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4 Mistakes to Avoid When Filing a Travel Insurance Claim

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Allianz - avoid-insurance-claim-mistakes

So, something bad happened on your trip. Maybe it was a lost bag, a canceled flight, a long delay or a medical emergency. Luckily, you bought travel insurance that can cover travel mishaps like these. But in order to get reimbursed quickly, you need to file a claim — and you need to do it the right way. We’ll take a look at four of the most common mistakes people make in the travel insurance claim process.

1. Exaggerating your losses.

You’re having a miserable time on your Bahamas vacation. The weather’s cool and rainy, your resort has seen better days, and now you have a bad stomachache, too. When you visit the local doctor, she tells you it’s just indigestion. Ignoring her diagnosis, you head home early and file a claim for trip interruption because of a serious covered illness. Your claim’s denied.

It can be tempting to exaggerate the details of an illness, injury, theft or other loss in order to get some money back from your travel insurance plan. Don’t do this! When you misrepresent the facts in a claim, that’s travel insurance fraud, plain and simple. In this scenario, our claim investigators would request your medical records from the doctor you saw. When we discover that you were diagnosed with a minor ailment and that the doctor did not advise you to interrupt your trip, we’ll deny your claim.

2. Forgetting to check your plan limits.

Preparing to set sail on a luxury cruise on the Baltic Sea, you pack a few designer gowns and jackets, along with your favorite David Yurman bracelet and earrings. Once aboard, you discover that your suitcase never made it to your cabin. But when you file your lost/stolen baggage claim, you discover you won’t be reimbursed for the full value of your belongings.

Every plan has specific coverage limits for each benefit, which are outlined in the plan documents. In this case, if the traveler purchased OneTrip Prime, she has up to $1,000 in lost/stolen baggage benefits. However, there’s a maximum limit of $500 for certain items, including all jewelry, watches, gems, furs, cameras and camera equipment, camcorders, sporting equipment, computers, radios and other electronic items. (You’ll need to provide original receipts for these items or they won’t be covered.)

When packing for a trip, it’s good to keep these limits in mind. Consider wearing your jewelry or packing it in your carry-on. You may want to split up other expensive items between two checked bags, so that if one goes missing you won’t lose everything. Also, document your suitcase contents with photos and receipts.

3. Failing to provide documentation of your loss.

You’re about to depart for a week-long tour of Vietnam. But as you’re on the highway to the airport, another driver crashes into you. Your car’s totaled, and you end up in the hospital with whiplash. Getting into a traffic accident on the way to your point of departure can be considered a covered reason for trip cancellation if you need medical attention, or if the car needs to be repaired because it’s not safe to drive. When you file your claim with Allianz Global Assistance, you send your receipts for the tour and the flight, as well as a picture of the crash scene. But that’s not sufficient documentation, you’re told.

When you’re filing a claim, you need to thoroughly document all of your trip costs, your reason for cancellation and any refunds you may have received. The list of documentation Allianz Global Assistance requests includes:

  • Receipts and itemized bills for all expenses.
  • Documentation of any refunds or expense allowances received from your tour operator, travel agency, common carrier, resort, property management company, or other entity.
  • Copy of resort invoice/vacation rental contract or confirmation
  • Any appropriate documentation that officially explains the cause of your trip cancellation or interruption.
  • Any explanation of diagnosis along with your original itemized bills, receipts, and proof of other insurance payments.
  • Original unused tickets, copies of invoices, proof of payments, and other documents that substantiate the cost or occurrence of the trip cancellation or interruption.
  • Documentation of refunds received from the travel supplier(s) and/or common carriers.
  • Copy of the supplier's literature that describes penalties.
  • A letter from the tour operator or an itemized bill from the travel agent stating the non-refundable amounts of the trip costs.

You may not need to send everything on this list, but you should submit anything you can find that helps validate your claim. For help, you can call Allianz Global Assistance claim representatives 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-497-6992.

4. Waiting too long to file a claim.

Your March flight from London to Prague is grounded because of mechanical difficulties, forcing you to spend the night in London. You take the Tube to Brick Lane for a spicy curry and book a hotel for the night, knowing your travel delay benefit can cover reasonable expenses for additional meals and accommodation while you’re delayed for a covered reason. But you don’t get around to filing the claim until July — and then it’s denied.

Don’t procrastinate on claims filing! You have 90 days from the date of your loss to submit your claim to us, except as otherwise provided by law.

The good news is, we make claims filing as painless as possible. Did you know you can file a claim, upload documents and track your claim status on your phone? All you have to do is download the free TravelSmart app. With flight tracking, hotline access and information to help you deal with emergencies overseas, the app comes in handy when you’re traveling, too. You can also file a claim on our website, or contact us if you have questions. Our claims experts are happy to help!


VIDEO: How to File a Claim

Sep 21, 2018