Making a travel insurance claim after your Christmas holiday overseas

The festive season is officially over… That’s right another 11 months until it rolls around again and you are able to jet set off on another Christmas holiday.

If you need to make a claim on your travel insurance due to a mishap while you were away, it’s important that you get the process started as soon as you can to ensure you don’t miss the boat. So here’s all you need to know on how to do it. 

Travel insurance provider Insured By Us, founder of both Travel with Kit and Travel with Jane, found that claims for lost devices like smartphones and tablets tend to be at the most common after the holiday season. Closely followed by cancellations as a result of illness as well overseas emergency medical costs. 

But no matter what you need to claim on, Sarah Drysdale, the Head of Customer Success at Insured by Us says that making a claim sooner rather than later is the best option to ensure it gets approved.  

“Unless it’s an emergency, claim as soon as you get home to Australia. The sooner you claim the better,” she said. 

“It is important to note that you must have all the information necessary so as to ensure that you have a quick, stress-free claims journey.”

Let’s have a look back at the travel insurance checklist and make sure you did all that you needed to while you were away. 

  • You kept receipts of new items that you bought overseas 
  • You reported any theft to the local police within 24 hours (and kept a copy of the police report) 
  • You rang your insurer’s medical assistance hotline in the case of a medical incident 

Steps to making a claim on your travel insurance 

While not all insurers are the same, generally the process is pretty similar and can be done online or over the phone. So here are some simple steps to getting your claim (hopefully) approved! 
Step 1: Get in touch with your insurer and fill out a claim form

Step 2: Have all the documentation you need handy to help support your insurance claim - like receipts or police reports 

Step 3: Ensure you make a copy of your claim 

Step 4: Submit the claim and stand by for settlement 

Step 5: If your claim is rejected, you are able to ask to lodge a dispute with the financial ombudsman service 

Common mistakes Aussies make when making a travel insurance claim 

The best thing about mistakes is that we can learn from them and the same goes when it comes to making your travel insurance claim.

Insured By Us has reported that a common challenge for returned travellers when making an insurance claim is proving that they owned items that were lost or stolen while they were away. 

“Without proof of ownership, we can’t be sure that the claim is legitimate. The best evidence is a receipt, but if this has long been binned, you’re not yet out of luck,” Ms Drysdale said. 

“Thanks to our digitised world, ownership can be proved from online bank transaction records, bank statements, and photos - where you’re clearly seen to be wearing or using the item in question.”  

But that’s not the only thing that people can slip up on when making a claim, and not all mishaps can be backed up with bank statements or photos. So, here are some other common reasons why Aussies’ travel insurance claims may be rejected. 

  • Timely lodgement of claims:  Some insurers will only take claims within 30 days after you get home from being overseas. So it’s important you pop it at the top of your to-do list and get this done as soon as you can.   
  • Right level of cover: A big mistake people make is assuming that travel insurance covers everything you do while you travel no matter what. Well that’s not the case. It’s important you have a good read of the PDS statement of the cover you intend to take out, because if you went skiing or skydiving and weren’t covered your claim would be rejected. 
  • Failed to disclose existing condition: If you weren’t upfront about a pre-existing medical condition and you end up having to make a claim - this can affect its approval. Things like pregnancy, injury or other medical conditions need to be disclosed to your insurer before you take out your policy. 
  • Stopover destination wasn't included in cover: Chased a winter wonderland in Europe but stopped over in Asia or the Middle East on the way over? It’s always safer to buy a policy that covers both locations, because if you need to make a claim on something that happened on your stopover, you may not be able to.  
  • Forgot to lodge an official police report: If your belongings get stolen while you are overseas, it’s important to file a police report and get a copy of it to show your insurer. Without one you run the risk of being rejected. 
  • Unattended property: Also keep an eye out for the ‘unattended property’ exclusion which refers to not having your items on your person when it was stolen. Say you leave your phone on a table at a restaurant or wallet in the hotel lobby, in some cases insurers will reject your claim in the case that it’s stolen because you left your belongings unattended. 

REMEMBER: Generally speaking, the cheaper your insurance policy the higher your excess. So before you make a claim it’s worth weighing up the amount you’d pay in excess versus the value of the item you are making the claim on. If the scales end up tipping towards the excess being more costly, it probably isn’t wise to go through with the claim. 

RELATED ARTICLE: A snapshot of Aussie travellers in 2019 and travel insurance in the new decade 

RELATED GUIDE: Top travel insurance tips 

Heading on another holiday soon? Check out our travel insurance comparison tool or have a read of our useful guides for more info.