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How Do You File a Travel Insurance Claim so It Won’t Get Rejected?

Cover your bases.

Air travel is chaotic. The aviation industry is in shambles due to increases in demand, labor shortages, and strikes in the U.S. and Europe. Although this summer was considerably better than the “travel apocalypse” of 2022, flight delays and cancellations are still giving passengers a reason to reconsider their bookings. That’s why travel insurance is such an important aspect of your trip—anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

Travel insurance tends to be reasonably priced. Sure, you can always check with your credit card on what they cover, if at all, and what’s the compensation you may be entitled to. But insurance agencies have competitive options. It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and it can actually help save your trip costs if something does happen, especially when things are so unpredictable. 

Related: Should You Consider Travel Insurance for Extreme Heat Events?

For Miami resident Aaron Gordon, it was definitely worth it. He was flying with his family to Golfito, Costa Rica, on American Airlines. Their flight to San Jose, Costa Rica, was delayed by four hours and they missed their connecting flight on Sansa Airlines, a regional Costa Rican airline which was booked the following day. “The alternative was a six-hour drive through the mountainous rainforest, which sounded especially daunting with an eight and 11-year-old in tow,” he told Fodor’s.

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The accommodation he’d booked, Cielo Lodge, offered to arrange a private charter flight from San Jose to Golfito. So, Gordon contacted their insurer, TravelGuard, while the flight was still grounded in Miami and the company confirmed that their missed connection was covered. He would be reimbursed for their missed flight as well as the cost of the charter. In all, he was reimbursed $1,800 ($1,300 for the private charter and $500 for the missed flight).

But how do you successfully file a claim?

Read the Fine Print

What’s covered in your claim? What’s the cap on each reimbursement? Will the company approve your claim in the event of a natural disaster? What are the stipulations for airline delays—how many hours makes you eligible for a claim? Are adventure sports covered?

You should know what your policy covers and how much it pays when you’re filing a claim. Call them up to ask specific questions before you buy a policy and definitely refer back to it when you need to get money back. Most of the time, only non-refundable costs of the trip and out-of-pocket expenses will be reimbursed.

Save All of Your Receipts

Check with the insurer about which documents you need (again, read the fine print) and make sure you save every single one. For delayed or cancelled flights, save proof of hotel expenses, food expenses, and other travel documents (including tickets and boarding passes and cab receipts). If you’re filing a claim for a medical mishap, then your hospital and pharmacy bills will be required along with a doctor’s note. InsureMyTrip, a website the arranges travel insurance, suggests that if your baggage was lost or if someone stole your belongings, you need to make sure you have evidence, like a police report or correspondence with the airline. 

You may also need to provide information or proof about any refunds you received from your airline, hotel, or other travel agency.

Act Quickly

File a claim as soon as you can. There may be limitations and cut-off dates after your trip, so make sure you don’t miss out on a claim because you forgot about the deadlines. You’ll save time using online resources, but you can always call the helpline if you need help with filing it.

Follow Up

Sometimes there may be a delay in processing your claim, but that’s doesn’t mean it’s been denied. However, if your claim is denied, don’t let it go without asking the provider why, advises InsureMyTrip.

Allianz Travel shares that claims can be rejected for two broad reasons. The primary reason is the most obvious one: the claim is not covered by the insurance. Before you buy a plan, make sure to cross-check every scenario that’s covered under disruption and cancellation. “Claims due to a reason that was known or foreseeable when the plan was purchased are not eligible for coverage,” says the insurer. 

The second reason is due lack of documentation. Again, check with the insurer about which documents are needed to process your claim and submit everything to avoid delays or rejections. 

If your claim is denied, you may need to ask for it to be reexamined and send new documentation.