Exposed: the travel insurance claims that Aussies are faking

While most travellers refill the coffers by tightening their belts after a blowout holiday, others have turned to bending the truth on their travel insurance claims, Southern Cross Travel Insurance has reported.

Craig Morrison, CEO of Southern Cross Travel Insurance said the company deals with up to 1,300 insurance claims a week, and among that number are often claims that don’t stand up to scrutiny. From break-ins, to false documents, to fabricated stories, travellers have tried their luck with a range of fraudulent claims in an attempt to recoup holiday costs.

Examples of falsified claims ranged from one customer who faked a statement from a hotel manager in order to claim that $36,000 worth of designer shoes, bags, jewellery, computers and SLR cameras had been stolen from their hotel room, to another, who couldn’t provide proof of ownership for a laptop bought off a “shady” friend.

Identical claims being filed with more than one insurer also made the list of dodgy claims.

“Everything from implausible accounts of theft and unlikely items added to a genuine claim, to completely fabricated claims, including false testimony and fabricated documents. We’ve seen it all!” Morrison said.

Making fraudulent claims on a travel insurance policy, is however, a risky game for cash strapped globetrotters, especially those hoping to add an embellished claim onto a genuine one.

Southern Cross’ travel insurance policy PDS, states that, “If any information is falsely given or you make a fraudulent claim, this policy shall become void and no claims will be payable.” Most, if not all other travel insurance policies have a similar clause, and so travellers making false claims run the risk of having their entire policy cancelled.

It’s important for holidayers to know the fine print of their travel insurance policies, so that any claims that arise can be handled smoothly and paid in full. Here are some important general rules to remember about making claims on a travel insurance policy, so you don’t leave yourself in the position of having to fake a claim:

  • In the case of theft, loss or damage to any of your valuables, remember to get an official report from a person in authority - usually this means a police report, but could also include hotel or tour company managers.
  • If you experience delays in your travel arrangements - say your flights are delayed or cancelled - make sure you get an official statement from the airline that states the reason and length of the delay.
  • If you’re travelling with valuables, make sure you have proof of purchase or ownership. This usually means original receipts
  • Know your exclusions, because some things won’t be covered under your travel insurance, no matter what. For example, if your bags are left unattended, you won’t be covered for theft or loss.
  • Submit your claim on time! Usually, you’ll have around 30 days from your return to Australia to submit a claim, but check your PDS for the exact number. After that, your insurer can consider your policy void and no claims will be paid.

Are you heading overseas soon? Make sure you’re covered against any unforeseen events with a rock solid travel insurance policy.