Steps for Making a Claim if you Have an Accident Abroad

You’re on holiday having the time of your life when catastrophe strikes. Maybe you take a fall while snowboarding and end up in the hospital. Or maybe you’re involved in a road accident in a rental car and don’t know how to proceed with insurance matters. Or even still, you could be stranded in an airport in a foreign country while your luggage is already on its way to your destination.

All of these scenarios warrant getting comprehensive holiday insurance coverage so that you can be at ease when these kinds of accidents occur — at least financially. Most plans will cover medical expenses, costs for lost belongings, and liability claims. However, you will have to go through the holiday accident claims process first. This can seem like an intimidating endeavour, but here are some tips that can help you navigate it more easily.

1. Be prepared.

While you are packing your suitcase and printing out your flight itinerary, thinking about what you will do in the case of an accident is probably the last thing you want to do. However, reviewing your holiday insurance policy (and carrying a copy with you) is probably the most important preparation you could have before embarking on your journey. In fact, it is also a good idea to have a copy, whether scanned or sent over from your insurance agent, in your email inbox so that you can access it from anywhere with an Internet connection.

2. Don’t wait to take action.

If you are involved in an accident or other mishap while on holiday, make sure to file your claim as soon as possible. This will help you more accurately recount the details of the incident, which could make a big difference in the outcome. It also gives your insurance provider a chance to act in your best interest as early as possible and help you enjoy the rest of your trip. If you wait until you are back at home, your holiday will already have been spoiled.

3. Keep records.

Most plans offer you reimbursement for funds that you lost while recovering from a holiday accident or mishap. For this reason, it is important to keep track of receipts so that you can prove how much money you are owed. Also, it may help to keep track of how many times you were in contact with the claims agent, so write down the date, time, and duration of any phone calls you made to the insurance provider, as well as the issues discussed throughout the conversation. If you communicate by email, be sure not to delete the messages.

4. Focus your claim on the provision or provisions stated in your policy.

It will be important for you not to seem like you just want to get a free holiday just because one thing went wrong while you were abroad. For this reason, you’ll want to state your claim concisely and stick to what your policy says it will cover.

5. Try not to escalate your claim if it isn’t necessary.

If your provider doesn’t respond favourably to your claim, it could be that you were wronged and legitimately need legal consultation. However, most holiday insurance providers would rather not have to see the inside of a courtroom, which means that you stand a fair chance of negotiating with them. If this doesn’t work, often times the mere mention of seeking legal counsel will compel them to offer better service.

Even the fiercest female solo travellers encounter bumps in the road on their journey to adventure. But knowing what to do when you come up against an unfortunate situation can make all the difference.

photo by lydia_shiningbrightly on flickr

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2 Responses to Steps for Making a Claim if you Have an Accident Abroad

  1. Lindsey July 4, 2012 at 4:17 am #

    Great advice – especially about having a copy of your policy documents in your inbox. It’s also worth making sure you track down receipts of any expensive items you’re carrying with you – cameras, laptops etc – in case you need to file a damage or theft claim.

  2. Ava Apollo July 6, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    Oh man, hope I never have to deal with any of that! Good to have a guide, though.

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