Unlock the Secrets to a Successful Travel Insurance Claim [GUIDE]

After coming home from a vacation where something went wrong, we can empathize with how overwhelming the travel insurance claim process might be. It’s not as scary as it sounds, especially when our team is here to help you open the claim. Not only that, but we will check on it weekly to ensure it is taken care of in a timely manner. Let’s get started!

Usually, most people wait to file their claim once they return home from their trip. If you feel so inclined to get a head start, by all means, go ahead! Below you’ll get a better glimpse of how travel insurance claims are filed and what to expect.

Jump Ahead

blue outline of arrow pointing right Know What’s Covered Under Your Travel Insurance Policy

One of the easiest ways to get your travel insurance claim approved is knowing what your policy covers before you even purchase it! Many times, people make assumptions about coverage when purchasing a travel insurance policy.

Then, when they need to file a claim, they find out the primary reason they purchased travel insurance was excluded in their policy coverage to begin with. Talk to the travel insurance experts at Yonder to make sure your policy includes the coverage you need! 

“A quick call to our friendly team could potentially save you thousands of dollars by ensuring that you purchase a policy that offers the coverage you truly need,” says Terry Boynton, co-founder and president of Yonder Travel Insurance.

blue outline of arrow pointing right How Does the Travel Insurance Claim Process Work?

For many, the most daunting part of the travel insurance process is filing a claim when something goes wrong on your trip. If that’s you, don’t worry. Though the travel insurance claim process can definitely get a bit tedious, it truly doesn’t have to be as difficult as it’s made out to be. 

This is especially true if you know what you need to prepare in advance. We’re not trying to show off, but as travel insurance experts, we want to help make sure the journey is as easy as possible for you. 

Here are some of the best practices you should know about to prepare for filing a travel insurance claim:

Contact Your Travel Insurance Company

As soon as you’re able, call your travel insurance company (or the Yonder team if you purchased from us) to see what coverage is included and what exclusions apply. You may have a general sense based on the type of travel insurance policy you purchased, but you may not know about the minor things that might be covered, like medical supplies or food. 

You don’t want to make the mistake of paying for goods or services you think might be covered under travel insurance but actually aren’t. The rules can be tricky, and again, our motto is “better safe than sorry”. You can also find more details about your coverage in your policy documents.

man sitting at table talking on the phone

If you encounter an emergency situation during your trip, you can access immediate assistance. Every travel insurance policy features a 24/7 emergency assistance line that you can call to ascertain coverage or receive guidance on the next steps to obtain the necessary help.

Understand Claim Submission Time Limits

Although most travel insurance providers offer flexibility if something comes up, some have distinct timeframes in which you need to get your claim in. It’s best to start working on filing your claim once you return home from your trip. Check your travel insurance documents or reach out to your insurance provider for specific timelines.

If you’re waiting to receive documentation from your travel suppliers or medical facility, you can always submit the documentation you currently have and then send in the remaining forms at a later date.

File Your Claim Online or Via Mail

Most insurance providers nowadays offer online claim submissions where you can complete and upload everything into their online claims portal. This is the quickest and most efficient way to file a travel insurance claim. 

However, if you prefer to fill out a paper claim form and mail your documentation in, that’s still an option. Just be aware this method may cause your claim to take longer to process.

Document Everything

If you want to file a travel insurance claim, you’re going to need proof of what happened to show your insurance company. This means you’ll want to save any documentation before and during your trip that might help the claims analyst put the story together. 

Depending on what kind of coverage you’re seeking, this could be medical bills and intake forms, police reports, or receipts for unexpected things you had to purchase as a result of an accident or delay, to name just a few. You may even need to provide evidence of payment when it comes to bookings and reservations if looking to file a trip cancellation claim.

Most claim forms will tell you what documentation you’ll need to submit based on the type of claim you’re filing. We’ll get into the details later in this article.

“Not submitting all required documentation is usually what causes claims processing delays,” says Boynton. “Triple-check your claim forms and make copies of the documentation if submitting your claim by mail.”

When it comes to saving these documents, our best advice is to err on the side of too much – you can always get rid of it later, but it may be difficult to track it down once you return back home. If you aren’t given the documentation you’ll need to show proof of the incident during your trip, just ask for it. Most officials and administrators will be happy to oblige. 

Pro-Tip: Make sure all documentation has a date displayed showing when the loss occurred during your trip!

How Yonder Can Assist During the Claims Process

As travel insurance experts, the Yonder team hosts years of claims experience and direct relationships with our providers. This allows us to assist our customers through the entire claims experience from initiation to finalization.

Let our team know what went wrong while on your trip and we can direct you to the appropriate information and claims department of the insurance company. If you’re confused about updates your provider sends about your claim, Yonder can decipher or check up on the status of your claim. Our goal is to make sure each claim is processed fairly and in a timely manner.

How You’ll Receive Updates About Your Insurance Claim

Staying on top of your claim is just as crucial as submitting it! You can expect email updates from most travel insurance providers, covering missing documentation or explanations of benefits. 

If you’re not getting these updates, be sure to check your spam folder and reach out to the insurance provider to confirm that your email address is up to date in their system.

a man and a woman sitting on a couch looking at a laptop together

If you bought your policy through Yonder, our friendly team is here to help with any questions about your claim. Feel free to give us a call or shoot us an email – we’re always happy to assist!

