What to do when holidays go wrong

Ever had an unfortunate incident during your travels, only to find later that your insurance claim was unsuccessful because you were not adequately prepared?

From putting high-value items, such as laptops and jewellery, in your check-in luggage, to leaving your belongings unattended, a leading online travel insurer says that it is essential for people to fully understand their travel policy, in order to know whether they are able to make a claim on costly holiday mistakes.

InsureandGo’s Jonathan Etkind explains that there are numerous reasons why a claim can be unsuccessful.

“Anything from not disclosing any pre-existing medical conditions, to partaking in activities that breach your insurance policy conditions,” Mr Etkind said.

“Although travel insurance is both important and necessary when travelling, before purchasing just any policy, travellers need to think about where they are going, what they will be doing at their destination and what they are likely to need cover for.

“They also need to declare any pre-existing health conditions, as well as the valuable items that they will be taking with them.

“These are important considerations that will help travellers choose a policy that is right for them – and, in the unfortunate event that something goes wrong, help them understand whether or not they will be covered.”

What you need to do to ensure your travel claim is accepted
Accompany your belongings at all times
As long as you carry your belongings with you, or they are locked in a safe at your accommodation, you can be reimbursed by your policy for items that are lost, stolen or damaged during your trip. However, any luggage left unattended or unsecured in a public place could nullify a travel insurance claim. This includes any personal belongings you leave with someone who is not travelling with you for more than 50 per cent of your trip. It also applies to any personal belongings that you accidentally left in your hotel room, after you checked out.

Have proof of ownership
Whether it is receipts for expenses, itineraries or travel contracts, the key thing is to ensure that you keep a copy of anything that will verify that your lost, stolen or damaged possessions are yours. You don’t need to carry copies of these original documents on you while you travel, but they will provide the proof of ownership you need to process a travel insurance claim once you return home.

High-value items often need additional cover
Never assume that valuable items such as phones, laptops, cameras and jewellery will be automatically covered by your insurer. In fact, they are often excluded from standard or basic travel insurance policies, or their cover is capped at just a few hundred dollars. However, each insurer has a maximum benefit or limit they will pay for high-value items, and some have the option of customising the sub-limit on each individual item. If you are travelling with an extremely valuable item, such as a $10,000 engagement ring, you might want to consider insuring it under a separate policy.

Record the IMEI number of your mobile phone
Your travel insurance, generally, will not cover you for any claim relating to a lost, stolen or damaged mobile device if you are unable to supply the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number – a 15 or 17-digit unique number found within the settings of mobile devices and used to identify them. You will also need to provide proof that you have blocked this number by an Australian telecommunications provider to be eligible for a claim. When blocked, your device is inoperable, preventing its misuse and minimising call costs to you if it is being operated by another user.

Illness of a relative won’t guarantee a cancellation claim
You cannot make a cancellation claim because of the illness of a close relative or friend – unless they weren’t ill before you purchased your policy. If you want to cancel your trip because of the illness of a close relative or travel companion, you won’t be covered if they were ill, or they were aware of an existing medical condition, when you purchased your policy. It’s also important to note that some providers may not provide coverage for close relatives that aren’t Australian residents, who are present in Australia at the time the illness occurs.

Most travel delay cover only applies to flights
A standard insurance policy will only tend to cover flight delays, not delays with other modes of transport. The reimbursable costs in relation to flight delays will include accommodation and meals that you had to pay for, as a result of the delay. For instance, cruise delays are only covered when you take out a cruise travel policy.

Have you ever had a travel insurance claim denied? Why was your claim denied?

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Written by Ben


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