Why is My Travel Insurance Claim Taking So Long?

Sudden illness. A lost bag. A cancelled flight. Despite your best efforts, things can go wrong when you’re travelling – which is why a comprehensive Travel Insurance policy is essential. But what about when it comes to making a claim? How quickly can you expect your insurer to reimburse you for any financial losses?

 

The answer to this is: probably not as quickly as you’d like. Due to the recent flight disruption and the continued effects of the pandemic, many airlines and holiday companies have a backlog of claims to deal with. This means it’s currently taking longer than usual to process Travel Insurance claims - around six weeks. Regardless, claims always take a little bit of time: this is because processors need to review each claim carefully for accuracy (an essential part of the process).

 

The good news is, there are still things you can do to ensure your claim is dealt with as swiftly as possible. Keep reading to find out more.

 

What is causing the delay in processing Travel Insurance claims?

Travel disruption has been in the news recently, with many flight cancellations and disruptions causing chaos for holidaymakers hoping to go abroad. There have been several reasons for this: labour shortages, largely due to the pandemic; extreme weather conditions; and Covid-19-related restrictions (there’s still a strong need to adapt quickly to Covid-19 related surges, meaning that countries can change entry/exit requirements quickly, which has an impact on the aviation industry).

If your flight has been cancelled or delayed, there are specific steps to take (more on that below). But flight disruption is not the only reason for the huge number of claims that have recently flooded in. Provided they have the necessary cover, travellers can also claim for:

  • Missed departures.
  • Lost, damaged, or delayed baggage.
  • Stolen items.
  • Additional expenses (additional accommodation or food expenses due to a delayed flight, for instance).
  • Medical expenses.
  • Coronavirus-related travel disruption.

What should I do if my flight is cancelled?

If your holiday or travel plans have been disrupted, it’s best to act quickly (whether you’re concerned with financial reimbursement or rearranging travel). When it comes to flight disruption, there are some specific things to be aware of when making a claim:

  • First of all, know your rights. If a flight has been cancelled, you are entitled to a full refund or alternative flight – no matter the cause. You should contact your tour operator, airline, accommodation provider or debit/credit card provider to claim a refund.
  • If the flight has been disrupted and you’re on a package holiday, contact your tour operator. They should also cover associated accommodation, transfer, and food costs (be sure to keep any and all receipts).
  • Be aware that Travel Insurance will not cover you if your flight is rescheduled (and, if you choose to rebook your flights, this cost won’t be covered either).
  • However, if a flight is rescheduled by the airline and the new dates/times are not acceptable to you, you should be offered an alternative or a refund/voucher.

What can I do to speed up my claim?

Nothing is more frustrating than waiting to hear back about a claim, only to find that it’s been delayed or queried due a lack of information.

Documentation is key – so please remember to provide as much information as you can when submitting your claim. Keep all records: booking references, bank statements, receipts, etc.  When it comes to keeping records, our top tip is to take a quick snap of all receipts when you’re on holiday – that way you’ve got an electronic record, too, in case you need to access this quickly.

Accuracy is essential, too. First of all – before making a claim - make sure you’ve read through all your policy documents so you know what is covered (making note of the full terms, conditions and exclusions). Next, ensure that the information you’re submitting matches up correctly. For example, if you’re claiming for expenses due to a flight that was delayed, but then submit a receipt from before the original flight was due to depart (evidenced by the time stamp), this could cause confusion and hold up your claim.

What’s the difference between a broker and an insurer – and whom do I contact?

When trying to progress a claim, it’s not always immediately clear whom you should contact: after all, have you been dealing with a broker or an insurer? What’s the difference?

In broad terms, when you’re looking for insurance, you can either buy directly from an insurance company or through a broker. Insurance companies only sell their own policies; which, unsurprisingly, means that some consumers believe this is the way to get the cheapest deal, as you’ll be buying ‘direct’. This isn’t always the case, though – particularly if you aren’t familiar with the market as a whole and the ins-and-outs of different products.

Brokers, by contrast, use their considerable expertise to find the best product for the customer, based on their individual needs. Brokers are independent of any insurance company – typically dealing with a wide range of insurers – and act solely in the best interest of their client. They also have close relationships with suppliers which can be leveraged to negotiate certain aspects (ensuring their customer gets the best deal), whilst utilising their industry-specific knowledge to point out elements of the policy their customer might not have thought about.

So, when it comes to managing a claim, should you contact your broker or your insurer? This depends on your specific policy, so do read the fine print carefully. However, if in doubt, contact your broker first – whatever the situation, they’ll be able to give advice on how best to proceed.