Follow Up Quickly & Often Until Resolved

After you’ve submitted your claim form and the required supporting documents, it’s important to follow up on your travel insurance claim status. Most policies say that once all documentation is received by the insurance company, the claim will take 30 – 60 days to approve. 

Ask about the current timeline with your provider, and stay on top of it. As much as we’d all love for insurance companies to do the follow-up, to ensure claims are taken care of in a timely manner, the responsibility may fall on you to keep the ball rolling. 

Ask Questions!

During the process of filing a claim, ask questions. If you don’t understand why something isn’t covered, you have the right to know why. Sometimes claims aren’t approved because they didn’t receive the necessary documentation. It might not be the end of the road but a temporary hurdle. You might just need additional documentation to prove your case. Find answers to our top travel insurance questions on our Travel Insurance FAQ page.

blue outline of arrow pointing right Types of Documentation You’ll Need to Submit With Your Claim

Once the claim form itself is completed, all that’s left is to upload supporting documentation. This is an important step you cannot miss –if you do, you risk your claim being denied (yikes!). Not quite sure what to upload for the type of claim you’re filing for? Take a look below! We’ve covered most of the basics. 

For Trip Cancellation & Trip Interruption

If you have to cancel or interrupt your trip for a sickness or illness (one of the more common reasons for cancelling), you’ll need documentation from a doctor proving you are unfit to travel due to a newly developed medical ailment. If the sickness or illness is related to a pre-existing condition and you purchased a policy that includes a Pre-Existing Condition Waiver, you might be in luck! 

However, you’ll still need what’s called an Attending Physician’s Statement, recommending you are not fit to travel. This document should be available to complete or download once you start filing your claim online. Even if your trip cancellation claim isn’t related to medical expenses, the claims department will need documentation such as:

  • Trip Itinerary: This includes any confirmation and reservation numbers for airfare, hotels, or tours, etc.
  • Proof of Payment: Receipts showing you had paid for the amounts you claimed for.
  • Other Party Credits: Any amounts or refunds you expect to receive from other suppliers.

For Medical Expense

If you received medical care while traveling, making sure you leave your destination with access to receipts, invoices, and treatment records is key. Some situations require you to contact the Emergency Assistance Provider before you receive care to be eligible for coverage. 

You can find this information in your policy documents or reach out to one of our helpful humans if you have questions. However, now that you’re safe and sound at home, here are the documents you might need to file a successful claim:

  • Records of admission and discharge from the medical facility
  • Diagnosis of condition and details of the treatment you received
  • If you were involved in an accident, provide any police records or statements
  • If your travel insurance is secondary medical coverage, your claim will most likely be processed through your major medical provider. In this case, your EOBs from this insurance provider should be submitted with your travel insurance claim.

For Baggage Loss & Delay

If your baggage experienced damage, was lost, or stolen, the insurance company will likely ask for this type of documentation:

  • Trip Itinerary: This includes any booking and reservation numbers for airfare, hotels, or tours, etc.
  • Purchase receipts of the luggage or item. If you don’t have the original receipt, sometimes finding a similar item and attaching a current listing for that product could suffice.
  • Homeowner/Renter Insurance EOB: Again, your travel insurance policy might be secondary to these types of insurance companies.
a bag on railroad tracks showing a woman's legs and feet

If your baggage was delayed to your destination, you may have been without your essentials and purchased others to get you by until your bags showed up. For this, you might need this supporting documentation:

  • Trip Itinerary: This includes any booking and reservation numbers for airfare, hotels, tours, etc.
  • Irregularity or Incident Report: This is filed with the airline directly and will show proof your luggage was delayed.
  • Receipts: Any and all receipts of personal items you purchased to use in the meantime.

There are of course, other categories of coverage you could claim for as well as additional documents you might need to submit with your travel insurance claim. However, these are the most common and should help you start your claim on a good note. If you need help filing your claim, don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly humans for expert advice.

blue outline of arrow pointing right Common Reasons a Travel Insurance Claim is Denied

Unfortunately, some travel insurance claims are denied. Providers usually send an email explaining the claim outcome and coverage details. These are the most common reasons a claim is denied:

  • Making claims for reasons not covered by the policy
  • There wasn’t enough documentation to support the claim
  • The traveler waited too long to file their claim
  • Exaggerating your losses (psst: this is travel insurance fraud!)
  • Filing a claim for excluded events

blue outline of arrow pointing right How and When to File a Travel Insurance Claim Appeal

If you think your claim was wrongly denied, you can typically file an appeal. You can also file a claim appeal if you disagree with the claim reimbursement. The key here is that you’ll need to provide new evidence to prove your claim should have been approved. 

If the policy lists the reason for filing a claim as covered, perhaps you simply forgot to submit some documentation. Or, maybe you received new documentation that could help validate your correct claim reimbursement that you didn’t have previously.

Sometimes though, a claim appeal won’t change the outcome. Travel insurance is meant to protect against definite events. If your claim can’t prove your trip was affected by these specific events, you might be out of luck.

Have any tips to share on this topic? We’d love to hear them! Tag us on Instagram with @insureyonder, tweet us, or comment on Facebook.

As a seasoned professional with over five years of experience in the travel insurance industry, Meagan has honed her expertise in marketing and operations working for Yonder Travel Insurance. Throughout her career, she's shown dedication assisting customers at every stage of their travel insurance journey, from the initial quote process to navigating the claims process. Her expert understanding of travel insurance equips her to provide unbiased and valuable insights, which help travelers find the best coverage and maximize its benefits.


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