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Travel

What If Your Travel Insurance Claim Is Denied?

As you can imagine, having your travel canceled, interrupted or simply not go as planned is never ideal.

When you have travel insurance, however, you can feel better knowing that at least some of your travel expenses will be reimbursed. But what if you file your claim, and it comes back denied?

Here are some reasons that could happen:

You didn’t purchase the right kind of insurance for your needs: People often don’t take the time to understand what their insurance provides. For example, the medical expenses probably won’t be covered if a traveler is going heli-skiing and gets injured. In this case, the traveler should have purchased Adventure Travel coverage, Many travelers assume that one policy covers everything. Take the time to read your policy, and if you haven’t purchased one yet, look at a few sites online to get a general idea of how travel insurance works. If you need to submit a claim, a solid understanding of your policy will be the best tool at your disposal. Most policies will have glossaries of the terms, or you can review one online. Click here for the one on my site, www.travelinsurance.com.

woman whose luggage was lost

You misunderstood what is needed when submitting: Some travelers may think they understand everything they need to submit when filing a claim, but they may miss important details. This can hold things up or cause the claim to be denied altogether.  We recommend always calling the insurance company before submitting a claim. Read up on your plan so you have a basic understanding. From there, you can ask what documents are needed specifically, the correct steps to file a claim and the best route to send in the claim. The process is usually straightforward for filling out forms and submitting them with the right documentation, but the more complete everything is, the faster the claim will be filed and the payments made.

Documentation is key when filing an insurance claim.

You failed to provide proof: Documentation is key when it comes to receiving a payout for covered situations. Even if travelers are fully entitled to the benefits of a travel insurance claim, they can wind up with a claim denial if they do not provide the documentation to back their claim up. An insurer will want proof of a trip delay, cancellation or event that causes a policyholder to file a claim, along with receipts that pertain to the purchases made.

Before anything goes wrong, it is always important to keep track of your purchases related to your trip — receipts and credit card statements showing that you actually paid for the flights, hotels and other trip-related costs that you are claiming against. When you submit your claim, make sure you have all the documentation you can think of. For instance, for ticket compensation, you will need to produce receipts for the tickets. For lost luggage, you will have to provide the list of items inside the luggage as well and so on. Without this information, the insurer has no way to verify that you actually paid for the trip costs. If you are filing a claim for a stolen personal effect during your travels, you should make sure to save the documentation provided by the local police (when you reported the theft) so the insurer can validate that the event actually happened. You might also want to take pictures of all of the items you are bringing on your trip just before you pack them.

You waited too long: Most insurance providers require consumers to file a claim within a specific period from the event of loss. Some insurance providers may offer a period of a few weeks while others may offer a period of one month to file a claim. Travelers should review their policy or call the insurance company to know about the exact period. If a claim is filed after the due date, most insurance providers will reject the application without any consideration. Most modern travel insurance companies have websites that allow claims to be digitally submitted and processed. This is a great way to get the process rolling and helps save time to meet the deadlines.

You take no for a final answer:  Travel insurance claims usually take a few weeks to process. However, complicated claims take longer. For some, if their claim is denied they may fume, but that does little to change the outcome. If your claim is denied, contact the company or agent that sold you the travel insurance plan right away. They will often help with filing an appeal. The good news is that about 50 percent of appeals are honored, so taking this extra step is not a wasted effort, especially if you feel strongly that your claim is valid. When a company will not honor an appeal, the next step is to contact the state insurance commissioner and the Better Business Bureau and see if they can assist.

Stan Sandberg is a co-founder of TravelInsurance.com, overseeing finance, business development and partnerships. Together with partner Drew Sharma, Stan launched TravelInsurance.com in 2010 with the vision of simplifying the complicated world of travel insurance by providing consumers with the easiest way to compare and purchase trip insurance .  For more information, click here.

 

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