copy of your travel insurance policy with you and follow the rules to the letter in case of an emergency. Often insurance companies will throw out your claim if you didn’t do exactly what they asked in the policy. If you’re uncertain or you can’t access your policy for whatever reason, call the insurance company and ask them to clarify. Be sure to get the name and employee number of whoever helped you, and ask to speak to a manager if you’re not confident the representative knows what they’re talking about. If they give you the wrong information, you’re going to want to know who you spoke to.
- File Your Claim Immediately
Most insurance policies have a time limit for when you’re allowed to file a claim, and travel is no exception. As such, it’s best to file your claim as soon as is possible – from your laptop, if need be. Fill out the claim form completely and send in any documentation they need. Again, if you’re uncertain, call your travel insurance company. Make sure they refer to the page on your policy where the answer is given, so that you can verify what they tell you to do. Keep copies of your claim and all receipts and documents! Send your claim by registered mail or keep a copy of the email, and ask for confirmation. If you have not gotten an email confirmed within three days, call and follow up. For mail, wait a week.
- Follow Up
Timely insurance claims are rare, and with the time limits, it’s best to follow up on everything. Follow up to be sure the claim was received, ask who’s handling the case and how to reach them, and ask for specific timelines on when each step of your claim will be completed. As with most things, the squeaky wheel gets the grease when it comes to travel insurance. Make it known that you’re going to stay on top of their work and they’re more likely to finish it in a timely manner – if only to get rid of you.
- Keep All Documentation
If you get a police report, a hospital bill, any receipts that are relevant, hold on to them. You can send your insurance company the originals if you have copies, but make sure the copies are good. Documentation is how you’ll prove the situation really happened, and anything helps. Ask for documentation if it isn’t offered; for example, if a flight was canceled due to terrorism, ask if the airline would put that in writing for your insurance agency.