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Research report
1 July 2018

Making a successful travel insurance claim

You stand a much better chance of making a successful claim if you read your travel insurance policy.

It’s important to get in touch with your insurer promptly if you need to claim, and gather evidence to prove your loss.

Your insurer may require you to contact it before you incur large expenses you'll later claim for, such as hospital bills.

  • Confirm what cover your insurer will provide if you've hit a snag and need to make alternative travel plans.

  • Collect medical or dental reports from your overseas medical practitioner if you want to claim for medical expenses. You may also need to handover an itemised account and receipts to prove the cost of your treatment.

  • Notify the local police within 24 hours if your belongings have been stolen. Contact your travel provider within 24 hours if your luggage is damaged or missing. Get a written statement to show you reported the incident. You may also need to provide your insurer with receipts or other documents to prove you owned the items in question.

  • Gather written notification from your travel agent, airline or other travel provider if your bookings are cancelled or altered due to an unforeseen event. You may also need to supply proof of prepaid reservations, plus receipts for food and other incidentals caused by the alteration.

  • Provide copies of the rental agreement, incident report, and repair invoice if you wish to claim back the rental vehicle excess after pranging a rental vehicle.

  • If you’re injured or fall sick, you may have to pay medical expenses upfront and claim compensation from your insurer afterwards. Insurers can provide payment guarantees to hospitals if necessary.

  • You need to claim compensation from the travel provider in the first instance if your transport is cancelled or your luggage is lost or delayed. You can then turn to your insurer if you’re still out of pocket (but you’ll need to supply paperwork from the travel provider detailing the compensation you’ve already received).

Tip: Keep your insurer’s contact details close at hand while you’re overseas. Insurers operate emergency call centres, which may prove useful if you’re in a squeeze.


So you’ve taken out travel insurance, met the policy’s conditions, but your claim has still been rejected? Your first port of call is the insurer’s formal complaints process, which will be outlined in your policy.

If you and your insurer can’t settle a dispute, you can complain to your insurer’s independent dispute resolution service. While you’ll need to check your policy, most insurers belong to either:

Case study

Bill and Jenny went on a 12-day Mediterranean cruise from Istanbul to Rome. At the end of the cruise, Bill had booked a shuttle to the airport, where they'd be flying on to London. But when the ship docked, the shuttle driver told them fire had broken out at the airport. All flights were cancelled.

Bill and Jenny stayed at accommodation on the outskirts of the city for the night. In the morning, they received an email from their airline telling them the next available flight from Rome was in four days. As that didn't suit, the couple decided to catch a train to Milan and fly to London from there. To alter their flights, they had to endure a lengthy and expensive toll call to the airline in London. Bill says they eventually got the green light to fly from Milan.

When the couple got home, they lodged a claim with their insurer for their accommodation in Rome, transport to Milan and the cost of calling the airline. The full claim was for $500. The insurer contacted them to clarify some minor points, but otherwise paid their claim promptly.

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It's your safety net if anything goes awry overseas. Find out what to look for when choosing travel insurance and what's covered, then compare a range of comprehensive policies.

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