Monday, October 22, 2007

How to make your worldwide travel insurance claim as painless as possible

Mention making a travel insurance claim to anyone and there's usually a tangible look of terror in their eyes. There's something about the whole process that makes people nervous - perhaps it's the length of time involved in making a successful claim, or the interrogation the claimant will often receive, but there's something about it that makes people loathe to make the call, and wish they didn't have to.

This is crazy. The whole point of UK travel insurance is to give you your money back - and everyone likes money. For that reasons I've compiled the following tips for ensuring your travel insurance claim is made smoothly and you get the money that's owed to you:

Read the small print

This is essential, but people often don't bother either because it's too boring or they have more pressing things to look into. But if you don't know what sort of thing you're covered against (and the stipulations involved) you might find yourself on the end of a claim rejection - the sooner you find out if you'd be covered, the sooner you can look for additional travel insurance cover.

Tell them your medical history

You know the part of the UK travel insurance form that asks you to declare any pre-existing medical conditions? If you are economical about the truth of your long-standing heart condition and then need surgery while abroad, you can bet your UK travel insurance company won't cover the fees. Make sure you declare any medical conditions, it might cost you more, but you'll be covered in the event of an emergency.

Get the theft paperwork in order quickly

If you have been the victim of a theft, you need to act quickly to ensure you get your money back. Get a report within 24 hours from the appropriate people (the local police, the airport lost luggage department and/or the hotel or tour representatives). If you can't provide this 'proof' then you're unlikely to get your money back. Remember in these instances you'll also be required to provide proof of purchase for the goods stolen, so be sure to keep all receipts on file.

If something is especially valuable, make sure it's covered

Does your worldwide travel insurance policy cover your mobile phone or your iPod? You need to check these details before you go, because if they are stolen then it's too late to check. There are generally special rules for money and valuables as well - they need to be extra safe, and in a locked safe if possible! If they're not about your person, "in a drawer" will often not cut it with travel insurance providers, so make sure you take five minutes when you leave your holiday accommodation to make sure the insurance people will be satisfied.

These little things that cumulatively would take no more than an hour, but these really can make all the difference between a straightforward claim and an hour long argument where you fruitlessly try to get your money back.

by Patrick Chong

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