Travel Insurance Claims: 4 Tips to File a Claim

17 October 2021
Travel Insurance Claims: 4 Tips to File a Claim

How do travel insurance claims work?

Travel insurance claims work like most insurance claims.

You’ll fill out the insurance company’s claim forms, which will include information like your name, policy number, travel dates, the reason for filing the claim, and the date of the claim.

You will then submit it with the necessary documentation to support your claim for reimbursement. This coule include documentation from a doctor (for cancellation claims for sickness), flight delay notices, police reports, etc. Basically, anything that proves you suffered a loss.

The travel insurance plan provider will review your claim and process the documents you submitted. They will often have follow questions or requests. After that, you’ll receive reimbursement.

This makes it sound simple, but there are a few things you can do to make it successful (and easier):

4 Tips to File a Travel Insurance Claim

When it comes time to file a claim, you want to be fully prepared to expedite the claims process. The following are some tips starting from the time a situation first arises until you submit your claim. 

1.  Trip cancellation claims for medical issues must be supported by a doctor

For pre-trip cancellations due to sickness or illness, you will need to see a doctor and obtain documentation that you are too ill to travel. The document you need is a full diagnosis or a “Physician’s Statement”.

Why do you need to see a doctor?

You need to prove to the travel insurance company that a doctor told you you could not take your trip, thereby making the cancellation a covered claim.

This is true even if you have a pre-existing condition, have purchased the pre-existing medical condition waiver, and know how to treat your condition. Again, it’s about proving it to the insurance company.

Skipping this step is one of the biggest mistakes people make with travel insurance claims.

2. Medical emergency claims must be supported by a doctor

You may have a medical emergency during your trip as well. This could be a slip & fall, heart attack, or even food poisoning.

If the situation is an immediate emergency, please seek medical attention immediately.

While it is important to contact your travel insurance company as soon as possible, you also want to take care of immediate medical concerns first.

Medical doctor examining a child with parent looking on.

Once the emergency is under control, contact the travel insurance company and inform them of the situation. They will be able to provide guidance regarding the best hospital to receive care, arranging care and transportation, and even serving as a translator in foreign countries.

3. Contact your travel insurance company as soon as possible

Claims and claim questions should be made directly to your travel insurance company.

For medical situations, handle any immediate needs to make sure everyone is safe.

The next call should be to your travel insurance company.

Do not make assumptions about your coverage and claims. Make sure you are taking the correct steps by calling the travel insurance company, informing them of the situation, and following their guidance.

Travel insurance company representatives answering phone calls.

They will be able to advise you in regards to treatment, documentation, and how to expedite the process.

In addition, travel insurance companies provide 24/7 assistance to help you when you need it.

Take advantage of this service. They will contact local medical facilities on your behalf and make arrangements. They can also provide translation services, if needed.

4. Save documentation for everything

It is very important to save documentation for everything you can. The insurance company will obviously need proof of expenses, amounts you have paid, and any refunds you may have received.

Stack of documents to prove a travel insurance claim.

The more documentation the better.

Also keep track of personnel you deal with at the insurance company, including an operator number and/or first and last name.

Documentation you will need to support your claim

The rule of thumb here: Document and save everything.

If you have digital copies in email or when signed into websites, do not delete them. Save paper copied and even consider taking digital pictures of them. Bank statements with charges can be useful too.

Here are some examples of what you might need to submit:

  • receipts and itemized bills for all expenses (trip cancellation)
  • unused tickets, proof of payments (trip cancellation)
  • explanation of diagnosis from doctor (medical claims) or “Physician’s Statement”
  • police reports (stolen baggage or car collisions)
  • proof from airline that baggage was delayed

Most Common Mistakes to Avoid While Filing a Travel Insurance Claim

When you fill out a travel insurance claim, you’ll most likely be filing the travel claim online. Part of that process includes scanning and uploading the documents like physician’s statements, receipts, and reports that support your claim.

The most common mistakes travelers make when filing a travel insurance claim include:

  1. Failing to fill out the form correctly (this happens more often than you might think).
  2. Forgetting to provide accurate contact information (so the insurance company can call if they have questions).
  3. Failing to include the documentation needed to support their claim.
  4. Claiming reimbursement for events not covered by the insurance plan.

Major Reasons Why Travel Insurance Claims are Denied

Just like any other insurance provider, travel insurance providers have the right to deny claims for events that are not covered by the plan. Once your claim is submitted, a representative will review the details you provided and the supporting documentation and determine whether your claim will be paid or not.

The most common reasons travel insurance providers deny claims include:

  1. Misinformation, even unintentional mistakes, in the claim form.
  2. Inaccurate contact information.
  3. Lack of documentation needed to support the claim.
  4. Claims for events that are not covered by the insurance plan.


  • Seeing a doctor is essential for all pre- and post departure medical issues
  • Seeing a doctor is essential even if it’s a pre-existing condition and you know how to treat it
  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible
  • Save all documentation
Damian Tysdal

Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and he believes travel insurance should be easier to understand. He started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.

Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and he believes travel insurance should be easier to understand. He started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.