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Travel is one of life’s most wonderful gifts. But it can certainly feel like less of a gift when you need to make a travel insurance claim.

While needing to make a claim is never ideal, it isn’t as bad if you know what to expect. We’ve compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions related to the claims process so that if you ever are unlucky enough to need to make a claim, at least you know how things will go down.

We’ve focused on the basics here and the most typical kinds of claims (e.g. stolen luggage); we’ll leave the more severe cases (things like emergencies and situations requiring you to be evacuated from the country you’re in) for another day.

Bear in mind, though, that these answers are just how most insurers work. So, while they are a general indication of how things will work with various insurers, things may vary depending on the nature of your situation and the specific requirements and processes of your particular insurer.

Now, let’s get started with the questions!

How much time do I have to make my claim?

Most travel insurance companies get that the nature of travel means sometimes you can’t lodge a claim straightaway, but they tend to set a time limit on how much time you have to make a claim (typically 60 days) because it can be difficult to get the required documentation and confirm details to support your claim if you wait too long.

In general, you should advise your insurer of any situation that might lead to a claim as soon as you can and let them know at that time if you’ll be unable to actually lodge the claim within the specified time period. They will be more inclined to give you some leeway on the deadline for the actual lodging of a claim if you manage to tell them of the situation before the deadline.

Do I have to wait until I get home to claim?

No, you can certainly lodge a claim while you’re overseas, provided you are able to access the right documentation and facilities to lodge your claim (i.e. the internet). If your return home is not for quite some time, you’ll need to keep the claim deadline in mind and will definitely want to lodge your claim from overseas.

Of course, if your return home is within the claim time frame, then you can wait until you get home to submit your claim.

How long will it take for my claim to be processed?

Most insurers aim to at least respond to, if not settle, your claim within 10 working days, but this time period will vary between insurers. Some may require you to submit further supporting documentation, which can delay the process a bit.

Most insurers are pretty good about getting in touch as soon as they can to let you know your claim has been received and to advise if they need anything further from you.

What kind of documentation do I need to provide?

The types of documents you will be required to provide will depend on what you are claiming for. Because of this, the list of possible required documentation is quite exhaustive, so we would be here forever if we listed each and every possibility.

However, some of the most common items include proof of travel, airline tickets, police reports, proof of purchase, receipts, credit card statements, baggage tags and boarding passes, doctors’ reports, hospital admission and discharge reports, photos of stolen items and booking invoices.

As a general rule, it’s a good idea to keep a few copies of all travel-related documentation because you never know when you might need them. Consider keeping copies in your email or secure cloud.

What if I don’t have receipts for any luggage that is stolen?

Of course, insurers understand that you may not have receipts for items that were purchased long ago. You can still make a claim for items you don’t have receipts for, you’ll just need to provide proof of ownership through other means — for example, with bank or credit card statements or with photographic evidence of ownership.

If you don’t have any way of proving ownership, you can still submit your claim, but you’ll need to explain why you aren’t able to provide the supporting documentation and the claims officer will make an assessment as to whether or not your claim will still be accepted.

What if I need medical treatment?

If you need or have received medical treatment while you’re overseas, you should absolutely get a medical certificate detailing the injury or illness you sustained and the treatment you received.

Contact your insurer as soon as you can, preferably before the treatment takes place so they can organise payment there and then, which will save you having to pay for the treatment (which can often be quite costly) and then the insurer later having to determine whether or not the circumstances fit those required for you to be reimbursed.

What is the typical process for making a claim?

In general, making a claim while you’re overseas requires an internet connection. Usually, you can just go to your travel insurer’s website and download, print and complete a travel insurance claim form, which you can then email, post or fax back to them. You will also need to attach any supporting documentation.

If you would prefer not to have to make use of technology to make you’re claim, you will have to wait until you get home. Your insurer will likely be able to post out a claim form. You’ll obviously still need to include supporting documentation before sending in your claim.

But, as with most things these days, if you want your claim to be processed quicker, email is your best bet.

What if I have more questions?

If you have further questions that we haven’t answered here, or if you require some clarification on any of the answers we have provided, get in touch with us and ask away — we are there to help you.  Give us a call on 09-5253232 or simply email us on enquiry@sit.co.nz

Making a travel insurance claim—answers to some common questions
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