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How do I make a travel insurance claim?

Kasey Cassells
Written by Kasey Cassells, Senior content editor

Edited by Chris Wheal, Finance Writer, 3 May 2022

Making a travel insurance claim can go some way towards recovering the cost of holiday disasters and emergencies.
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How do I make a travel insurance claim?
How do I make a travel insurance claim?

It's best to book travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday. This way you are covered even before you jet off, in case your holiday needs to be cancelled or there are flight delays. Leaving it to the last minute could be a costly risk and expense.

Useful things to remember before you set off include:

  • Take a copy of your insurance documents with you.

  • Keep copies of the receipts for valuable items that you may be taking with you.

  • Make sure you use secure padlocks for your suitcases.

These FAQs can help you work out what to do when things go wrong, and you need to do to make an insurance claim.

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When do I need to contact my insurer?

If you need to claim for medical services and treatment you will need to contact your insurer immediately to get authorisation for the treatment or for an expert to take over managing your treatment, including hospitalisation.

It's important to contact your insurer as soon as you can, as some insurers insist that you let them know about your intention to claim within a time limit. Many travel insurers have an international helpline.

Some insurers have their own clinics and medics in certain resorts. Others will send trained medical staff to you, if needed, to work with the local doctors and nurses and to help bring you home.

If you are robbed or injured by someone you will need to have reported it to the police and have a crime reference number and a copy of the police report. If you need to spend money as part of the claim, keep all the receipts.

Tip: Save your travel insurer’s international claim number in your phone as soon as possible, along with your policy number. Keep a copy in your passport. Make sure your next of kin at home - not on holiday with you - has your travel insurance details, in case you are all involved in an accident and are in hospital.

What will the insurer do first?

The insurer will have appointed a claims management firm who will decide the best way to help - that is who you will speak to if you call the help/claims number. 

If you feel ill while on holiday they may provide a UK doctor for you to speak to and give advice. If they feel you need to go to hospital they may even identify the best hospital for your particular symptoms, call and make arrangements, including transport for you to get there.

If you find yourself in hospital the claims management firm will deal direct with the hospital on your behalf. They will also make any necessary arrangements for your return to home.

If you are robbed or lose items, you will probably want to wait until you get home to claim, but it may be possible to complete an online claims form and attach receipts while you are poolside, if that suits you.

If you have injured someone or damaged property it will be best to report at once. The claims management firms will appoint a local solicitor if you need one.

For any aspect of a claim you may be asked to provide more details later, including filling out a paper form if drawings, maps, diagrams or further details are required.

Insurers may also choose to replace items, rather than refund you the cost of replacing them. They will also ask for details of your home contents insurance so they can share some claims costs (all risk items) with your other insurer.

What do I need to send the insurer?

The insurer will usually need to see receipts for lost or damaged items, additional travel or other emergency expenditure that is covered.

The insurer will also want to see a police report if you are the victim of a crime. In the event of a flight being cancelled, you may need written confirmation from the airline.

If you claim for an expensive item, the insurer will want to see the original receipt showing when you purchased that item and may ask to see evidence, such as photos taken with an expensive camera.

They will also ask for details of your home contents insurance to check if they can share some claims costs with your other insurer. If items were also covered on your home contents policy you can only claim once and the insurers share the costs.

What can I claim for?

You need to check the terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to be aware of what you’re covered for. If you've taken expensive items with you, then you should try to keep a copy of the receipt with you.

Travel insurance will usually pay out:

  • If your holiday is delayed, cancelled or disrupted or you have to end it early (curtail) for a raft of different reasons. 

  • If your baggage or any personal items are damaged, lost or stolen. 

  • Any liabilities you face because you accidentally hurt or injure somebody or damaged their property.

  • Medical treatment, emergency ambulances or other transport, repatriation home or visits to you by family members, revised travel arrangements.

  • If you need to sue somebody else, such as for a failure of service, or for injuring you.

Do I need to inform the police?

If you lose an item, or if something is stolen, many insurers insist that you get a police report within 24 hours of the incident.

It's always important to know the number for the emergency services, for whichever country you're travelling to. Some resorts and towns have specific police stations with English speakers to handle tourist reports.

How much can I claim?

You need to check your travel insurance policy for the details of how much you can claim. Every policy is different, and there may be an upper limit on how much you can claim. There is often an upper limit for individual items.

There may also be an excess amount, which you might have to pay in advance, or will be deducted from your payout. This information should be in your policy.

What do I need to remember?

Make sure you keep a copy of any physical claims form once you've filled it in. You should also keep copies of the relevant receipts. This is particularly important if you're still travelling, as you might need the originals to continue travelling.

Don't assume all travel insurance policies are the same. If you've changed to a different insurance company, be sure you know what your policy covers, and the terms and conditions.

Be truthful when applying for insurance and making a claim, as misinformation could greatly impact your travel insurance claim.

*To help you compare travel insurance policies and find the right cover for your requirements, Uswitch has selected theIdol.com to provide you with quotes. Quotations are provided by theIdol.com on a non-advised basis. This means that no advice is given or implied and you are solely responsible for deciding whether the policy is suitable for your needs. theIdol.com is a trading name of Investment Discounts Online Ltd and is registered in England and Wales, registration number 04231834. Registered address One Coleman Street, London, EC2R 5AA. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, registration number 197451. Investment Discounts On-Line Ltd is part of the Legal & General Group. This can be confirmed at http://www.fca.org.uk/. View theIdol.com's Our Services DocumentPrivacy policy and Terms & Conditions.

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