Afraid of Getting Your Travel Insurance Claim Rejected? Take These Precautions

Buying travel insurance is just the first step to protecting yourself while you travel. Actually being able to make claims on your travel insurance in times of need is the next crucial part of the puzzle. Here are some tips to keep in mind when making travel insurance claims to help you have as smooth a process as possible.

ValueChampion Editorial Team

by ValueChampion Editorial Team on Mar 19, 2024


An overseas holiday or a business trip to a foreign country can quickly become a nerve-wracking experience, especially if your luggage goes missing. Falling ill when you are abroad can be even worse. In situations like these, all your plans can be thrown out of gear. Taking a travel insurance cover before your trip can provide some relief.

Insuring yourself for a trip outside the country is both convenient and cheap. With several insurers vying for your business, you have a wide range of travel insurance policies to choose from that are also quite affordable. For instance, a 1-week trip to ASEAN should cost on average S$46, which is usually only a small fraction of the total cost of your holiday or business trip.

However, while obtaining a travel insurance policy is easy, getting a claim approved can prove to be more difficult. Every insurance company has strict rules regarding documentation as well as the procedure to be followed. Here are a few points to keep in mind if you ever have to make a travel insurance claim.

Related: Travel Insurance From Airlines vs Insurance Companies – Which is Better?

Source: GettyImages

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What Are The Risks That Are Covered By Travel Insurance?

The basic risks that are included in most travel insurance policies include medical expenses, loss of personal effects and baggage, expenses due to trip delays and cancellations, and baggage delays. A survey commissioned by AIG and conducted by Nielsen tracked the most common travel insurance claims made by Singaporeans. Medical expenditures were the most frequently claimed events, with loss or damage of baggage being the 2nd most frequently claimed event.

Type of travel insurance claimPercentage of claims in this category
Medical expenses41%
Loss or damage of baggage28%
Travel delays17%
Baggage delays13%

At times, the policy wordings that insurance companies have can be confusing. Take the example of the volcanic eruption in Iceland in 2010. The ash plume from the volcano affected air travel over a large part of Europe. Almost 100,000 flights were cancelled over an 8-day period. About 10 million travellers were impacted.

Typical policy wording on cancellation include “natural disasters which happen at the planned overseas destination which prevent the insured person from beginning the scheduled journey” or “natural disasters which happen in Singapore or at the destination you plan to travel to.” Going strictly by the coverage provided by the policy terms, an insurer could have said that only those persons whose final destination was Iceland were covered for trip cancellations and flight delays.

For the Iceland incident in 2010, there were insurers who decided to honour the intent of the policy instead of sticking to the policy terms out of goodwill. However, insurers may not be so accommodating every time. You should study the policy terms carefully and understand what you are paying for.

Related: How Travel Insurance Can Protect Your Refund Rights for Flight Cancellations and Delays

Will You Be Covered For An Illness That you Already Have?

One of those conditions you should be aware of is policies against pre-existing medical conditions. Because travel insurance policies allow you to claim reimbursement for amounts spent on medical and dental emergencies, some people may attempt to exploit this coverage by using travel insurance to cover expenses to treat their pre-existing medical condition overseas.

However, you may not be covered for a pre-existing condition. If you have a chronic condition that flares up when you are on a trip, you should not expect the insurance company to pay for your treatment. Instead, you should ensure that you disclose all pre-existing medical conditions at the time of taking out your policy. You will need to declare to the insurer about any illness or condition for which you are taking medicines. Even if you are not under medication, but are seeing a specialist, you will have to inform the insurer. At the point of writing, there are a few insurers that cover pre-existing conditions: MSIG TravelEasy Pre-Ex, Income Enhanced PreX, TIQ Pre-Ex.

Related: 5 Things You Must Consider When Buying Travel Insurance

boarding a plan
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Here’s What You Need To Do To Get Your Travel Insurance Claim Approved

You need to provide proper documentation to prove your case to your insurance company. You should not assume that if you lose your luggage or go through a medical emergency while on a trip, you will automatically be compensated for your loss. You have to strictly follow the rules laid down by the insurance company. It is absolutely necessary to prove your claim by providing the appropriate documentation. 

Medical Expenses

A claim for medical expenses will need to be backed up with original invoices and the hospital discharge summary. For medical expenses incurred overseas, you will need a written report of your medical condition from your medical practitioner together with original medical bills and receipts. For medical expenses incurred in Singapore, there are also differences among insurance companies depending on the policy wordings.

If you did not try to get medical treatment when you were overseas, you might not be able to claim any subsequent medical expenses for that when you are back in Singapore (for the same condition). For some insurers, you must do so in Singapore (see a doctor for that condition) within a specific number of days (eg. three days) of your return. 

Travel Inconvenience – Travel Delays/ Missed Connections

A typical travel inconvenience benefit will read as “pays benefit for every 6 hours of delay or expenses for alternative travel arrangement”. Hence, a claim for travel inconvenience expenses will need to be backed up with documentation – confirmation from the carrier (airline, operator or agent) stating the reasons and length of delay. 

Theft/ Loss of Money, Documents and Covered Items

For a theft, you will have to provide a police report with details of the loss. A typical policy wording clause on loss will be “You have taken all possible steps and been careful to make sure that your passport and travel documents are kept in a secure place and they are not left unattended in a public place“ and that “you have reported the loss to the police where the loss happened, within 24 hours of discovering it”. Going to the police station in a foreign country and making a report about your stolen baggage can be a stressful experience. But, informing the police is essential if you want your claim to be passed.

You should provide purchase receipts for the items that you have lost. If you do not have the purchase receipts, it is a good idea to write down the serial numbers of high-value items like laptops and cameras before your trip. Taking a time-stamped photograph of your valuables is usually a good idea as well.

train station
Source: Unsplash

Why Are Insurance Companies So Strict When Processing Travel Insurance Claims?

General Insurance Association chief executive Derek Teo stated that a large number of travel insurance claims are fake. He pointed out that many claimants fabricate documents and inflate claim amounts. Insurance companies are therefore becoming increasingly vigilant about such practices to prevent fraudulent claims being passed.

If you need to make a travel insurance claim, it is advisable to provide all the information that you can, along with documentation that substantiates your claim. This will help to prove that your claim is genuine. The insurer (and its claim adjuster firm) might come back with follow up questions for your submitted claim – do be patient and give them the requested details – that will help in the claim decision. A claim accompanied with all the relevant documentation will also help you to get a quick response from your insurer, get your insurance reimbursement more quickly and reduce any potential headache of dealing with long delays and bureaucratic processes.

If you are ready to purchase travel insurance and be protected for your next trip, check out our page to Compare Travel Insurance Plans in Singapore!

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