Tips & Advice
What are the steps to file a travel insurance claim?
- Make sure you have copies of all relevant documents and email communication chains. If possible, begin the process of filing the claim while you are still at the destination.
- Contact your travel insurance provider and ask them what exactly they will need to process the claim. They will typically email you the forms with instructions. They will also give you a claim number, which will be essential to filing and tracking your claim. In addition to filling out forms and providing documentation, you may need to provide additional details:
- For medical claims, you may need ER, treatment, admit/discharge records, copies of bills, and documents from primary medical insurer.
- For lost/stolen baggage, you will need to show copies of reports filed with law enforcement.
- If you are filing for reimbursement due to missed connections or cancelled flights, you will need to provide copies of hotel bills, unexpected flight tickets home, or other expenses you’re claiming.
- If you are filing a medical claim, you must provide the name of a doctor who can verify your claim and, if needed, release medical information for the people named in the claim.
- Some documentation will need to be faxed. Other parts can be emailed. Not all insurance companies require every piece of documentation for a claim to be sent together. However, make sure to put the claim number on every piece of documentation.
Does travel insurance cover natural disasters or terrorist attacks?
Natural disasters and terrorist attacks are covered in most trip cancellation/trip interruption policies and some travel medical insurance policies.
How long will it take for the insurance company to process a claim?
All insurance companies stipulate that the length of time to process a claim varies according to the situation – but in emergency situations, especially medical emergencies or natural disasters, companies act as quickly as possible. Reimbursement claims for trip cancellation, lost baggage, unplanned return flights, and other unexpected expenses are usually reviewed and processed within five to 30 business days of all paperwork being submitted, and settled within 30-60 days. The processing times vary according to company policy, but also can be delayed by special circumstances and a high volume of claims (often due to severe weather or natural disasters).
How does trip cancellation coverage work?
Trip cancellation coverage reimburses the policyholder for pre-paid, non-refundable fare costs, cancellation penalties, and some additional expenses incurred (like an unplanned return flight) when cancelling or interrupting a trip for a covered reason. On a typical plan, covered reasons include illness and injury (the policy owner or their family member), loss of employment or flight cancellations. Other coverage is available for trips cancelled due to missed connections. A broader and more expensive “Cancel for Any Reason” policy type is available through most major insurers.
Read the terms very carefully, as policies are all different, and most have pre-existing conditions waivers for illness/injury.
Is travel insurance needed on top of other types of insurance?
Travel insurance covers situations that no other types of insurance cover, so even if you have auto, health and life insurance, you may opt for a travel policy to cover things like trip cancellation, emergency evacuation, and flight delays.
Specific to medical coverage areas, many people with medical insurance choose a travel insurance policy with full medical coverage when traveling in foreign countries or out of state. This is because many medical insurance policies do not consider out-of-state doctors in-network, and also because emergency situations when traveling can incur unforeseen costs far out of the coverage scope of a normal medical plan.
How late can travel insurance be purchased before a trip?
Travel insurance can be purchased up to the day before departure, and international medical coverage might be available even after departure--but insurance takes a full day after purchase to become valid.
How does travel medical insurance work?
Travel medical insurance covers all types of unforeseen medical costs, including emergency accident and illness assistance, medicine, medical procedures, dental procedures, hospital stays and emergency medical transportation—including evacuation out of the destination.
Travel medical insurance policies are highly recommended when traveling internationally, and should also be considered when traveling to different states where normal medical insurance may not cover “out of network” visits. However, it is very important to review maximum coverage amounts, deductibles, and waivers or exclusions around pre-existing conditions. Policies that cover treatment or evacuation due to pre-existing conditions are more expensive. Policies that do not specify coverage for pre-existing conditions might not cover expenses that can be traced back to those conditions.
What does air travel insurance cover?
One category of flight insurance covers flight cancellation and trip interruption due to delays or missed connections. Another covers death or catastrophic injury due to airplane crashes.
The first type is the most common and is offered as an add-on while booking flights online. It covers costs incurred to unexpected airline issues such as flight cancellations, extended delays and missed connections. Some policies cover additional expenses like lost baggage reimbursement and change fee coverage. With these policies, terms outline specific covered circumstances, such as a flight delay, a strike, or cancellation due to weather. Review policy carefully before purchasing, as covered reasons vary and there are always exclusions.
Coverage for death or dismemberment is inexpensive, offered in incremental amounts from $100,000 -$500,000 and allows the policyholder to name a beneficiary.
How much does travel insurance cost?
The cost of travel insurance is based on the length of the trip, state of residence, destination, and the type of coverage being purchased. Other factors that may add cost include the number of areas being covered, co-pay and maximum reimbursement amounts, and specialized provisions such as altitude. If travel insurance were a monthly expense, it could be quite high, but you usually only buy it for the window of your trip. The cost is typically 4 percent to 6 percent of the trip, and up to 10 percent for unrestricted trip cancellation coverage.
Is travel insurance necessary?
Travel insurance is designed to protect travelers from a variety of unexpected complications and costs ranging from medical emergencies, to lost baggage, to trip cancellation fees. Some travelers choose not to buy it, especially when traveling on full-fare tickets that allow cancellations and changes. However, many travelers appreciate the peace of mind that it brings.
Most travel experts agree that for high-ticket trips, foreign travel, and adventure trips and cruises, travel insurance is necessary for financial protection and safety reasons.