5 Rules To Follow When You Submit A Travel Insurance Claim
An overseas holiday can be ruined if your belongings are stolen or if you are injured in an accident on your trip. While you cannot be compensated for the discomfort and inconvenience that you will face, a travel insurance policy will be able to help you mitigate financial losses.
Travel insurance is surprisingly cheap and easy to buy. For a relatively small amount, you can buy coverage that offers reimbursement that may be in the tens of thousands of dollars or even more.
However, there are some areas you should take note of.
While you hope to have an enjoyable holiday, knowing what can or cannot claim will give you better peace of mind.
It is a good idea to speak with your trusted financial advisor who specialises in insurance policy to select and compare travel insurance. Your advisor would also be able to help you make a claim, should the need arise.
Here are some points that you should keep in mind when you make a travel insurance claim:
1. Notify Your Insurer ASAP
How soon should you get in touch with the insurance company if you want to make a claim? Although many insurers specify a time limit of 30 days, it is advisable to get in touch with them promptly.
You might make the mistake of waiting to collate all of the necessary documentation before you notify your insurer and file a claim. Don’t do that!
Instead, speak to your insurer as soon as you can, on their emergency hotline. They can help to walk you through the process of obtaining the necessary documentation.
If online claims submission is available from your insurer, you should file your claims first. You would be able to furbish the necessary documents at a later date, as soon as you receive them.
Remember that there are specific time limits for different activities connected with your claim. For example, if you need medical assistance in Singapore due to a problem that arose while you were travelling, you need to see a doctor within 3 to 7 days after your return. That time limit varies from insurer to insurer.
Before we move to point 2, you should look at the claims support when you choose your next Travel Insurance policy.
2. Report your loss to the police
Say, your valuables are stolen while you are in a foreign city. Or your hotel room is burgled while you’re sleeping. You must file a report with the local police immediately.
In that report, it is important to list down every item that you lost. And more importantly, you need to get a copy of the police report.
It is unlikely that your insurance claim will be processed unless you can produce this essential document.
Are all types of theft covered while you are on a trip? That would depend on whether you exercised sufficient care to ensure that your valuables are kept safe.
If an item is considered valuable, you would naturally keep it close to you in your carry-on baggage. By the turn of the coin, If your valuables are placed in your checked baggage and subsequently stolen, you may not be able to claim for it, as the items were not in your custody.
What if you purchased a number of new valuable items during your trip and are unable to keep them all in your carry-on? Then you should keep your receipts with you. Which leads us to this next point.
3. Ensure that you have receipts for the expensive items that you are carrying
Before you start your trip, check if you have original invoices for the valuables that you plan to carry with you. If you don’t, it may be sensible to leave them at home.
Why is that?
If your mobile phone or an expensive camera is stolen, the insurance company will probably ask you to produce the original invoices and receipts before they process your claim. Mentioning these items in the police report may not be enough to substantiate your claim.
What happens if you don’t have the old invoices anymore? In this case, it would be up to the insurer’s discretion to ascribe a fair value on your valuables, which may or may not be satisfactory to you.
Do take note, though, that with or without the invoices, your insurer will depreciate the value of your valuables based on the age of your item, before proceeding with your claims.
Plus, the total amount that you can claim for any individual item is typically capped at a maximum of $1000, subject to your insurance policy coverage.
4. Study the “exclusion” clause
Every insurance policy has certain “exclusion” clauses. An exclusion clause will specify the events that are not covered by the policy.
Your travel insurance policy will not provide coverage for certain adventurous activities. So, don’t expect the insurance company to pay your hospital bills if you are injured while scuba diving to a depth of more than 30m.
Additionally, Singapore’s government considers travelling to certain countries as unsafe. They include Afghanistan, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Iraq, Liberia, Sudan, and Syria.
Some insurers provide coverage when you travel to these countries, but others do not. So, it would be best to check if your insurer is one of the former, or a claim that arises when you are in one of these countries will not be honoured.
5. Check if you are covered for pre-existing medical conditions
Many travel insurance policies do not provide coverage for medical complications that you know about before the start of your trip. This means that if you are undergoing treatment for a medical condition and you need to be hospitalised on your foreign trip for this same condition, you may not be able to claim for it.
Some insurers do offer coverage for pre-existing conditions but, you should expect to pay higher premiums and deductibles for this type of policy.
Claims submission does not need to be difficult.
Getting your travel insurance claim approved can be a simple process if you have taken the trouble to familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions that the insurer has laid down.
Ideally, you should always have a trusted advisor who is just a phone call away, to provide you with all the necessary advice and help during these situations.
You can also take comfort that while travel mishaps cannot be avoided completely, the claims from your travel insurance policy can be useful in mitigating the expenses you incurred from those mishaps.