Stolen, damaged or lost baggage, misplaced passport, missed flight – there are hundreds of things that can go wrong when you are on an international or domestic trip. And it can become a bigger nightmare if the travel insurance company rejects your claim for some reason. Reasons for rejection can be varied – from as significant as exclusion of benefits to as frivolous as a human error such as mentioning a wrong date or age or date of travel.
Insurance companies in India do not try to reject the claim for silly reasons, but as a traveler it is in your interest to make sure you do everything right and don’t give them a reason to reject. Many of us make silly mistakes, so it’s worth to take a few minutes and check these points thoroughly before you take flight.
Here are the things you need to check for to avoid rejection of your travel insurance. We’ve listed this stage-wise.
|Stage of your Travel||What you can do or check in your Travel Insurance Policy|
|When you Buy the Travel Insurance Policy||
Age, Gender, Departure and Arrival Dates – Check thoroughly for errors when filling up the travel insurance application form, as well as when you get the travel policy. Remember the departure date will be as per the flight timings, so especially if you are leaving late night, ensure that dates are correctly mentioned.
Coverage Exclusions – Choose the travel insurance policy only as per your requirements – cheapest may not be the best. Check the policy brochure BEFORE you decide to pay. Generally, being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, participating in dangerous adventure sports, mental illness, and medical tourism (going abroad for medical treatment) are not covered, unless specifically mentioned or are opted for separately.
Pre-existing Disease (PED) – A common rejection reason. Find out whether PED is covered in the plan, and what is the extent of cover. PEDs are generally excluded by default from nearly every travel insurance or student travel insurance policy, so even those simple illnesses that you don’t think are a problem can be denied.
PED is usually defined as “any injury, illness, disease or other medical condition that occurs prior to the travel plan’s effective date and for which you had symptoms and sought diagnosis, medical treatment, and/or new prescription medications or a change in your current prescription.”
So if you’ve seen a doctor for treatment or had any changes in your medication in the last 6 months, buy a plan that covers a pre-existing condition and of course, mention it at the time of applying for the policy. PED benefit travel insurance policies will be a little expensive, buy presuming you are aware of medical costs abroad, better to be safe than sorry.
Here are some tips to select your travel insurance or student travel insurance policy correctly.
|Before the Journey|| Trip Cancellations – All kinds of trip cancellations are generally not covered under your travel insurance policy – there is generally a list of reasons (check brochure or policy wordings). If your reason isn’t listed, then you won’t be covered. e.g. you were planning to go to Spain and just before take-off you heard there was a terrorist attack there – you won’t get the claim if you cancel the trip for this reason, unless your travel policy says “cancel for any reason” is included.
|During the Journey and Stay|| Alcohol Abuse : Anything that happens when you are under the influence of alcohol is most not covered. So take adequate precautions when you planning to guzzle when abroad. Same applies to abuse of drugs/narcotics as well.
Irresponsibility toward valuables – (or not caring enough) Insurance companies will not pay your claim for loss of valuables if you do not carry/store them with responsibility. e.g. Cash, Digital Camera, Jewelry, etc. if covered for theft need to be kept either with you at all times or in the hotel/bank locker. Leaving it in your car and then losing it may not be viewed as responsible behavior and the claim may be denied.
Extreme Sports – If you are travelling to Switzerland and want to try your hand at skiing, or are in New Zealand and want to bungee-jump, or take a ride on a high-speed bike in Japan, be sure to check if these are covered in the policy you bought. In spite of all the precautions, chances of injury in such activities are high and most travel insurance policies do not cover it. Be a good planner – know in advance that you are going to try out such activities, and ensure you pick up the policies which includes this or offers it as an add-on.
|After the Journey|| Lack of Proof – सबूत
Insurance companies will ask for solid evidence (and why not) before they pay your claim. So whenever a ‘claimable’ event happens, get the right authority to certify it! e.g. if your flight is cancelled, re-scheduled or you miss a connection, ask the airline to certify it on their letter-head (or equivalent). Tell them you need it for insurance – they will oblige. And do it within the deadline, e.g. within 24 hours after the incident. If your passport is stolen, file a report with local police or the nearest embassy and get a copy of that report. If your luggage is stolen, and you have to buy new clothes, keep each of the receipts. If the theft happened in transit, get the airline to certify it. etc. etc. etc. In simple words, get the evidence (document of loss) on time to get the claim.
Taking your own sweet time – There is generally a time window after you return from your trip that you need to submit your claim to the travel insurance company. It could be 15 days or 30, but after it has past, the claim will not even be accepted for scrutiny. That’s it.
|Other Reasons|| Never over-claim – Because that is not in good faith. In fact, that’s a fraud. Besides your claim being denied, you could be black-listed by all insurance companies. Keep off from doing such things. Simple.
The good thing, of course, is that you now know what the claim denial reason are. So make sure you take adequate precautions and make the most of the security cover that your travel insurance policy provides.