Travel Insurance - it Pays to Check the Small Print!

By: Keith McGregor

  • Always get a report from an official source within 24 hours if something goes wrong. A police report for theft, a tour operator's reports for baggage delay and loss, an airline letter if you suffer travel delay and a Property Irregularity Report before you leave the airport if your luggage is lost or delayed. Without these, you will find that insurers will not readily settle your claim.


  • Know what valuables you are taking with you and take extra care of them. Valuables will be defined in your policy but generally includes all jewellery, mobile phones, computer games and equipment and cameras. Add to this list the personal money you take with you. By extra care, we mean you should lock them away in a safe in your room or carry them with you. They should never be left unattended and never in checked in baggage otherwise this will invalidate a claim.


  • Keep receipts. Not only will this help to substantiate your claim but you are more likely to get close to value of the lost items back, subject to wear and tear. If no receipt is provided then the maximum amount that will be paid back will be capped at a low level. If several unreceipted items are claimed then this will also raise suspicions that the claim is fraudulent and could be investigated.


  • Do call the Medical Assistance line if you have to go into hospital abroad or need medical treatment that could be costly. It is worthwhile doing this for anything that could be above ?250. Once this is on record, you are generally well covered up to the agreed amounts.


  • And finally, whilst this guidance is for travel insurance policies, many people will have a household policy in force that should cover 'all risks' up to a set value and this could also be used for a claims for personal belongings lost or stolen whilst on holiday but do check the small print again to see what exclusions apply.


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